Fines totalling £220,000 have been given to eight men and three companies that exported broken electronics from the UK.
In the biggest criminal network uncovered by the Environment Agency for exporting illegal WEEE, it was found that 450 tonnes of WEEE was exported to Nigeria, Ghana and Pakistan while the men pocketed money by claiming the waste was being legally reused.
Three men were sentenced at Basildon Crown Court last week and were ordered to pay a total of £142,145 in fines, costs and confiscations. Another two defendants are still to face sentencing and a third is still at large.
The prosecution was actually split in two as there were 11 men and four companies involved. Five men and three companies were convicted after a six-week trial in November 2011. They were ordered to pay a total of £78,000.
Environment Agency national environmental crime team manager Andy Higham said: “This is the biggest waste exports case the Environment Agency has taken and confirms the legal position on exporting electronic waste to developing countries. Sending hazardous waste to developing countries is unacceptable. Our environmental crime teams will continue to track down and stop those who risk damaging people’s health and the environment.”