A court hearing following a two-year investigation carried out by the Environment Agency, in partnership with Brazilian authorities, after four men and three companies allegedly breached terms of the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007, could be committed for trial at Crown Courts in London when the court reconvens for its committal hearing at City of London Magistrates Court in March.
Jonathan Coombe, 41, of Romford
Simon Edwards, 45, of Loughton in Essex
Julio Da Costa, 51, of Swindon
Juliano Da Costa, 27, of Swindon
Edwards Recycling Ltd
Edwards Waste Paper Ltd
Worldwide Biorecycling Ltd
who have yet to enter a plea, are being prosecuted for allegedly, during the period 2008 - 2009, exporting shipments of 89 containers marked as recyclable plastics, which contained no recyclable products but contained only household wastes.
The material, marked as plastics for recycling and is believed to have been exported from Felixstowe in the south of England and passed through Antwerp in Belgium before being unloaded at the ports in South America. Amonst the contents of the cargo, items that are prohibited for export were allegedly found, including: sexual, drug, blood, and toilet wastes.
Local media reports at the time claimed that the cargo included: plastic bags, paper, batteries, syringes, chemical toilets, empty cards of drugs, condoms, diapers, cloth and leather, among others. Flies and spiders were also found in containers, it was alleged.
The containers, intercepted by Brazilian customs, were repatriated to the UK, at which point Environment Agency inspectors were said to have discovered mixed waste including nappies, blood packs and syringes.
Speaking at the time An Environment Agency spokesperson said:
"The Environment Agency has sought to contact Brazilian authorities after being alerted to possible illegal waste export from the UK.
"As the competent authority for enforcing Transfrontier Shipping Regulations in England and Wales, the Environment Agency has launched an investigation to ascertain the facts of this case and to determine if an offence has been committed.
"Where the Environment Agency detects or is made aware of the illegal export of waste, it works with all relevant partner authorities to ensure the environmentally sound management of any illegal shipments - including the possible return of wastes to UK," he added.
City of London Magistrates Court heard representations from the prosecution of the four men and three companies that the case should be heard at Crown Courts due to the ‘public interest’ and the scale of the alleged offences.
Magistrate granted the Defendants unconditional bail until the committal hearing at City of London Magistrates Court in March.