Waste Crime Taskforce Celebrates Successful First Year

Despite the impact of COVID-19, the Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC) have had a successful first year of investigating serious and organised waste crime.

The multi-agency taskforce was formed in January 2020 and teamed up environmental regulators and law enforcement agencies to tackle serious and organised waste crime which costs the economy approximately £600 million a year and can harm the environment, local communities & businesses. The taskforce has grown, with the British Transport Police and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency joining in September.

A significant proportion of waste crimes are committed by criminals offering fake waste services. They take payment for waste disposal without having the relevant permits to transport the waste or store the waste. This waste is then illegally dumped on private and public land to avoid fees and landfill taxes, which significantly harms businesses, local communities and the environment.

JUWC Case Studies

  • In May 2020, the JUWC began an investigation into a confrontational waste operation where local Environment Agency officers had previously felt intimidated and threatened. JUWC officers started a surveillance operation and worked alongside the local council, HMRC, the DVSA and the RSPCA on a targeted plan for the site. This resulted in a warrant being executed in August 2020 by JUWC officers and the police. Evidence collated from the investigation is now being reviewed and the JUWC will carry out the necessary enforcement action in relation to any offences committed.
  • In September 2020, the JUWC attended a site raid in Kent which also had over 300 Metropolitan Police firearms officers support the execution of the raid. Seven people were arrested on suspicion of a variety of offences after police found drugs, stolen vehicles and a significant number of weapons including a loaded shotgun, 17 air weapons, CS gas and a machete. Two people discovered at the site received substantial support by the force’s modern slavery team. 49 stolen dogs were also seized, the majority of which have now been returned to their owners.
  • In October, JUWC officers from the Environment Agency and the British Transport Police spent one week focusing specifically on tackling waste and metal crime. Over 1,100 vehicles were stopped, and 550 sites were inspected. Over 150 offences were identified, and 29 arrests made.

The JUWC consists of eight authorities: The Environment Agency (EA), Natural Resources Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the police, the National Crime Agency, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the British Transport Police.