Collect and Recycle

Landmark WEEE trial sees further sentence passed

The UK’s largest ever case concerning the illegal export of WEEE has continued with the sentencing of another defendant, after it was discovered by investigators that the court had been misinformed about his ability to pay financial penalties, report the electrical waste recycling specialists of Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com).

At a hearing at Basildon Crown Court, Terence Dugbo was ordered to pay fines, costs and confiscation monies amounting to a total of £91,000. At a trial concluding earlier this year, Dugbo had received a conviction for breaching the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007.

Mr Dugbo had been convicted for his involvement in the illegal export of hazardous waste from the UK to Ghanaian, Pakistani and Nigerian destinations, but a lack of available financial information had thus far delayed his sentencing.

Earlier this year, investigators from the Environment Agency examined the defendant’s affairs, finding that he had assets exceeding £80,000, despite investigators having being told that he lacked the money to pay a fine in relation to the offences.

December 2012 had already seen the sentencing by His Honour Judge Black of fellow defendants Adrian J Thomson, Michael Singh Aulakh and KSV Recycling’s Krassimir Vengelov, while guilty pleas for related offences had been made by another seven defendants during a November 2011 trial.

Despite an appeal of their original conviction by defendants receiving sentences in the initial trial, the court of appeal upheld the case.

The prosecution came after a protracted and complex Environment Agency investigation since 2008, codenamed ‘Operation Boron’. Fines of a total of more than £310,000 have now been imposed on those convicted.

Manager of the national crime team at the Environment Agency, Andy Higham, said that a clear message had been sent out to illegal WEEE exporters by the size of the fines, adding that further offences of a similar nature were presently under investigation.

He also claimed that the illegal export of WEEE remained one of the Agency’s key focus areas.

He stated: “You could argue that the financial penalty doesn’t cover the risk when you consider the possible environmental and human health impacts of the offence, but it is new legislation and the judiciary are finding their way through it.

“If you look further into it you will see that we have investigated over a three year period and the various hurdles we have gone through along the way show that we are determined to prosecute people who are committing these offences.”

He concluded that “although it is too early to reveal any details” of ongoing investigations into matters with a connection to WEEE, “we can say that WEEE is certainly one of our priorities.”

Here at Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com), we can certainly only back the Environment Agency’s sterling work in ensuring the complete legality of WEEE recycling. We work hard to ensure that our own service is not only compliant, but also cost-effective, secure and efficient for the many businesses and organisations that use it. Contact us now to find out more.

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