Enforcement action is reported to have taken place at five separate addresses in Staffordshire, Herefordshire and Hertfordshire following an investigation into illegal dumping of 20,000-25,000 tonnes of waste at 17 sites across the Midlands, North West and North East.
More than 25 Environment Agency investigators, supported by over 20 police officers from Staffordshire, Hertfordshire and West Mercia and Warwickshire Police forces, were in action at suspects’ homes and business addresses seeking evidence as part of Operation Cesium.
The investigation, reported the Environment Agency, is "expected to continue for many more months".
Paul Clarke, lead investigator part of the Environment Agency’s National Investigation Team said: “In this case, we have 17 landowners and communities blighted by significant amounts of dumped waste. We’ve already seen some of these sites catch fire, causing significant impact on communities, the environment and our emergency services partners who have to tackle them.
“Illegal waste activity of the likes we’re investigating here diverts £1billion from legitimate businesses and the treasury, and at the Environment Agency we do everything we can to bring those responsible to account.
"This investigation has been ongoing since last summer and our enquiries will continue to examine the evidence to determine the full extent of the suspected offences," added Clarke.