WALSOKEN: Three arrested after this morning's massive dawn raid on unlicensed scrapyard
THREE people have been arrested following a massive search operation at a scrap yard in Walsoken this morning (Tuesday). Police wearing riot gear stormed a house in Wheatley Bank, as they joined forces with the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Execut
THREE people have been arrested following a massive search operation at a scrap yard in Walsoken this morning (Tuesday).
Police wearing riot gear stormed a house in Wheatley Bank, as they joined forces with the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive, HMRC Criminal Taxation Unit, Smartwater and the UK Border Agency.
One of those men, a 55-year-old man from the Walsoken area, was arrested for running a scrap site without the relevant authorities.
The purpose of the operation was to tackle the illegal purchase and sale of vehicles and parts, which is believed to take place on the site.
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The yard has been the subject of an extensive and thorough investigation by the agencies for the past year.
Also included in the operation was Norfolk Police's specialist Operation RADAR team, Police Search Teams, the Police Support Unit, CID, Safer Neighbourhood Teams, Air Support, the Economic Crime Unit and Cambridgeshire Police.
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Chief Supt Tony Cherington, County Delivery Unit head, welcomed today's action and said: "This site is one of the few in the county which has not engaged positively with officers from Operation RADAR.
"The site operator failed to comply with the agencies that regulate this type of business activity and had, therefore, left us with no option other than taking possession.
"This operation demonstrates how well agencies work together in Norfolk. We share information and work closely to ensure we have maximum impact on those people who, we believe, choose to operate outside the law."
There were an estimated 400 vehicles on the site when it was searched, with eight qualified police vehicle examiners looking for evidence in every single vehicle and outbuilding.
Det Sgt Peter Jessop, who leads Operation RADAR, said: "Our positive action, against a site which has had a long-term adverse effect on the local community and businesses, enforces the message across the county that Norfolk Constabulary does not tolerate illegal businesses.
"We are happy to work with legal and law abiding scrap sites but will come down hard on those who, we believe, are trying to abuse the system."
Geoff Brighty, Environment Agency Area Manager said: "This site was raided as part of our ongoing enforcement work to close down illegal waste operations across the country.
"We are systematically targeting those sites that are suspected of deliberately flouting the law, undermine legitimate business and which potentially pollute the environment.
"We work with the legitimate waste industry to ensure that all waste is handled, stored and treated in a safe and responsible manner and we will take firm action against those who, we believe, are choosing to ignore the law".
• Operation RADAR was launched in July 2008, creating a single-point of contact for police and partner agencies for all offences related to bogus callers, rogue traders and linked rural crime.