TWO people have been arrested on suspicion of dealing with stolen vehicles as part of a crackdown on illegal breakers’ yards and metal theft in South Yorkshire.
The operation was carried out by officers from the Environment Agency and South Yorkshire Police, who targeted four sites in Rotherham.
Officers visited sites they suspected may have been breaking up vehicles without holding the relevant environmental permit.
Any business that handles, processes or stores waste needs an environmental permit so the agency can ensure it operates with minimal impact on the environment.
Officers found evidence of illegal vehicle breaking taking place at two sites, and at one it was causing significant oil pollution. The site operator was told to stop activities until an environmental permit is in place. Waste was also being illegally burnt on site.
At another site, waste was also being stored without permission. When police checked vehicles there, they discovered one was stolen and arrested two people.
Agency environment management team leader Ben Hocking said: “Working with the police allows us to reinforce our message at sites that have been causing problems.
“Operating a waste site without an environmental permit is illegal and sites that operate without proper regulation can also have an unfair competitive advantage over legitimate waste operators.
“We will continue to work with the police and other partners to try to reduce the scale of this problem, and we will share intelligence on other potential illegal sites.”
Det Chf Insp Craig Robinson, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “Metal theft is not just a problem for South Yorkshire, it is a national issue.
“This week-long police operation is the start of further and on-going action to tackle metal theft, illegal goings-on at scrap yards and other offences often associated with criminal activity.
“Results have been very promising and the offenders who risk harming themselves or innocent members of the public by targeting active gas pipes or electrical cables need to know South Yorkshire is not an easy target.
“Offenders are being caught and prosecuted and scrapyards that carry out illegal activity, or receive obviously stolen goods, will find officers on their sites, shutting their businesses down for good.”