Waste crime may not make the headlines in the same way that assaults, burglaries, or drug dealing do, but it decimates our environment, fills the coffers of organised criminal gangs, hurts legitimate waste businesses, and costs the tax payer about a billion pounds a year. This was the message from Central Devon MP Mel Stride when he recently visited the Punchbowl Recycling Centre near Yeoford.
Mr Stride issued a warning to residents in his constituency that they may unknowingly be facilitating the illegal disposing of household or business waste if they fail to check that the business or carrier they hire is licenced. This negligence could result in a £300 fine. Mr Stride said:
“Waste crime includes the obvious problems we are aware of, such as old furniture or white goods being fly-tipped instead of taken to a recycling centre. But it can also include more egregious acts - for instance storing, dumping or burying of dangerous or hazardous waste illegally. It is a serious problem, with organised crime gangs using the proceeds of waste crime to support other illegal activities, including drugs, firearms and human trafficking, money laundering, and child sexual exploitation and abuse.”
Residents can check whether a waste carrier is registered online on the Environment Agency website or by calling 03708 506 506.