The Environment Agency (EA) has raided 10 premises in the Midlands in an effort to tackle large-scale dumping of baled waste.
Under Operation Argument, 45 officers from the EA and a similar total from West Midlands Police, West Mercia Police and British Transport Police, simultaneously raided industrial and residential premises to carry out arrests, execute warrants and obtain evidence.
Four people were detained and are being interviewed by Environmental Crime Team Officers at Wednesfield Police Station. Computers, phones and relevant documents were seized for further examination.
Six illegal waste sites, mostly warehouses, have received over 2,000 bales of waste weighing 1.4 tonnes each. Removal costs for the waste are estimated at over £3m and much of the cost will be borne by the landowner for each site.
The EA attributes this illegal waste activity to organised crime and officers are working to piece together intelligence to focus enforcement on the key players. Further arrests are planned.
A joint EA and police operations centre was set up at in Birmingham which monitored communications and enforcement activities throughout the Operation Argument.