Its a first in the UK – a custodial sentence has been awarded for the illegal export of WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment).
According to Gov.uk the offender, Joe Benson, has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for illegally exporting 46 tonnes of hazardous electrical waste to Nigeria, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and the Congo.
Gov.uk states that “This is the first time a defendant has been sentenced to a custodial sentence for illegally exporting waste.”
According to the report, it is thought that Benson, 54, of Broad Street, Loughton, Essex, stood to make around £32,000 from the export of the intercepted containers. He collected the electrical waste from civic amenity sites in London and the Home Counties and took it to his licensed waste site in Walthamstow where it should have been tested for functionality and safety before being exported. He made money by collecting the waste and selling it on at about £8,000 a container as well as avoiding the costs incurred in dealing with the waste safely.
Andrew Higham, who leads the Environment Agency’s National Environmental Crime Team is quoted as saying that “These are not victimless crimes. The rules governing the exportation of waste electrical equipment are in place for good reason, to protect human life and the environment. It is illegal to send hazardous waste to these countries. Mr Benson has seen fit to flaunt the rules for his own personal benefit. The Environment Agency has a specialist crime unit to track and prosecute criminals who export waste illegally.”
Director of regulated industry Harvey Bradshaw said that “This sentence is a landmark ruling because it’s the first time anyone has been sent to prison for illegal waste exports as a result of our investigations. We take a zero tolerance approach to those commit waste crime, and cracking down on illegal waste exports will continue to be a priority for the Environment Agency. We urge anyone in the waste industry to help us protect their legitimate business and report any suspicious activity to Crimestoppers anonymously.”
The article can be read in full here:
If you are concerned about anything regarding WEEE disposal or are unsure of the processes that are required by law please contact EOL IT Services directly at enquiries@eolitservices or alternatively on 0845 600 4696.