Northern Ireland's Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, revoked a business' waste licence and closed a "major waste plant" on Wednesday in connection with the illegal disposal of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste outside Derry, according to a statement by Northern Ireland's Department of the Environment. Calling the scale of the unlawful waste activities "immense and appalling", the environment minister said the case involved organised crime and that the perpetrators had acted to conceal the origin of the waste by shredding it and had hidden the illegal tips with soil and clay to prevent detection. The dumping was thought to extend back to at least 2009.
Wednesday's action was the result of "Operation Sycamore", which was launched following intelligence reports last year. To date, there have been two arrests resulting from the investigation, with further arrests expected, said the Department of Environment.