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Bale waste crime has been on the rise around the south-east of England, with the Environment Agency warning landowners around the area to be careful and vigilant when it comes to people on the property.

Plastic, construction, commercial or household waste tend to be the types making up these bales due to a lack of business recycling options for them, and lack of general worth in reuse or collection, being compressed into a block. Incidents of these bales being dumped on private land in the south-east area go back as far as 2017.


The Bigger Picture

According to the manager of the Environment Agency, Alan Cansdale, these cases of waste dumping have been very organised targeting of secure sites by going through the property and land leasing process to take actions that seem legal on the surface level. In many cases, removing all the waste can cost up to £200,000.

How exactly do criminals do this? They usually provide false details in order to secure areas that will be useful for storage such as farms or industrial estates. Many criminals will also look for areas close to trailers for public roads or car parks, which can double up as additional dumping targets.


Methods of Combating Bale Waste Crime

Property owners and businesses have been urged to put more security and care in their management of waste as to make sure the waste can’t be stolen to cause damage.


Attempts have been made to actively stop a criminal in the middle of their plans. The Environment Agency has appealed to all manner of land and business owners to be vigilant in looking out for potential scams, with the proper checking of various factors allowing for landlords to assure criminals won’t target them. The advice they provide to both landlords and property agents include:


  • Detailed checks on new tenants, making sure they strictly comply with standard property regulations.
  • Surveillance on empty property to ensure security.
  • Ensure no waste is stored on the property without the correct permits. Failure to comply with this can lead to the business/property owner being prosecuted for storing waste on top of the fees in removing it.
  • Carefully checking the details of a contract before signing in order to assure it fits within the legal regulations, of which can be done through the information here.
  • Not accepting payments from supposed contractors to temporarily store waste, a common scam.
  • Reporting any suspicious activities.
  • Calling the Environment Agency‘s phone line at 0800 80 70 60 or Crimestoppers at 0800 555 111 if approached with a request to store waste.


Seemingly empty properties being used by waste criminals is a common enough tactic that hundreds of properties have been used for such means.


Waste crime in general throughout England ends up costing both land/business owners and the government an annual average of £604 million, of which the Environment Agency is doing active work to rectify. Their specialist crime unit uses the data they can obtain in order to track criminals involved in illegal waste management and prosecute them.


With proper adherence to the methods provided by the Environment Agency, most businesses should find the risk of waste crime occurring near their premises to slowly become far less of a concern.