Eight men and three companies have been ordered to pay more than £220,000 for attempting to export broken electronics from the UK, the Environment Agency has revealed
The fines followed a prosecution of what the Environment Agency described as the biggest criminal network it has ever uncovered.
Basildon Crown Court heard that televisions, fridges – some containing ozone-depleting substances – and old computers, were among the 450 tonnes of electronics illegally exported to Nigeria, Ghana and Pakistan in breach of the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 and the European Waste Shipment Regulation 2006.
The convictions follow a two-year investigation by officers at the agency’s national environmental crime (NEC) team, that involved stopping a dozen 40-foot containers of hazardous electrical waste while they were en route to Nigeria.
Five of the men and the three companies were convicted after a six-week trial in November 2011, but the court at the time imposed restrictions on the reporting of the convictions. They were ordered to pay a total of £78,000.
The three defendants recently convicted at Basildon Crown Court were ordered pay a total of £142,145 in fines, costs and confiscations. Another two defendants are yet to be sentenced and a third remains at large.
One of the company’s found guilty by the court was Ady’s Skips and Recycling Services, which had a contract to collect televisions from 18 civic amenity sites across Norfolk.