Crime boss gets longest ever jail sentence for waste crimes

An organised crime boss has been given the longest ever prison sentence for running a massive illegal waste site.

Hugh O'Donnell was jailed for four years for money-laundering and 22 months for waste offences to be served concurrently.

His accomplices, Robert Evans and Peter Lavelle, both of Reading, received 2 years and 18 months respectively for money-laundering, and 14 months and 12 month respectively for waste offences - all to be served concurrently.

O'Donnell was no stranger to this type of crime, having been jailed for six months previously for waste offences and the non-payment of fines.

The illegal waste site at Aldermaston, near Reading, was the size of five football pitches. The landfill contained over 65,000 tonnes of contaminated 'non-hazardous' classed construction waste.

The arrests followed a three-year investigation by the Environment Agency. The Agency used forensic techniques such as DNA and handwriting analysis, smartwater tracking, fingerprinting, mobile phone and laptop interrogation to track members of the gang.

The site was raided by the Thames Valley Police and the Environment agency in October 2008. They found an unlicensed handgun and ammunition, other weapons, stolen vehicles, plant equipment and over £50,000 in cash.

Environment Agency principal solicitor, Angus Innes, 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." Alison Brown

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