We've launched a campaign encouraging the public and waste industry to speak up anonymously about illegal waste dumped in warehouses.
In Scotland, criminals are using warehouses and farm buildings to illegally dispose of large quantities of waste.
Illegal dumping is a danger to life and health, can devastate the local environment, disrupts the lives of residents and rural communities, and costs the Scottish economy.
The campaign - in partnership with Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) through the LIFE SMART Waste project - aims to tackle the increase in criminals using warehouses and farm buildings by asking the public to spot the signs and contact us anonymously, as an independent charity.
Waste industry operators can also play their part by speaking up anonymously about other operators who are putting profits ahead of the public’s health and environmental protection.
Waste criminals are elusive and hard to identify as they typically pose as legitimate businesses. They operate across Scotland’s cities and countryside, offering to remove waste cheaply and then dumping it in empty warehouses, fields or farm buildings. Typically, this is ‘challenging’ waste that would otherwise be difficult to process or recycle and would possibly go to landfill.
The costs of illegal dumping incidents are significant and will vary depending upon the scale and types of wastes found. It would not be unusual for an incident to cost in excess of £1 million when the costs of clean-up, disposal, building repairs or demolition and public services are considered, alongside the corresponding landfill tax and waste management fees.
Angela Parker, National Manager for Crimestoppers in Scotland, said:
"We are asking the public and waste industry operators to be alert and speak up anonymously if they suspect or know someone involved in dumping waste illegally.
"This is a hidden crime that can potentially harm us all, whether we live in the city or countryside. We urge anyone who has information about the perpetrators of this crime to contact us 100% anonymously. We do not take personal details and we can’t trace information given to us by phone or online. No-one will ever know you contacted us.
“We’re a charity that gives people the power to speak up to stop crime. We won’t ask for any personal details, including your name. When you hang up the phone (0800 555 111) or click ‘send’ (crimestoppers-uk.org) you’re done. No police, no witness statements or courts.”
If you have any information about someone involved in illegal warehouse waste dumping, please contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form here on our website.
Terry A'Hearn, Chief Executive of SEPA, said:
“Illegally dumping waste is a lucrative business for criminal organisations and warehouses or derelict sites are a prime target to mask this activity, out of sight and mind of the public.
“The reality is that illegal stockpiling is on the rise and often on an industrial scale. It’s imperative that landowners carry out proper checks on prospective tenants and stay vigilant for suspected criminal activity, as ultimately the burden and cost of clearing waste falls on the owner.
“Reporting suspicious activity to Crimestoppers will not only help us to identify and take firm action against those responsible, it will allow us map the scale of waste crime in Scotland and ensure that we protect our communities from the impact of environmental damage and social blight, which illegal dumping can cause.”