Warning issued to West Norfolk farmers about waste scam

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The Country Land and Business Association is warning farmers and landowners to be wary of organised gangs of criminals targeting them as part of a scam that could leave them with thousands of tonnes of rubbish on their land.

The Association, which represents farmers, landowners and rural businesses, said this had become an increasing problem and can leave people with the large cost of having the waste lawfully removed.

The rise of this particular scam, which has been flagged by the Environment Agency, is being exacerbated by oversupply in the waste industry and difficulties in finding legitimate outlets for waste.

CLA East Regional Director Nicola Currie said: “Organised groups are making concerted efforts to target landowners and farmers with land in extremely isolated areas, well shielded from public highways, to store huge quantities of waste – often plastics and wood – on a temporary basis.

“These are usually slick operations, with the ringleaders seemingly having a very legitimate front. They appear to have all relevant permits and offer cash to store the waste.

“They then bring in equipment such as temporary, portable office buildings to make it look like a genuine operation, and often employ legitimate operators with no knowledge of the scam to transport the waste. However, once the site is full they disappear leaving the hire kit unpaid for and the landowners with a rather large pile of waste – for which they believed there was licence – to dispose of at their own expense.”

If you are approached to store waste for someone else, or suspect that this is going on in your area, call the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.