This shocking illegal fly-tip site near Havant is the area's '˜worst ever'
A shocking 100m by 100m tip has been discoveredÂ near woodland on the outskirts of Havant, prompting a criminal investigation by the Environment Agency.
The sickening site contains thousands of pieces of rubbish and has been labelled an '˜environmental hazard' by investigators.
They are now on a quest to track those responsible, with sources from the Environment Agency convinced '˜more than one' commercial operator has been dumping waste at the site illegally.
Nigel Oliver, criminal investigator at the Environment Agency, vowed those responsible would be caught.
In an exclusive interview with The News, he said: '˜The size and scale of this operation has shocked me.Â I've never seen anything like this locally '“Â itÂ is one of the biggest I have seen in this area.
'˜This isÂ commercial criminality on an industrial scale.Â It is hugely damaging and isÂ going to cost tens of thousands of pounds to clean this up.
'˜It will damage the ground for many years to come.
'˜We're determined to catch the people responsible for this so they face their day in court.'
The site, which is located close to the A3(M) between Portsmouth and Havant, was first unearthed on September 18 after a large '˜toxic' fire erupted at the site.
Firefighters from Havant and Waterlooville attended the blaze, battling for more than an hour to get it under control.Â
It was then they alerted the Environment Agency, whose officers have been combing the tip for clues ever since.
Mr Oliver believes at least three commercial firms have been involved in the illegal operation, dumping anything from 40 to 50 tip loads over the past couple of months.
He added firms have been touting for business as reputable organisations from unsuspecting members of the public.
'˜The people I have spoken to feel horrified by what's happened,' he added. '˜They were led to believe their waste would be disposed of legally.
'˜Firms even included costs of how much they were 'paying' in fees at a tip.'
Councillor Michael Wilson, leader of Havant Borough Council, has been horrified by the news and is urging the public to be cautious of firms they use to take away their household waste.
'˜This is an appalling incident and is terrible for the landowner who will now pick up the costs to clear this away.
'˜Fly-tipping is a menace and we will do everything in our power prevent it. I would now ask people to keep their eyes open and to report any suspicious activity,' he said.
The Environment Agency requested The News did not reveal the exact location ofÂ the tip.
Those who can help with the investigation should call 0208 4745923.