Illegal waste disposal in Scotland is the subject of an international clampdown headed by Interpol.
Gangs operating in Scotland have been profiting from the illegal disposal of waste, damaging the environment and jeopardising public health.
Now, Interpol, Europol and the SEPA are set to intensify efforts to eradicate the problem, which has drawn comparisons with the operation of the Mafia in Italy.
Holyrood Justice Committee Convener, Christine Grahame, said: “People just don’t believe that we have like a McMafia here, that serious organised crime perhaps is so clever in Scotland that they just don’t think it’s happening at that level.”
Organised criminals in Scotland are mixing low tax waste with high tax waste to dispose of it together, allowing them to avoid paying the high costs of £80 per tonne attached to some waste types.
Police within Scotland believe that the organised crime groups involved are likely to pose a wider threat to the public, with their activities extending beyond the illegal disposal of waste.
Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Ruaridh Nicolson said: “They will have firearms, drugs, everything else you can think of. They are about making money, so it’s about the threat, risk and harm to communities.”
Environmental officers are working to identify what draws organised crime groups to the waste industry in particular.