A joint agency raid has uncovered an illegal waste site the size of a football pitch in Lincolnshire.
Two people were arrested at the site in Long Bennington, between Grantham and Newark, in the joint operation by the Environment Agency and Lincolnshire Police on Thursday, April 30.
Officers also seized an excavator and a lorry which were actively depositing waste at the site.
Intelligence revealed that lorry-loads of waste, including plastics, commercial waste and household furniture were being dumped and burned illegally.
Activity is said to have intensified in recent weeks, despite the country’s lockdown conditions amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Environment agency officers said smoke from burning waste piles, some of which were the size of bungalows, was having a significant effect on local people and the environment.
Legal notices have been issued, activity halted and all entrances to the site have been blocked.
Chief Inspector Phil Vickers, Local Policing, Lincolnshire Police, said: “We will work with partners and continue to enforce against offenders who operate illegally during the lockdown period and to protect our rural communities.
“We work with the EA, county council and all of the district councils across Lincolnshire to protect our countryside and to keep rural communities safe, we are grateful for the support from Long Bennington residents in ensuring this large-scale site could be subject to enforcement today.”
Norman Robinson, Area Director for the Environment Agency added: “Deliberately stockpiling and burning waste that should be safely disposed of is dangerous enough, but doing so in the current situation while people and legitimate businesses are so restricted shows a shocking disregard for our communities, society and the environment.”
Joint investigations will continue and the Environment Agency will continue to monitor the impacts of the site and work with partners to ensure the waste is removed. 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 report it to our 24-hour hotline by calling 0800 80 70 60, or anonymously contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.