POLICE are urging Thurrock farmers and landowners to beware of a scam in which household and business waste is being illegally dumped on open land and camouflaged as plastic-wrapped hay bales.
The warning follows the discovery of about 1,500 tons of waste after a search warrant was executed on land in south Essex.
Officers from the Environment Agency are now concerned that other sites in Essex may be targeted in the same way.
Investigators from the EA believe that criminals are making huge sums of money by charging to take away household or business waste but then dumping it at remote rural locations instead of using official permitted sites.
The rubbish is being compacted into plastic wrapping, capable of holding about half a ton. These are taken to fields or open land and built into haystack shapes, to give the impression that they are seemingly ‘normal’ plastic bags used by farmers to store hay, straw or silage.
Lesley Robertson, an Environment Agency Environmental Crime Team Leader, said: “The discovery of around 3,000 bales of rubbish in Essex is believed to be linked to a highly-organised criminal scam involving the disposal of household and business waste.
“This is an emerging trend but the first time evidence of the scam has been found in south Essex. However, we are concerned that more bales may have been dumped elsewhere and we want to urge people to look out for these sites and report them to us.
“This is a form of fly-tipping but on a massive and organised scale. The bales are being stored to look like farmers’ haystacks and the contents will only come to light if the bags tear.
“The waste includes all forms of household and business rubbish such as food waste, plastic and cans. They are being dumped and abandoned with total disregard for the environment, landowners and any member of the public who use the land.
“We urge any landowners, farmers, ramblers or dog walkers who find these sites to call us immediately on our 24-hour free incident hotline number 0800 80 70 60 or make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Three men, aged 19, 23 and 47 and all from east London were arrested on suspicion of depositing and storing waste on an unpermitted site when police and the Environment Agency executed a warrant on land off Arterial Road, Purfleet on April 10. They were interviewed at Grays police station before being bailed until July 10 by EA officers pending further enquiries.
There are hundreds of similar bales on the old Ford site at Dagenham.
[…] Here’s a story that holds up a mirror to the kind of ‘I’m alright, sod everyone else’ society that Britain has been evolving into since the 1980s… Investigators from the Environment Agency believe that criminals are charging to take away large quantities of household and business waste but, instead of disposing of it properly, they are flytipping it. However, they aren’t just dumping it in any old fashion – they are compacting it into plastic wrapping similar to that used by farmers to bale hay, and then taking it to fields or open land and stacking it so that it gives the impression that it is a stack of hay bales. See here for the full story on Your Thurrock: http://www.yourthurrock.com/2013/04/12/thurrock-landowners-warned-over-waste-disguised-as-hay-bales-… […]