Police have uncovered a huge toxic junkyard with stolen machinery worth £65,000 in the middle of the countryside that has been polluting the environment for years.
The sprawling mass covered a vast area and contained dozens of wrecked cars, countless empty skips, tonnes of twisted metal, plasterboard and bin bags and old gas canisters and oil drums.
Stunned officers who descended on the Wimborne area of East Dorset found 25ft high piles of the hazardous junk on the rural site that had no permission or licence to operate.
Some of the polluting scrap was even ablaze when the police turned up, suggesting the tip was still being actively used.
Officers on the site initially discovered plant machinery worth £50,000 as they arrested a 51-year-old man from Bournemouth on suspicion of handling stolen goods.
Dorset Police earlier today uncovered a huge illegal waste dump in the countryside which even had rubbish on fire (pictured)
Officers recovered £50,000 of stolen plant machinery and arrested one man on suspicion of handling stolen goods. The illicit dump had wrecked cars and tonnes of twisted metal
The illegal waste dump has been polluting the environment for over two years with stunned officers finding 25ft high piles of hazardous junk
The machine was a JCB telehandler which was stolen from Bedfordshire and recovered at the dump earlier today.
Police also revealed later that following their arrest, a search at a second address in Verwood, East Dorset which led them to another piece of stolen plant machinery, this time a skip payload worth £15,000.
In a joint operation with the Environment Agency, HM Revenue & Cutoms and the Vehicle Crime Intelligence Police Service, officers from Dorset Police’s Rural Crime Team entered the site today.
A tweet posted by the Environment Agency said: ‘Great result from partnership working to cut down on waste crime at this illegal waste site.’
The sprawling mass of rubbish could be seen in the rural site which had no permission or licence to be operating
The site, which had no permission or licence to operate, is now being investigated by officers who made one arrest at the scene
Police made one arrest at the scene after finding stolen machinery worth £50,000. But they later searched a second address and found another piece of machinery worth £15,000
Meanwhile the agency told MailOnline: ‘We are working with the police and other agencies in relation to an investigation at an illegal waste site in East Dorset. As this could lead to a prosecution, we are unable to provide any further information at this time.’
Police Constable Kate Schofield, of Dorset Police’s Rural Crime Team, said: ‘This operation is another example of how we work with our partners to investigate reports of rural crime and take positive action against those believed to be involved.
‘We recognise the impact this kind of activity has on our rural communities and by sharing intelligence and working with other agencies we are better equipped to take a robust response.
‘We are continuing our enquiries into this matter and will be working to ensure that the suspected stolen machinery is returned to the rightful owners.’
The toxic junkyard prompted members of the public to question how the illegal dump has been allowed to build up and operate for so long
The initial stolen machinery found by officers was a JCB telehandler (pictured) worth £50,000 which was stolen from Bedfordshire before it was recovered today
Later on in the day, after carrying a search at a second address, police uncovered a Mecalac skip payload (pictured) worth £15,000
Many commended the work of the rural team with Dawn Turner saying: ‘Well done lads and lasses’ while Jane Varnham said ‘Well done’.
But furious members of the public took to social media to ask how the illegal dump could be allowed to build up for so long without the authorities acting on it before now.
Nigel McBay said: ‘Have the council and environment agency been going around with their eyes closed? Makes you wonder why we pay so much in council tax!!!
While Graeme Larkin posted: ‘How has that been allowed to happen without anyone noticing?’
And David Holley agreed, saying: ‘How could a place of this size not be reported by local people.’
Others saw the funny side, with Dean Cutler adding: ‘Are there any nissan micras in the pile of cars could do with some spares.’
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