Environmental crime

The increasing cost of legitimately disposing of waste has led to a “black market” developing in which unscrupulous operators transport and dispose of waste illegally and without any concern for the environmental damage caused.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency's (NIEA) Environmental Crime Unit (ECU) continues to develop co-operation with members of the OCTF and particularly PSNI and HMRC.

Last year the ECU's financial iInvestigators sucessfully secured 27 convictions against individuals and businesses carrying out persistent commercial scale illegal waste activities and secured fines totalling £52,000.

The NIEA and PSNI Strategic Partnership formed in 2012 has led to assistance in the form of resource and expertise to aid each other's investigations into the following crime types:
  • metal theft and illegal scrap metal sites,
  • waste crime,
  • protection of listed buildings,
  • theft of artefacts,
  • keeping of dangereous and wild animals,
  • poaching,
  • harming wild animals,
  • releasing endangered species.
In January 2018 a Tyrone individual was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment suspended for 3 years for keeping mixed domestic and commercial waster likely to pollute the environment or cause harm to human health. The illegal site discovered in 2015 contains 318 tonnes of buried loose and baled Republic of Ireland waste.