Environment Agency officers visited more than 60 sites across East Anglia and the South East as part of Operation Rooster, a crack down on waste crime, which will continue over the coming months.
Visits were made to sites that are known to be, or suspected of, operating illegally.
Environment Agency Officer, Phil Henderson said: “Waste crime is a problem across the South East of England and we are joining forces with colleagues to focus our efforts on targeting and stopping these illegal operations before they become entrenched.
“Our actions are intelligence-led and a number of sites we visited were in direct response to reports from concerned members of the public or legitimate operators. Many of these are criminal operations, motivated by large profits and with complete disregard for our environment and communities”.
Illegal waste operators commit crimes by deliberately flouting the law. Those operating waste sites must have the correct environmental permits in place to ensure the environment is protected.
The Environment Agency is taking tough action to either bring operators of illegal waste sites into regulation or to take enforcement action to stop illegal activity.
Illegal waste sites can pose a real threat to the environment, contaminating land and rivers with oil and toxic chemicals. They can also pose a risk to human health and blight communities, threatening air quality with noxious fumes from illegally burnt waste materials and causing noise and odour problems.
Illegal waste operators also undermine the work of legitimate waste companies creating an unfair playing field for business.
The Environment Agency brought 152 prosecutions for illegal waste activities by businesses and individuals in England in 2014-15, with fines totalling £660,000. Illegal activities were stopped at 871 sites in England in 2014.
To report suspected waste crime call anonymously on Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.