Organised criminals blamed for bale waste
Organised criminals are behind the dumping of baled waste in south-east England, the Environment Agency has warned.
Seven large-scale crimes have been reported in Hampshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex since 2017.
In each case the criminals gained access to the land by leasing property on the sites under false names, the agency said.
Clean-up costs have exceeded £200,000 per site, it added.
Environment manager Alan Cansdale said: "These criminal offences have not been random or opportunistic dumping of waste, but rather systematic and organised crime.
"Secure sites have been targeted... through the property and land leasing process."
The agency said commercial properties were "sitting targets" for criminals, unless landowners made proper checks on tenants.
It said it was unable to give details of each incident and no arrests had been made.