A large scale illegal tyre processing facility was stopped by the Environment Agency as part of a crackdown on waste crime.
The tyre processing site at Heysham which had 20,000 tyres disposed of illegally, was next to a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The Environment Agency had prosecuted the operator a number of times over eight years, which had resulted in a fine on each occasion.
A spokesperson for The Environment Agency said: “Our intelligence suggested he was boasting locally that nobody could stop him from operating illegally - he appeared to accept the fines as parts of the cost of running his business.
“It was clear that we needed to take a different enforcement approach.
“We contacted major producers of waste tyres in the local area and told them that their waste was being disposed of illegally.
This significantly reduced the number of tyres arriving at the site and demonstrates how education can be a highly effective form of crime prevention.
“We also maintained a regular visible presence to send a clear message to the operator that we were serious about stopping his illegal activities.
“The operator finally decided that he would like to run a legitimate business from the site, so in early 2013 he cleared the site of its 20,000 tyres, which were a serious fire hazard.
“The operator improved the site by providing an impermeable surface, and registered an exemption to store a much smaller quality of tyres.
“However, we recognised the potential for the operator to slip into old habits, so made frequent inspections.
“Whilst we found some early problems, our approach brought the site back into compliance.”
The Environment Agency stopped nearly 220 illegal waste sites across the North West between 2012 and 2013, including 31 in Lancashire, a newly-published waste crime report has revealed.
Reflecting on the figures, North West Environment Manager Steve Molyneux said: “These recently released figures shine a spotlight on the good progress we have made cracking down on waste crime, which blights communities and our environment.
“Those operating illegally undermine investment in legitimate business across the North West and where we find it we will not hesitate to take action and tough sanctions can be expected.”
People can report waste illegal operations to the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.