‘Audacious and callous’ flytippers slammed

Environment Agency clean-up
Environment Agency clean-up

A criminal gang who broke into a Dunstable warehouse and dumped a huge amount of waste have been described as “audacious and callous” by the Environment Agency.

The flytippers cut a lorry-sized hole in the side of the Luton Road building and left about 3,000 cubic metres of rubbish.

The Environment Agency is appealing for witnesses after the discovery was made by its specialist waste crime officers when they were called to the warehouse.

Investigations have revealed that during the nights between Saturday, November 16 and Wednesday, November 20 last year, the waste was dumped illegally inside the warehouse on the former Ecomold site.

Tracy Nash, environmental crime team leader, said: “This is not a matter of small scale flytipping. This case appears to be intentional large scale avoidance of disposal costs.

“This audacious and callous act has endangered the environment and had a costly impact for the landowner. It is vital that we identify where the waste came from and who transferred it to the warehouse. If an innocent party has handed it to a contractor for disposal in good faith then they won’t be in any trouble and may have critical information for us.

“The waste must have been taken to the site in several large vehicles. With the hole having been cut in the side of the warehouse, we’re hopeful that someone may have seen something suspicious, such as tipper lorries or plant machinery on the site in mid November.”

The waste will soon be removed at considerable expense to the landowner. Anyone with information can contact the Environment Agency on 0800 807060 quoting CMS 16469 or speak in confidence to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Illegal waste sites are a growing problem nationally and the Environment Agency says it is committed to tackling this crime. These waste sites are unlicensed, operate without any safeguards to the environment and undermine legitimate waste management companies who are undercut by illegal operators.

Those responsible for running illegal waste sites can be fined up to £50,000 in magistrates’ courts, face unlimited fines in higher courts, as well as community punishment orders or prison sentences of up to five years. Illegal dumping costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in clean-up costs. The Environment Agency works in partnership with local authorities and the police to investigate these offences.