Did you hear the one about the company that was fined £225,000 for failing to register under the Packaging Waste Directive? Or the one about the company charged £80,000 for running a waste business without the appropriate permit? This is no laughing matter. Ten years ago the European Commission positioned itself as an enforcer of environmental laws rather than simply as a legislator. Since then regulatory authorities in the UK have been given increasing powers to prosecute wrongdoers. The power to investigate and penalize has seeped into local authorities and government agencies. It is no longer the sole preserve of the police to interview and charge someone whom they suspect has committed a criminal offence. Nowadays, powers once administered by the police may equally be utilized by your local health and safety officer.