Waste sites in Merton last week got visits from Environment Agency officers working with the British Transport Police, Met Police, London Borough of Merton and BT Openreach.
The unannounced inspections were part of a national operation targeting theft of cabling and catalytic converters, which has been rising across the south east this year.
One of a number of multi-agency days of action targeting metal and vehicle recycling businesses in the Kent and South London area, the operation also saw spot checks on waste carrying vehicles. They were stopped to ensure they held valid waste carrier licences and that they were following the correct duty of care process for transportation of waste.
The Environment Agency uncovered a number incidents of poor compliance with permits and exemptions. Investigations will now follow and appropriate action will be taken to improve compliance at the sites, which could include enforcement action.
Matt Higginson, Environment Manager for the Environment Agency, said:
It’s our job to protect people and nature even in these uncertain times, which is why our regulatory and enforcement work continues while we adhere to the government’s guidelines around coronavirus.
This should serve as a warning to those who would flout the law that we and our partners are still fighting to put a stop to waste crime and we won’t hesitate to take action.
To help avoid your waste ending up at an illegal waste site, we encourage you to ask for your waste collector’s waste carrier’s registration number and ask to see their waste transfer note.
Joint investigations will continue with the Environment Agency and if convicted as a result of legal action, those responsible could face extensive fines and even prison sentences.
Anyone who suspects illegal waste activity is reminded to report it to our 24-hour hotline by calling 0800 80 70 60, or anonymously contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
You can check your waste collectors waste carriers registration online or call 03708 506 506.
Earlier this year the Environment Agency and partners launched the Joint Unit for Waste Crime, aiming to stop serious and organised crime in the UK waste industry.