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NRW uncovers multi-million recycling fraud

United Kingdom – Two UK businessmen who ‘ran’ the company known as Nationwide Recycling at Neath in South Wales have been found guilty of fraud and sentenced to four years in prison, the BBC has reported.

An undercover investigation by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) brought to light an elaborate scheme concocted by brothers Paul and Andrew Thomas. Together, they raised £2.8 million (US$ 4.3 million) through the fraudulent issuing of packaging recovery notes for materials – mainly glass – that were ‘neither received nor recycled’.

Motorbike ‘delivery’

The pair also secured £300 000 (US$ 460 000) by taking aluminium cans from councils on the basis that these would be recycled – only for them to be sold to scrap metal dealers. According to NRW, vehicle registrations were also falsified; for instance, a vehicle check uncovered that a Harley Davidson motorbike had allegedly carried 29 tonnes of glass to the company site.

Both men have been ordered by Swansea Crown Court to repay more than £200 000 (US$ 306 000) within the next six months or risk facing an additional 32 months in jail.

Such transgressions ‘will not be tolerated’, insists NRW’s lead officer John Rock. ‘The actions of the offenders have undermined the recycling markets and industry which are vital to make sure the waste we all produce is not sent to landfill. People who do consider breaking the law simply to make money must understand that not only will they be punished for their offences, the profits they make are also at risk.’

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