Special forces veterans are being hired to jump from behind hedgerows in the battle against violent fly-tipping gangs.
Town halls and waste management companies are using the crack teams to fight the scourge in secluded areas.
They are being hired from a security company that employs former elite members of the armed services who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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Subrosa Group has created a full-time unit of former SAS veterans to act as “surveillance operatives” and are “secreted in the undergrowth” around waste sites.
The “specialist security” unit of between four and eight members was created amid council fears of Government inaction against fly-tipping.
Niall Burns, Subrosa’s chief executive, says the elite fighters are coming up with fresh tactics in the battle against fly-tippers.
He said: “They’ve got the money, they’ve got the resources, they’ve got the wherewithal.
“The ability to create covert hides and camouflage yourself is a critical skill.”
Any evidence found by the specialist groups is passed on to police and prosecutors, and already several people have been prosecuted as a result.
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The National Audit Office (NAO) has said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) lacked data “to identify and assess the full extent of all waste crime”.
However it said there was strong evidence that fly-tipping was increasing and blamed the rise on rising landfill taxes.
The Environment Agency says its waste crime unit has made 51 arrests since 2020.
The NAO also found criminal networks were moving into the fly-tipping business to make a quick buck.
Looking at 60 organised crime groups understood to be involved in environmental offences, 70% were also involved in money laundering and two-thirds had a hand in the drugs trade, according to the organisation.
Burns added: "Individuals who might have once been armed bank robbers are the type going into waste crime. There’s a lot of reward for less risk."
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