Environment Agency
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Million tyre man jailed

A man who illegally dumped more than a million used tyres across England was jailed Monday for a total of 15 months. The case against him was brought by the Environment Agency.

Carl David Steele, from Spalding, Lincolnshire, dumped hundreds of thousands of tyres at environmentally sensitive locations in Essex, Norfolk, Yorkshire, Worcestershire and Lincolnshire, which avoided legal disposal costs. 

Lincoln Crown Court heard that Steele was under investigation by the Environment Agency after officers found over 3,000 tyres at the Lincolnshire site. During the investigation the number rose to 200,000 and then 400,000. He was allowed to store just 6,000.

Investigators then uncovered four other dumping sites, with a combined total of over 800,000 tyres.

Environment Agency investigation

Environment Agency investigators worked closely with the local authorities, fire and rescue and land agents following reports that Steele was offering cheap waste tyre collections and operating multiple illegal waste sites around the country.

The court was told that waste tyre stockpiles present a significant fire risk. Extinguishing tyre fires can also lead to serious water pollution.

Sites that handle waste tyres are required to have an environmental permit to ensure that the risk of fire and any environmental pollution is minimised.

"Serious risk to the environment and human health"

Mat Crocker, head of Waste and Illegals at the Environment Agency, said: “Huge tyre dumps are not only an eyesore, but also present a serious risk to the environment and human health. Stockpiles are a significant fire risk, as they can burn for several years, releasing dangerous gases such as hydrogen sulphide, hydrogen cyanide and sulphur dioxide.

“The Environment Agency has specialist crime teams to target serious, organised waste criminals, and make sure that illegal operations such as these are shut down.  We also seek to confiscate the profits of waste crime, making it clear that waste crime does not pay.

“As this case demonstrates, waste crime is a serious offence with tough penalties including up to five years in prison, unlimited fines and the confiscation of illicit profits.”

The Environment Agency has identified tyres as one of the most problematic illegal waste streams and currently has nine national tyre dumping investigations underway.

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