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Around 1,500 tonnes of waste, disguised as plastic covered hay bales, has been found illegally dumped in south Essex.
Officers from the Environment Agency are now concerned that other sites in Essex may be targeted in the same way.
Investigators from the EA believe that criminals are making huge sums of money by charging to take away household or business waste but then dumping it at remote rural locations instead of using official permitted sites.
Lesley Robertson, an Environment Agency Environmental Crime Team Leader, said: "The discovery of around 3,000 bales of rubbish in Essex is believed to be linked to a highly-organised criminal scam involving the disposal of household and business waste.
"This is an emerging trend but the first time evidence of the scam has been found in south Essex. However, we are concerned that more bales may have been dumped elsewhere and we want to urge people to look out for these sites and report them to us.
"This is a form of fly-tipping but on a massive and organised scale. The bales are being stored to look like farmers’ haystacks and the contents will only come to light if the bags tear.
"The waste includes all forms of household and business rubbish such as food waste, plastic and cans. They are being dumped and abandoned with total disregard for the environment, landowners and any member of the public who use the land.
"We urge any landowners, farmers, ramblers or dog walkers who find these sites to call us immediately on our 24-hour free incident hotline number 0800 80 70 60 or make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Three men, aged 19, 23 and 47 and all from east London were arrested on suspicion of depositing and storing waste on an unpermitted site when police and the Environment Agency executed a warrant on land off Arterial Road, Purfleet on April 10th. They have been released on bail.