Panorama exposes illegal trade of tyre dumping

Illegal tyre mountains are piling up across the UK as criminal gangs dump them or ship them overseas, creating big problems for legitimate recycling operators.

There is now huge demand for used tyres from the Asia-Pacific and unscrupulous firms running out of these countries are undercutting British operators as they are look to buy these tyres by the millions.

An investigation into the illicit activity by BBC Panorama has found that UK tyre recycling firms are being hit badly by a shortage of supply with some facing closure or possible redundancies.

According to the BBC, vast tyres dumps littered across the British countryside are now so big they can be picked out by satellites in space. At one point, it says, there were over 2 million tyres piled up at a secluded site in Hampshire.

The programme, which airs tonight, will show how one couple, who ran a recycling scam in North Wales, dumped tens of thousands of tyres in a warehouse before fleeing abroad with around £15,000 in profits.

Andy Higham, of the Environment Agency, told the programme: “We’re talking about serious and organised criminals. These aren’t people that just dump a few tyres. We’re talking about major, major money that can actually be made from this type of illegal activity.”

Panorama: Britain’s Biggest Waste Dumpers is on BBC One tonight at 20:30pm.

Maxine Perella

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