Illegal waste storage, metal theft and drug dealing prompts multi agency raid at site in Raspberry Hill, Sittingbourne
Environment Agency officers working with Kent Police, Swale Borough Council, Kent County Council, BT Openreach and Kent Fire and Rescue joined forces to raid an industrial site at Raspberry Hill near Sittingbourne.
The action took place following reports of building waste being illegally stored, drug dealing, metal/cable theft and planning regulation breaches. The raid is part of an ongoing Environment Agency action to crack down on illegal waste crime in the area, and led to obtaining vital evidence and information. Investigations are ongoing.
As part of the raid, Kent Police also arrested 3 men who were taken into custody, and they found illegal drugs and seized a caravan, two dogs and two agricultural mowers, which are suspected to have been stolen.
Everyone involved in the raid made sure the raid was conducted with social distancing rules in place with correct PPE to make sure everyone involved was safe.
Sally Harvey, Area Director for the Environment Agency, said:
“It’s our job to protect people and the environment even in these uncertain times, which is why our regulatory and enforcement work continues while we adhere to the government’s guidelines around coronavirus.
We and our partners are fighting to put a stop to waste crime and we won’t hesitate to take action. Joint investigations will continue and if convicted as a result of illegal action, those responsible could face extensive fines and even prison sentences.
To help avoid your waste ending up at an illegal waste site, ask for your waste collector’s waste carrier’s registration number and to see their waste transfer note; they must have them.”
Chief Inspector Alan Rogers, Kent Police’s District Commander for Swale, said:
“We are committed to working with, and supporting, our partners on issues that we know affect the communities we serve.
The combined use of our powers helps us ensure that robust and proportionate action is taken. We will continue to work with our partners, including the Environment Agency, to help achieve the best possible results for our neighbourhoods.”
Anyone who suspects illegal waste activity is reminded to report it to their 24-hour hotline by calling 0800 80 70 60, or anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
You can check your waste collectors waste carrier’s registration or call 03708 506 506.
Earlier this year the Environment Agency and partners launched the Joint Unit for Waste Crime, aiming to stop serious and organised crime in the UK waste industry.