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Significant Number of Serious Organised Crime Groups are Operating Within the Waste Sector

One in five serious and organised crime groups (SOCG) have links to businesses within the waste sector according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

SEPA, Police Scotland, and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) are to participate in a discussion about environmental crime and its links to serious organised crime at Holyrood today, 12 August 2014.

It has been revealed by prosecutors to members of the Justice Committee that there at least one major investigation is ongoing within this sector at present. The UK waste and recycling sector is estimated to generate in excess of £12bn each year. SEPA Executive Director, Calum MacDonald said;

“It is our assessment that SOCG are not simply engaging in waste crime as an adjunct to other criminal business enterprises, such as money laundering of other crime activities, but as an active business enterprise through which they commit waste crime for the high profits that can be made.

Critical to this assessment has been the exchange of intelligence undertaken by SEPA and the Police Service of Scotland. SEPA analysis based on intelligence, licensing data and SEPA case reporting since January 2013 identifies that approximately 20% of all SOCG, including some of the top tier criminals in Scotland, are linked or are directly involved in businesses within the waste sector.The full scale and extent of SOCG involvement in the waste industry is not fully understood and more work is required in this area to assess their impact and test this assessment further.”

Furthermore, the Crown’s Serious and Organised Crime Division (SOCD) is working with the assistance of SEPA and Police Scotland on a “large and complex environmental crime, money laundering and potential tax evasion enquiry”, Which was confirmed by the Director of Serious Casework, John Logue.

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