Five who shipped waste from Essex to Brazil fined at Old Bailey
A father and son were among five defendants today fined for exporting over 1500 onnes of poorly-sorted household waste to Brazil in 2008 and 2009, marking the end of the biggest Environment Agency waste crime investigation and prosecution to date.
Two other people and one company were also handed a total £106,250 in fines and costs at London’s Central Criminal Court (the Old Bailey) for their part in the export of 89 40-foot containers of prohibited waste to Santos and Rio Grande do Sul in breach of the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007.
The discovery of the illegal shipments, described as ‘plastics for recycling’ but actually containing contaminated waste such as nappies, syringes and catheter bags, outraged the Brazilian authorities.
The then President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, made a formal complaint to the Basel Convention - the body that oversees the international movement of waste and recyclables.
A major investigation was immediately launched by the Environment Agency’s National Environmental Crime Team (NECT).
Andrew Higham, Head of NECT, said: “Exporting poorly-sorted, contaminated waste is not only against the law - it’s immoral. It’s a crime that shows a blatant disregard for the safety and welfare of overseas communities and the environment.
“We were determined to bring those who were behind the export to justice. To do that my officers had to spend over three months hand-picking through hundreds of tonnes of rotting waste to gather evidence and establish where it had all come from.
Underpinning the crime was complex web of contracts and connections and over 170 witness statements were gathered in the course of our inquiries.
“Today’s result is testimony to the patience and professionalism of the Environment Agency.”
Julio da Costa, 51, and Juliano da Costa, 27, both of Swindon, pleaded guilty just days before they were due to face a three-week jury trial at the Old Bailey.
Two other men - Jonathan Coombe, 41, of Romford, and Simon Edwards, 46, of Loughton in Essex – and Edwards Waste Paper Limited, pleaded guilty at last year’s pre-trial hearing to their parts in the export of the waste out of Felixstowe and Tilbury.
Edwards was director of the company and Coombe was the sales manager.
An extensive Environment Agency investigation found that the da Costas were involved in shipping all 89 of the containers via their now dissolved Swindon-based companies Worldwide Biorecyclables Ltd, and UK Multiplas Ltd. 46 of the containers were loaded at Edwards’ Waste Paper site in Essex.
A fifth man – Andre De Oliveira, 32 – failed to answer bail in November 2011 and is still wanted in connection to the case. The former director of Worldwide Biorecyclables has yet to be charged and this current whereabouts are unknown
despite multi-agency inquiries in the UK and overseas involving INTERPOL and the Borders Agency.
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Weather for Haverhill
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 18 C
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Wind direction: North west