The Environment Agency's Environmental Crime Team enlisted the help of Norfolk Police to arrest and detain a Norfolk man believed to be operating an illegal waste transfer station in King's Lynn.
The man's wife was also interviewed under caution for her involvement.
The Environment Agency suspected the man of bringing skip waste back to land at his home which does not have a permit or the right facilities to protect the environment.
Specialist covert surveillance officers gained evidence of waste being regularly tipped and burnt at the property.
The operation took place last month and was just the beginning of a crack-down on such illegal operations in the King's Lynn area.
If convicted of operating an illegal waste site, the maximum penalties at Magistrates court are 12 months imprisonment and/or a £50,000 fine. If a case reaches the Crown court illegal waste operators can face a maximum of five years in prison and / or an unlimited fine.
The Environment Agency hope that this will send a strong message to others involved in waste crime.
Environmental Crime Officer Sarah Melvin said:
"We use an intelligence led approach and at the moment this means we're focussing on the problem of illegal skip operations in the King's Lynn area."
"These are serious crimes that undermine legal businesses, cause damage to our environment and potentially endanger people's health. We have the expertise and legal powers to tackle environmental crime, offenders should be aware that they can't continue to break the law without there being consequences."
Illegal waste sites can pose a real threat to the environment, contaminating land and rivers with oil and toxic chemicals. They can also pose a risk to human health and blight communities, threatening air quality with toxic fumes from illegally burnt materials and by causing noise and odour problems from operations near homes and schools.
Anyone who knows of any unauthorised waste activities should call the Environment Agency 24hr incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60, you don't have to leave your name or number but it's helpful if you can.