Brazil illegal waste duo will not go to jail
A FATHER and son who ran two Swindon-based firms involved in exporting tonnes of illegal waste from Britain to Brazil walked free from London’s Old Bailey yesterday.
The then-president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, complained to the UK Government in 2009 after 1,500 tonnes of contaminated household waste was discovered on a quayside.
The 89 containers marked “mixed plastics” and worth £60,000 were seized after it was discovered they contained contaminated items such as nappies, needles and medical equipment.
The Old Bailey was told the items had come from local authority care homes in 70 council areas and sold for disposal. They were shipped to Brazil by three companies to avoid the expense of cleaning and sorting them in this country.
Julio Da Costa, 52, of Salisbury Street, and Juliano Da Costa, 28, of Morley Street, Swindon, pleaded guilty to transporting the material against Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development regulations.
They ran two Swindon-based companies now in liquidation called Worldwide Biorecyclables, at South Marston Business Park, and UK Multiplas, in Rodbourne, and arranged the shipments in 2008 and 2009 of 89 containers.
Edwards Waste Paper director Simon Edwards, 47, and former sales manager Jonathan Coombe, 42, also admitted responsibility for containers loaded at their site in Barking, east London.
Following the protest from Brazil under the United Nations Basel Convention in 2009, the waste was shipped back to Felixstowe Docks and dealt with by the Environment Agency at a cost of more than £1m.
Judge Richard Hone said: “It was a significant and serious matter.”
Julio Da Costa was given a two-year conditional discharge and his son was given an 18-month conditional discharge. They were each ordered to pay £500 costs.
He fined Edwards Waste Paper £45,000 and ordered it to pay £40,000 costs. Simon Edwards was fined £10,000 with £10,000 costs.
Coombe, who is now unemployed, was given a two-year conditional discharge with £250 costs.
Andy Higham, head of the EA’s national crime team, said: “I hope this matter sends out a signal to the rest of the industry.
“Illegal waste exports undermine law-abiding recycling businesses back home.”
Speaking to the Adver in 2010, Julio Da Costa said he believed the waste was planted by a third party.
He said: “The waste is always checked by the Brazilian environment agency when it first arrives and there were no problems with the containers. The waste was then driven 1,000 miles from the south to Sao Paolo in open lorries.”
He said it was about six weeks later that they were told the waste was allegedly contaminated.