By Denna Bowman
Three men have been arrested on suspicion of committing fraud by claiming to recycle old tyres.
Old tyres are supposed to be recycled if they cannot be re-used, however, there there have been many reports of operations that appear either to be exporting unusable tyres overseas or dumping them in the UK.
After an eight-month probe officers from the Environment Agency and City of London police reported that three men have been arrested on suspicion of “tyre fraud”.
Andy Higham, the agency’s National Crime Team manager, said: “The UK produces almost 50 million used tyres every year, and it is now illegal to send them to landfill – they should be recycled here in the UK.
“But our intelligence suggests that illegal operators are charging tyre fitters to recycle old tyres here in the UK and then illegally exporting them overseas to avoid the recycling costs.
“As well as forcing other countries to deal with our waste, this practice also undermines legitimate tyre recycling businesses here in the UK.”
The main destinations for illegal exports are thought to include Hong Kong and Vietnam, which have both exercised their right under international waste treaties to block the importation of tyres that are not fit for re-use.
Other rogue traders are also dumping them in warehouses and properties they have rented around the UK, leaving the owner to foot the bill for their legitimate disposal.
The three men detained as part of the culmination of the operation are a 60-year-old from Chelmsford, Essex, a 32-year-old from Spalding, Lincolnshire, and a 61-year-old from Swanscombe, Kent.