A GANG of waste dumpers turned Lea Quarry nature reserve near Denham – part of the Colne Valley Regional Park – into a dumping ground.

They deposited 21 separate loads of commercial waste in three days – but left a vital clue that allowed them to be tracked down.

Sifting through one of the loads of waste, investigators from Buckinghamshire County Council found evidence that led them to an address in West Ealing.

Building work had recently been carried out there and investigators were informed that Noel Mooney, of Coldershaw Road, Hanwell, had been the contractor.

Mooney admitted to paying a man he knew only as Chris £200 in cash to take the load away.

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He made no checks to see if the individual was a registered waste carrier and did not get any written evidence of the transaction.

On September 2, Mooney pleaded guilty at High Wycombe Magistrates Court to failing to ensure waste was disposed of properly.

Magistrates fined him £733, with costs totalling £1,562. A victim surcharge of £73 took the total to £2,368.

Bill Chapple, of Bucks County Council, said: "The mass dumping in this nature reserve was the work of organised waste criminals.

“But the reason criminals carry on this activity is because people such as this builder pay them cash and turn a blind eye.”