The Environment Agency is leading a clampdown on traders who have been illegally selling vehicle parts, such as stolen catalytic converters, on eBay.
The government body has teamed up with online marketplace eBay in a bid to prevent criminals benefitting from illegally sourced goods.
The crackdown is also targeting dealers selling products without the correct permits.
A total of 10 traders suspected of selling without the correct documents have already been suspended by eBay, as a result of the action.
Over half of those sellers then applied for the correct permits.
The news comes as thefts of Catalytic converters continue to rise, largely due to the fact they are made of valuable metals.
The Vehicle Recyclers’ Association (VRA) recently reported ‘hotpots’ of illegal sellers in Yorkshire, the West Midlands and Lancashire.
Staff at eBay are now working to contact around 20,000 active sellers, encouraging them to trade legally.
The platform also now requires traders to display Environment Agency permit numbers when listing second-hand car parts.
If they are unable to supply a permit, then traders are blocked until they can.
Malcolm Lythgo, the Environment Agency’s head of waste regulation, said: ‘Hazardous components such as engine oil, coolant and batteries can contaminate plants, animals, soil and groundwater – even entering drinking water and risking human health – if not disposed of correctly.
‘This is why it is so important for car breakers and parts dealers to operate within the law.
‘We want to work constructively with businesses so they can trade compliantly, but it’s also important to stress that sellers who continue to operate illegally will be reported to the police and HMRC, and that we will carry out our own on-site enforcement action.’
Charles Ambrose, VRA secretary, said: ‘This joint initiative to disrupt the waste criminals’ profitable activities is an excellent example of what can be achieved.
‘Preliminary results have been extremely encouraging and we hope that the recent pilot exercise can be extended into an ongoing sustainable and effective disruption programme.’
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