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Two Essex men fined more than £100,000 for shipping waste including nappies and syringes out of Tilbury
TWO Essex men were fined more than £100,000 for shipping contaminated waste including syringes and nappies out of Tilbury docks.
Jonathan Coombe, from Romford, Simon Edwards, from Loughton and Edwards Waste Paper Limited pleaded guilty to the export of more than 1,500 tonnes of waste out of Felixstowe and Tilbury.
Edwards, 46, was director of the company and Coombe, 41, was the sales manager.
After a hearing at the Old Bailey, the two men and the company were handed £105,250 in fines and costs after the court heard they illegally exported 89, 40-foot containers to Brazil.
The illegal shipments were described as “plastics for recycling” but when Environment Agency investigators opened the containers they found nappies, syringes and catheter bags.
Andrew Higham, head of the Environment Agency’s National Environmental Crime Team, said: "Exporting poorly-sorted, contaminated waste is not only against the law - it's immoral. It’s a crime that shows a blatant disregard for the safety and welfare of overseas communities and the environment.
“We were determined to bring those who were behind the export to justice. To do that my officers had to spend over three months hand-picking through hundreds of tonnes of rotting waste to gather evidence and establish where it had all come from. Underpinning the crime was complex web of contracts and connections and over 170 witness statements were gathered in the course of our inquiries.
“The result is testimony to the patience and professionalism of the Environment Agency."
Two other men - Julio da Costa, 51, and Juliano da Costa, 27, both of Swindon, pleaded guilty just days before they were due to face a three-week jury trial at the Old Bailey.
An extensive Environment Agency investigation found that the da Costas were involved in shipping all 89 of the containers via their now dissolved Swindon-based companies Worldwide Biorecyclables Ltd, and UK Multiplas Ltd. 46 of the containers were loaded at Edwards’ Waste Paper site in Essex.
A fifth man – Andre De Oliveira, 32 – failed to answer bail in November 2011 and is still wanted in connection to the case.
The former director of Worldwide Biorecyclables has yet to be charged and this current whereabouts are unknown despite multi-agency inquiries in the UK and overseas involving Interpol and Borders Agency.
Anyone who has information about illegal waste activity can contact the Environment Agency’s 24-7 incident hotline on 0800 807060 or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
Watch: Environment Agency officers sorting through the waste.
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