A Reading-based crime boss has been sent to prison for four years for running a massive illegal waste site. The sentence, the longest ever for waste crime, was given after a joint investigation between the Environment Agency and Thames Valley Police.
Hugh O’Donnell was today sentenced for money laundering and waste offences. Among the charges were: deliberate breech of the law; a direct motive of financial profit and numerous failures to respond to advice or a court injunction to persist.
Angus Innes, Environment Agency Principal Solicitor, said: “O’Donnell’s illegal waste business netted millions of pounds in profit by taking skips or lorry loads of construction and demolition waste into the Aldermaston site to be dumped in an illegal landfill. This investigation has been one of the biggest and most complex ever undertaken by the Environment Agency, using intelligence and forensic science to proactively target an organised criminal gang running an illegal waste site. Waste crime puts the environment and human health at risk and undermines legitimate waste businesses.”
The Environment Agency’s regional and national Environmental Crime Teams used forensic techniques such as DNA and handwriting analysis, smartwater tracking, fingerprinting, mobile phone and laptop interrogation to track members of the gang.
The Environment Agency also undertook a comprehensive and industry standard assessment for potential contamination. It showed that the landfill compromised of over 65,000t of contaminated ‘non-hazardous’ classed construction waste.