LORRIES were stop-checked as part of a crackdown on illegal waste exports at Harwich International Port.

Environment Agency officers from teams across the country carried out an operation at the port.

Field intelligence officers, port officers and members of the illegal waste shipments team were on hand to speak with drivers passing through the port and offer advice on transporting waste abroad legally. 

The aim of the operation was to stop and check HGVs carrying waste to identify any items being illegally exported to Europe. 

A total of 29 lorries were stopped and 18 were found to be carrying waste.

Officers checked their paperwork and examined the waste loads and half were found to have missing or incomplete documents - meaning the export was illegal.

After further checks and support from the Environment Agence they were given the all-clear and allowed to continue their journeys.

Chris Smith, national intelligence manager, whose team led the operation for the Environment Agency, said: “The sheer volume of material we found and prevented from being exported illegally is a big win but our work isn’t finished.

“The operation sends a strong message that we will track down those involved in illegal waste activity. 

“We intend to continue our inspections of waste at ports around all of England to ensure waste being exported is done so legally.

“The effects of exporting waste illegally is harmful to the environment and the economy. It undercuts legitimate businesses and causes harm to human health and the environment in destination countries.

“Waste crime is a serious issue diverting as much as £1billion per annum from legitimate business and the Treasury. Since April 2011 the Environment Agency has invested £65.2million in tackling it.

“Anyone with information about suspected illegal waste operators should call Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111.”