A MAN has been arrested after huge piles of shredded waste were dumped illegally in Hampshire villages.

Police and the Environment Agency are investigating a spate of 35 incidents, some of which involved up to 100 tonnes of material being deposited in one go.

Communities hit by the fly-tipping include Upton Grey, near Basingstoke, Long Sutton, near Odiham, and Shalden in East Hampshire.

A Environment Agency spokesman said a 44-year-old man from Maidenhead, Berkshire, had been detained in connection with the incidents, which had also affected villages in Buckinghamshire, Kent and Surrey.

He added: "The arrest is part of an ongoing investigation involving the Environment Agency, the Metropolitan Police and Thames Valley and Surrey forces.

"A tipper lorry and van believed to be involved in the illegal activity were seized as part of the operation."

Emma Viner, area enforcement manager for the Environment Agency, added: "We are pleased an arrest has been made in connection with suspected large-scale illegal dumping across four counties and west London.

“Waste criminals put both the environment and local communities at risk with their reckless actions. The Environment Agency is determined to bring culprits to justice.

“We encourage anyone with information on these incidents to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”