Jail time for WEEE exporter

Posted on 28th August, 2014

A man accused of illegally exporting waste electrical goods to Western Africa has been sentenced to 16 months in jail by Snaresbrook Crown Court.


Joe Benson, 54, of Loughton, Essex was sentenced for exporting 46 tonnes of hazardous waste to Nigeria, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo between September 2012 and April 2013.

The court heard that he had continued to export the material despite having already been convicted of a similar charge 18 months earlier, a conviction he had unsuccessfully sought to appeal.

Broken cathode ray tube televisions and fridge freezers had been found in four containers intercepted at ports by Environment Agency investigators.

Under the terms of the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 electronic goods can be exported for resale where there is a legitimate market for used goods and where they have been subject to rigorous testing. However, it is illegal to send unusable electronic waste from the UK to developing countries where it could be dumped  and burnt to extract precious metals, posing serious risks to people’s health and damage to the environment.