Undercover sting foils toxic waste dumping

Police, Environment Agency and city council stop illegal dumping of thousands of tonnes of toxic waste in undercover operation in Liverpool. Tony McDonough reports

Criminals had planned to dump waste in a north Liverpool warehouse


A plot to dump thousands of tonnes of toxic waste in a Liverpool warehouse has been foiled by an undercover sting.

A combined team from the Environment Agency, Liverpool City Council’s Neighbourhood Services team, the Joint Unit for Waste Crime and Merseyside Police all took part in the operation.

A gang of criminals had broken into an empty warehouse in north Liverpool and bypassed the electricity supply to install a lighting system.

They had also created false site advertisement boards to suggest to members of the public that a legitimate waste operation, including the deposit of asbestos waste, was being established.

Members of the public alerted local agencies to the site, allowing them to quickly take action before any rubbish could be dumped.

Had the illegal dumping taken place it would have likely led to significant environmental damage, including potential rat and fly infestations, impacting local residents. There would also have been significant costs to the public purse to safely clear the site.

An  investigation to identify those responsible for this incident continues.

Cllr Liam Robinson, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services, said: “I’d like to thank those who alerted the authorities to this very serious fly tipping incident. They have prevented a major environmental problem and saved the city council a small fortune in clearance costs.

“The city council has been investing in CCTV to help catch fly tippers, but we can’t film everywhere. We need the public to be our eyes and ears as well.

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“Given the budget savings the council is having to make, any fly tipping we can prevent – however big or small – will make a huge difference to the services we are trying to protect.”

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency added:“Timely reporting allowed us to stop significant harm to the environment and save the public purse substantial clean-up costs.

“It is illegal to leave waste on public or private land which does not have either an environmental permit or a registered exemption. That’s why we are determined to make life hard for criminals who dismiss the law.”

Any concerns can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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