Arrests over waste exports

Three men have been arrested in connection with the alleged export of 99 shipping containers of illegal waste from the United Kingdom to Brazil.

Officers from the Environment Agency's National Environmental Crime Team raided three properties in the Swindon area at dawn yesterday, as part of investigations into the origin of 1,400 tonnes of waste found in Brazilian ports. Wiltshire Police arrested a 49-year-old, a 28-year-old and a 24-year old.

The authorities in Brazil have claimed that at least two of the containers were filled with a mixture of household and clinical waste, including syringes and condoms.

The Environment Agency has said that it would take back the waste from Brazil – at the expenses of the shipping lines – but it would not confirm what the containers had in them.

Waste can be sent abroad for recycling, but it is illegal to export it for disposal. The maximum penalty for breaking the rules is an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.