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Waste criminal ordered to pay back almost £1m

A waste crime boss has been ordered to repay more than £917,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act – or face four and half years in jail.

Hugh O’Donnell, 64, of Reading, was jailed in June for running an illegal waste site at nearby Aldermaston.

The Environment Agency worked with financial investigators from New Scotland Yard in a three-year investigation that showed O’Donnell laundered millions of pounds in illegal profits.

The pay-back order is the largest the EA has secured against an individual. It must be paid within six months of the date of the order. Otherwise, in default, O’Donnell will serve four and a half years imprisonment. 

Environment Agency prosecution team leader Angus Innes said: “This investigation has been one of the biggest and most complex ever undertaken by the Environment Agency, working with the London Regional Asset Recovery Team, using intelligence and forensic science to proactively target an organised criminal gang running an illegal waste site.

“The Environment Agency wants to make sure that serious waste crime doesn’t pay - we don’t just catch criminals, we want to confiscate the assets they’ve gained from crime.”

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