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 30 convictions against individuals and businesses carrying out persistent commercial scale illegal waste activities.

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 March 2014 a two year investigation into a landfill site in Co Londonderry recommended the prosecution of two companies and its directors for waste crime on a commercial scale. The illegal site is believed to be the largest discovered in the UK, and the tax and VAT evaded amounts to £57.6m, the clear-up costs is likely to exceed this figure.