Around 4,800 tyres were discovered hidden within the walls of a mill in Burnley after an Environment Agency-led investigation into illegal waste.
The Environment Agency launched an inspection of Oxford Mill, in Oxford Road, Burnley, after receiving reports that the site, which had become derelict, was suspected of being used to illegally store waste.
Upon arriving at the site, officers noticed tyres were visible from the road side through a broken window on the top floor of the mill. They discovered a false wall had been fitted inside the mill that was concealing nearly 5,000 of tyres – creating a significant fire risk and putting residents and businesses nearby in danger.
Working alongside Burnley Borough Council, Lancashire Fire and Rescue and the mill's new owner, the Environment Agency was able to make sure the tyres were swiftly and safely disposed of, ensuring the safety of the public.
The mill, which is now being converted into business units, had been left derelict for a long period of time and consequently, investigations were unable to establish who was responsible for the illegal storage of the tyres.
An Environment Agency Spokesperson said:
"If these tyres were set alight, perhaps through vandalism or by accident, the fire would have been very difficult to put out. It would also have produced a vast range of substances, many of which could harm the environment or human health.
"Waste crime puts people and the environment at risk and we would urge anyone who suspects waste is being stored or disposed of illegally to call our incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously to Crimestoppers 0800 555 111."