Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Waste disguised as hay bales at Turnhouse farm in Edinburgh

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Media captionThe waste, disguised as silage bales, was dumped at a disused farm at Turnhouse

An investigation is under way in Edinburgh after hundreds of tonnes of illegally dumped waste was discovered on a disused farm.

The waste, disguised as hay bales and dumped at the farm at Turnhouse, would have cost more than £60,000 to dispose of legally.

It is one of a growing number of cases being investigated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

It is the first time this type of crime has been discovered in Scotland.

The criminals used an HGV lorry, pick up trucks and a fork lift truck to transport the waste to the site at Turnhouse.

Sepa officials said it had been a sophisticated operation, disguising the waste as covered hay bales to avoid detection.

More than 600 bags were filled with building rubble and other materials, filling outbuildings and spilling into the farm yard.

Sepa has issued an appeal for witnesses.

Image caption The discovery is one of a growing number of illegal waste disposal cases being investigated by Sepa

It is thought the waste was dumped over a series of days this summer, just before the Commonwealth Games.

The organisation has been working with Interpol and Europol to crack down on those profiting from illegal waste disposal in Scotland.

Calum MacDonald, Sepa executive director, warned people with empty premises to be alert.

He said: "This is a very significant number of bales that are full of waste that have been brought here illicitly and deposited without the knowledge of the owner of the property.

"If you look at the bales when they are intact they will have the exact same appearance as an agricultural silage bale.

"This is partly the reason why this hasn't been noticed while it was actually happening."

Image caption It is the first time this type of crime has been discovered in Scotland

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