Three men have been arrested on suspicion of illegally exporting tyres to Vietnam and Hong Kong, following an eight month investigation by the Environment Agency (EA).
A 60-year old from Chelmsford, Essex, a 32-year-old from Spalding, Lincolnshire and a 61-year-old from Swanscombe, Kent were arrested on suspicion of a number of fraud offences linked to tyre exports to the countries, which is banned.
A 35 person-strong operation with City of London Police and the EA led to the arrest on 20 January. Officers raided five sites across England. Intelligence gathered by the EA suggests containers of baled waste tyres have been illegally exported into Vietnam and Hong Kong, breaching the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 and the European Waste Shipment Regulations 2006.
In the UK, waste tyres have to be recycled, it is illegal to send them to landfill.
EA National Crime Team manager Andy Higham said: “To export tyres that are not UK road legal and are therefore waste, exporters must check that the country of destination will accept waste tyres for recovery and recycling.
“The law is clear – it is always illegal to export waste from the UK to be dumped overseas.”
He urged tyre fitters to be wary of contractors offering to take tyres away for less than 50p a tyre.