The Environment Agency targeted waste sites in Merton last week, as part of an investigation into the rise in theft of cabling catalytic converters. 

Waste sites 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.

Your Local Guardian:

They were stopped to ensure they held valid waste carrier licenses 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.

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.

Your Local Guardian:

“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 waste ending up at an illegal waste site, residents are encouraged to ask waste collector’s for their 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 contact 0800 80 70 60, or anonymously contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.