Authorities in Australia have warned land and property owners about illegal actions of scammers in which thousands of end-of-life tires were illegally dumped at leased properties, leaving one victim with a huge clean-up bill.

ABC News reports that the scam involves offenders approaching businesses which have stockpiles of end-of-life tires and offering to dispose of them at far cheaper rates than legitimate tire recyclers. They then dump the scrap tires at properties they have leased, such as storage lockers, vacant land lots and backyards of rented homes.

In one instance, piles of tires were left at a property in Wungong, in Perth's south-east, leaving the owner with a $100,000 clean-up bill.

Matt Warnock, senior manager of water operations at the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, said landlords and property owners were at major risk of being left having to foot the clean-up costs.


Photo by Department Of Water And Environmental Regulation of Australia (DWER).

"If a property is abandoned with waste as in this case, used tires, then it's a problem of removing and legally disposing that waste rests with that property owner," he said.

"Up until recent times, this was quite an unusual event. However, in the course of this investigation, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation has identified at least 10 places across Perth that have been used in this way.

"In terms of scale, I believe we're talking in the order of hundreds of thousands of tires … certainly in Western Australia, this is the largest operation of this type that my investigators have come across … so far this is the most bold operation I've seen in this state."

Businesses recommended to scrutinize tire collection contractors

ABC News reports that Mr. Warnock recommends businesses to ensure they are doing their due diligence.

"Businesses disposing of used tires have a legal responsibility to ensure that any contractor who transports their used tires is licensed to do so," he said.

The department also warned of serious environmental risks if the tires caught fire or were deliberately lit.

"Extinguishing tire fire is dangerous and very problematic, it's a high-risk event for any firefighter and very difficult to contain," Mr. Warnock warned.

He said tires could also collect rainwater, creating breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The unauthorized transport of a controlled waste and abandonment of waste are offences which carry a maximum penalty of $62,500 for an individual and $125,000 for corporations.

Article by ABC News Australia.