A former council employee is also under investigation and Southwark council began civil proceedings against him this week for potential fraud.
Huge volumes of builders’ rubble have been dumped on areas of Nunhead, Honor Oak and Camberwell Old cemeteries in south London just yards from graves, according to Southwark council chief executive Annie Shepherd.
Tests reveal that the material at two of the cemeteries is contaminated, although it poses no health or environmental risk and no graves have been contaminated.
The fly-tipping came to light in December 2007 when a cemetery manager asked why there were piles of rubble at Honor Oak. An internal investigation revealed that dumping had been going on for some time.
The council informed the Environment Agency and began civil proceedings against waste firm Brixton Tipping Services, based in South London, its owner, and Terry Connor, the council’s former cemeteries superintendent. Mr Connor was initially suspended during the investigation, but has since retired.
“The material appears to have been processed and dumped at our cemeteries as part of alleged criminal activities by individuals intent on avoiding landfill charges and for their personal gain,” said Ms Shepherd. “We are determined that those responsible are dealt with.”
The council has employed a contractor to remove the waste.