The shipments of 81 containers totaling around 1,500 tons of waste were said to contain syringes, nappies and condoms.

Brazil’s Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources insisted the waste was sent back to the UK and made a formal complaint.

Police and Environment Agency officers raided properties in Swindon last month in relation to the suspected offences.

Three men were arrested and bailed until October.

Shipping hazardous waste to another country is illegal under international treaty the Basel Convention but still happens with some regularity as cheats in industrialised, heavily regulated countries seek to avoid the high cost of safe disposal by sending the waste to the developing world.

Sam Bond

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