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Case dropped against man who ‘stole’ free newspapers

By 27/06/2018News

A man accused of stealing a van load of free newspapers from Waterloo Station for resale onto recycling firms has had the case against him withdrawn.

The case against Jamie Castillo was dropped last week because prosecutors are uncertain that what he is accused of is a crime.

Jamie Castillo was accused of stealing free newspapers from Waterloo Station

Westminster magistrates heard a prosecution claim that South American gangs are helping themselves to large piles of the London Evening Standard – which are free for commuters at rail stations – and selling them for up to £90 a tonne.

Mr Castillo of West Norwood, South London, was accused of stealing copies from Waterloo Station in March. But the case was withdrawn because prosecutors were not certain of what he was accused of is a crime.

Legal advice

Prosecutor Jonathon Bryan said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will seek further legal advice on whether a free item can be stolen.

This week a spokesman for the CPS told it is still considering its next steps so cannot comment in detail at this stage

Deposit scheme

The incident has brought to light similar concerns about which have been raised about a deposit return scheme, which looks set to enter force in the UK in the foreseeable future.

Previously, some in the waste and recycling sector have warned that a DRS – which sees the public paying a small deposit on cups or bottles – could provide a platform for waste crime. And, it is thought that a DRS could lead to similar ambiguity over who the materials belong to.

In the late 1990s, there were reports of thefts of used newspapers from kerbside collections when the value of the material was at a very high level and the Environment Agency looked at the concerns raised by the ‘thefts’ but no action was taken.


When contacted by about the Waterloo ‘thefts’, legal expert Angus Evers, from UKELA – the UK Environmental Law Association – and partner and head of environment at Shoosmiths LLP said the case was “interesting legally”.

Mr Evers said it was unclear who the materials belong to, and “where do you draw the line?” he added.

In terms of the potential for crime with a DRS, he said that “concerns have been raised”.

He said that if the cost of deposit is lower than the cost of production, and “if there is a market for something people will try to take advantage of that”.

Earlier this year, the Government confirmed that some form of DRS for single use drinks containers will be introduced, which could cover plastic and glass bottles, as well as cans (see story).

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