Eight men and three companies have been ordered to pay over £220,000 for the part they played in the biggest criminal network to be uncovered and prosecuted by the Environment Agency for attempting to export broken electronics from the UK.
Hazardous televisions, fridges - some containing ozone depleting substances - and old computers were among the 450 tonnes of electronics illegally exported to Nigeria, Ghana and Pakistan, while the gang pocketed money by claiming to be reusing the waste legally and safely.
The sentencing of three men at Basildon Crown Court this week is the second part of the most complex legal action ever taken by the Environment Agency. The three defendants were yesterday ordered to pay a total of £142,145 in fines, costs and confiscations.
Another two defendants are still to face sentencing and a third is still at large.
National Environmental Crime Team officers began a complex two-year investigation - code named Operation Boron - in 2008. The Environment Agency worked closely with HMRC, police, Nigerian and Belgian authorities following intelligence reports of illegal waste being sent overseas.
As investigators closed the net, a dozen 40-foot containers of hazardous electrical waste destined for Nigeria were stopped. Eight of the containers were intercepted by the Environment Agency at Felixstowe and Tilbury while four were repatriated from Belgium.