A new taskforce has been launched to tackle serious and organised waste crime, such as dumping hazardous materials on private land and falsely labelling waste so it can be exported abroad to unsuspecting countries.
This will be the first time that law enforcement agencies, environmental regulators, HMRC and the National Crime Agency have worked together to help stamp out waste crime as part of the work of the new Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC).
Serious and organised waste crime is estimated to cost the UK economy at least £600 million a year. The new unit will share their intelligence and resources to take swifter action when investigating criminal waste operations and other connected illegal activities, such as money laundering and human trafficking.
Actions taken will include conducting site inspections, making arrests and prosecutions, pushing for heavy fines and custodial sentences.
Toby Willison, Chair of the JUWC Board, said:
'The war against waste crime just took a giant step forward. The launch of this new unit means we now have a full complement of partners across law enforcement as well as our counterparts in Scotland and Wales to bring down waste criminals for good. We will target serious and organised criminals across the country as they try to illegally exploit the waste industry and the environment. These criminal gangs need to know that we have them in our sights.'