Episode 14 Filthy Rotten Scoundrels


Episode 14

Series highlighting the work of environment officers. Liverpool council gets tough on dog owners who fail to clear up. In London, one officer is on a mission to educate residents.


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Transcript


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Welcome to the fight to clean up our streets and make Britain as great as it used to be.

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We've got some beautiful parks, gardens and open spaces

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and it shouldn't be blighted by people who fail to collect their mess.

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Every 30 seconds, someone, somewhere in the UK, illegally dumps rubbish.

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From bags of dog mess to mountains of rubble, it's wrecking the streets where we live.

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On today's programme, can enviro enforcers catch the individuals

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responsible for an outrageous fly-tipping spree?

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It had the longest sentence for an environmental crime, still, in this country's history.

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Liverpool Council gets tough on irresponsible dog owners...

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Mate. Mate. Do us a favour, fella, just stay there for us, OK?

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..and a London borough is plagued with serial fly-tipping.'

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It's amazing, some of the stuff you see here.

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You could create a whole profile for yourself, with false name, identity.

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This is the fight against Britain's Filthy Rotten Scoundrels.

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There are many things that get us British angry,

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but there's one enviro crime that's guaranteed to get our backs up,

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especially if we find it on the bottom of our shoes.

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I stick to this path, it's a little triangle of path,

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because I don't know what I'm going to walk in.

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You see them in the park and they know their dogs are fouling,

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they're standing by them, and they walk away.

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And you end up standing in it, or your dog does.

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I think it's terrible, because there's no need to let your dog do his business wherever he wants.

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In Liverpool, the city council have had enough of this menace.

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A crack squad are on the case of irresponsible dog owners.

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Enviro enforcers Sean Tully and Samik Nureyev start work at 6am

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to catch the culprits in the act.

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At the moment, we're en route to a location at the north end of the city.

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It's an area of high depravation,

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where we have quite a lot of problems with environmental crime.

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Our four-legged friends produce over 1,000 tons of poo each day.

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With residents' complaints hitting an all-time high,

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Liverpool set up its Blitz Team in 2007, to deliver on-the-spot fixed-penalty notices

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and a fine of £50 for enviro crimes like dog fouling and littering.

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Liverpool City Council issue more tickets than any other local authority in the country.

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We're quite hot on the dog-fouling war.

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Their first port of call is Anfield Cemetery because, believe it or not,

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not even a graveyard is sacred to some dog owners.

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To allow your dog to be unleashed in a public cemetery

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and then to allow your dog to, first of all, walk across graves,

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and second, to allow them to faeces on them

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and not collect it, it's appalling. It's disgusting.

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Our intrepid investigators quietly park up

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and keep the early morning dog-walkers under covert surveillance.'

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This gentleman here. Look at his dog.

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The dog appears, at the moment, to be fouling.

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The dog is fouling at the moment. The gentleman has a bag in his hand.

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We'll just see whether or not he appears to have anything in the bag.

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We'll give him the opportunity to walk away

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and then we'll go over and have a look to see if we can see any fresh dog foul and we can link that to him.

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A few minutes later and it's time for the guys to check whether Fido's deposit is in the bag.

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-You all right?

-Yeah.

-We're enforcement officers from Liverpool City Council.

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We just watched you and you came in, your dog's fouled and you've collected it

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and you've got one of the green waste bags provided by the council.

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What a great way to start the day -

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someone who's doing the right thing with their dog mess and not letting it make a mess of Liverpool.

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There may not be many people who want to do Sean's job,

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but he feels strongly about the nuisance that dog fouling causes to us all.

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I'm a fan of the open green spaces we have in this city.

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We've got some beautiful parks, gardens and open spaces

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and I like to get out there and enjoy them and I don't believe it should be blighted

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by people who are failing to collect their mess.

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As they leave the cemetery, en route to the next surveillance spot,

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Sean is musing on the temptations the small minority of irresponsible dog owners sometimes succumb to.

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The general consensus is that they know it should be picked up, they know it's an offence,

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but they'll have the bag with them, they'll have a look round

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and think, "There's no-one here, I'll get away with it, I normally do it", but there's no excuse.

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Not only is it not nice, it's positively dangerous.

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If you come in to close contact with infected animal faeces,

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you could contract toxocariasis, a rare, but dangerous, disease

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that can cause permanent blindness in extreme cases.

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Sean and Samik arrive at a park notorious for its dog fouling

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and, sure enough, it doesn't take long before they've spotted a filthy rotten culprit in the act.

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We've just witnessed a dog fouling just on the piece of land behind us.

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So what we're going to do is, we're just going to drive around the block

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and give the gentleman a couple of minutes to collect the foul.

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This dog just here to our left has also fouled and the owners are completely oblivious.

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He's walking past the dog. So we'll go and engage with this male now, then go and speak to the other male.

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Sean catches the first culprit's owner red-handed and reads him the riot act.

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-Just a quick word. Do you speak English?

-A little.

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A little bit. Basically, your dog, when you came out of that house,

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just across the way on the grass, your dog has fouled.

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The dog has pooed on the grass and you've walked away and you failed to see your dog pooing,

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which is an offence under section three of the Dogs Fouling Of Land Act 1996. OK?

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What I'm required to do is take some details from you to report you for that offence.

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My girlfriend walk to school...

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The dog man's excuse that he's just walking the dog for his girlfriend cuts no ice with Sean.

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You're the one who's in charge of the dog, so you're liable for that dog.

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You should've been observing the dog to see if it did foul.

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I'm required to take some details from you, OK?

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He may be man's best friend, but this dog has just cost his walker a £50 fine.

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Meanwhile, Samik has stopped the other man

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the eagle-eyed doggy-doo enforcer spotted, but he's not being so co-operative.

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Mate. Mate.

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Do us a favour, fella, just stay there for us, OK? Don't go walking off on us.

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My colleague's trying to speak to you. Just give us a minute.

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-Has my colleague advised you what you've been stopped for?

-Yeah. I didn't notice the dog have a

-BLEEP.

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We've stopped you because your dog's fouled on the grass.

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Just give me a second. Your dog's fouled and you've failed to notice it.

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As a responsible dog owner, it's your responsibility to watch your dog at all times.

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If you've not seen him, ignorance is not an excuse.

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Despite the dog owner's protesting, Sean takes down his details

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and he can expect a fixed-penalty fine through the post.

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But the owner's not letting this sleeping dog lie.

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-I don't believe the dog's had a

-BLEEP.

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It's not our job to go out and manufacture these stories and try and create issues.

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All right, cheers, sir. Take care. Bye now.

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Obviously, the gentleman there is not happy with the fact that we've stopped him.

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He's saying he didn't see the dog fouling. That's not an excuse.

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We were both witness to the dog fouling, we watched the dog foul.

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He's failed to do so, so unfortunately he's been caught and will be fined.

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It's been a good morning's work for enviro enforcers Sean and Samik.

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But with one in four UK families owning a dog,

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there will almost certainly be more battles fought in Liverpool City Council's war against dog fouling.

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'The Environment Agency has been called in

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to investigate a multi-million pound fly-tipping operation.

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It appears two men are responsible for dumping

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14,500 tonnes of waste on private land.

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Illegal waste was his game.

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If you can get rid of the excavation waste and demolition waste

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for as little money as possible, you make a great deal of money.

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But will they be able to catch these criminals

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and have them sent to jail?

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Dog poo is not the only unsavoury thing that councils find themselves clearing up.

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If you walk along the streets of Brent in North London,

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you're more than likely to see red stains on the pavements and walls.

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It might look like paint, or even dried blood,

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but this mess is the result of people chewing and spitting out paan,

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a traditional Asian activity, not unlike the Western habit of chewing gum.

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It's a massive issue that neighbourhood coordinator Richard Hayes has to deal with.

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What we have here is a traditional paan,

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which is the green beetle leaf

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which has then had the slaked lime and calcium added to it,

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various herbs and spices and the tobacco, as well.

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And this is something that will be folded into a triangle

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and then placed in the mouth and chewed.

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The tobacco in it means that it can't be swallowed.

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It has to be spat out onto the street.

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And it's the tobacco, combined with something called areca nut,

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which when spat, causes the red stains on the pavements

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and makes them very difficult to remove. It's costing the taxpayer here about £20,000 a year to clean.

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Paan spitting has become such an issue in the borough

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that in December 2009,

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500 people, including community leaders, police officers,

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health experts and business owners, attended a conference

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to work out how best to resolve the problem.

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And that's not surprising, because this mess isn't only an eyesore,

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it's costing the council and therefore the taxpayers in Brent a fortune to clear it up.

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And even then, it doesn't always come off perfectly,

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'something that enviro enforcer Simon Finney from Brent Council knows only too well.

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Marble is quite a porous surface,

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so the red element penetrates quite deeply into the marble.

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It's very difficult to remove. We've got quite a lot of heat coming out of that gun,

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about 160 degrees Celsius,

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as well as about four bar of pressure.

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That replaces the requirement for the use of chemicals.

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Chewing paan is considered by some to be a palate-cleanser, as well as a breath freshener

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and its use dates back hundreds of years.

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It's clear to see where and how people use is nowadays, though.

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What we see typically is, once people have purchased their paan,

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they want to consume it fairly quickly, so the staining gets progressively worse

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as we walk away from the shop. Along the pavements, typical staining.

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When we get to the street furniture, classic example here, the telephone box,

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a particularly nasty stain, where somebody's decided to spit up against it.

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This isn't just something that the council doesn't like the look of.

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Local businesses have had enough of it, too.

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They're pretty much spitting outside my shop and making the High Street look ugly and it is really bad.

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I think it's disgusting because it discolours the High Street. As it builds up,

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it forms a moss on the pavement and it's not washed by the rain.

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So it's permanently on the ground, it is filthy and it is unhygienic.

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There is no reason. They should be found.

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And the more you look, the more you'll find.

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This progresses right along the High Road. Indiscriminate staining.

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We'll get to a tree and, typically, around the base of it,

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somebody will have spat all up against the stump of the tree.

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And where they're a bit more visible, there'll be a little less spitting,

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because they want to do it as surreptitiously as they can.

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So plotting their movements around Wembley isn't particularly difficult, if you just follow the paan trails.

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The council has decided to deal with the problem in two stages.

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So the first thing is to make people aware. One of the things we've got here is one of our banners,

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which makes it fairly obvious that we mean business.

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And we give people a clear indicator, we say, "You could be fined £80."

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So if people are hit in their pockets with a fine, we think that will have an impact on

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whether they choose to spit or not.

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Spitting paan is an issue right across the UK

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and councils are now taking action against the people who do it.

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So, if you're thinking of spitting paan onto a street like this, think again,

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or you could be facing an £80 fine.

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If you don't dispose of your rubbish properly in the London borough of Enfield,

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there's a man who's likely to come knocking on your door...

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enviro enforcer, Jeff Elliott.

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I don't understand why people see rubbish and want to throw it on top. Why not do the responsible thing?

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But you get someone like me who'll come along and we'll give them some bad news.

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Every day, Jeff's hot on the heels of people who are illegally dumping rubbish on his patch.

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One of his big bugbears is when there's been a fly-tip and then people think it's OK

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to chuck their own rubbish on top. It's something that infuriates local residents.

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That rubbish down there has been added to.

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And that's what they do, they keep adding to it.

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That's why it doesn't stop... Fed up with it.

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Today, Jeff's been called out to a fly-tip in an alley

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and he's already alerted the clean-up team to meet him there.

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Here's my fly-tip crew now. Look.

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Let's have a chat with them.

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Jeff's seen this kind of household dumping more times than you've had hot dinners

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and he has a theory about why it accumulates so quickly.

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It's the perfect case of "rubbish attracts rubbish."

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In my opinion, what's happened here is, the bed, the mattresses,

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that was probably done as a job lot, one of the flats has had a clear-out or something.

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What happens is, residents see all this rubbish, walk along with their black sack and think,

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"I'll put it over there with the rest of the rubbish. It'll be collected next week."

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This is an example of what Jeff calls "bagging out" -

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people dumping rubbish on other rubbish near their homes.

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It's illegal and all it does is create more mess around the area.

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It's something that he always investigates.

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If we find any evidence in these black sacks,

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what I'd be inclined to do, if it's local residents, is to serve Section 46 notices,

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because the chances are they're sacked there, they haven't been fly-tipped.

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A Section 46 notice is a written warning given to residents

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who don't dispose of their waste properly.

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If they carry on doing it, they'll get a fine.

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It's down to Enfield's bin man, Paul McDay, to clear up the filthy, rotten scoundrels' mess.'

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Some of the things I find are quite unusual,

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like toilet pans full up, things like that.

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Not very nice stuff. Soiled mattresses, that sort of stuff.

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But the amount of it is just unbelievable.

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Unfortunately, some people just seem to think it's normal.

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I can only presume that they've been brought up to think that's actually OK to do that.

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That rubbish down there has been added to. Somebody just put two chairs down there.

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I overlook some of this rubbish.

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From the kitchen window, you can see all this old rubbish that they keep putting out.

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But they don't see it because they've got the garages in the way.

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But I see it and I get browned off with it. Really fed up.

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This fly-tip is now under control, but Jeff's been called out to another one just a few streets away,

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at the back of a block of flats. It's a mess, but Jeff has an obvious solution to the problem.

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We'll arrange for more bins to go in, so they can put their stuff in them, and once we've done that,

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we can serve Section 46 notices on residents, because there's no excuse then to leave their waste like this.

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It looks horrible here when you come in.

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I get visitors coming here

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and when they come here, they see all this rubbish.

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And it's not just the unsightly nature of the rubbish that's a worry.

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If left, this will cause a vermin public health issue.

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We've started getting rats. You can see already, on the sides of these bags...

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And if left, we're going to have them running all over the place.

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Enviro enforcer Jeff has picked up another urgent case.

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Can he find a lead that will enable him to bring someone to justice?

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This is a property of multiple occupancy,

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so I'm not too sure which person I need to bring in, maybe all of them.

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Could there be more to this case than initially meets the eye?

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I'm sure my council tax team would like to know

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all these different people living here.

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In 2004, a chance sighting led to one of the biggest investigations

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the Environment Agency has ever conducted into illegal fly-tipping.

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What they discovered was so shocking, it resulted in the longest prison sentences

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for environmental crime in Britain to date.

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Enviro enforcer Owen Bolton led the enquiry.

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In May 2004, a team leader returning from work

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saw some tipping going on and reported it.

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That landed in my lap on the following day, so I went out to have a look.

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With no idea of the scale of the operation he was about to uncover,

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Owen staked out the derelict land himself.

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Parked up in his car where he couldn't be spotted,

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he was gobsmacked at what he saw.

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This was fly-tipping on an industrial scale.

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Lorries full to the brim with construction and demolition waste

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were illegally dumping their loads on land they definitely had no permission to be on.

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I thought, this is a bit bigger than your normal tipping,

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because I could see mud on the road, broken-down fences

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and also, the way they turned up, there was a man to receive them.

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I thought, this is a bit bigger than your normal tipping.

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Alarm bells started to ring for Owen,

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so he poked around in some old investigations.

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What he discovered sent a tingle down his spine.

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From this site, I recognised some of the activities going on

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and linked it with another site that I'd been looking at back in February of that year, again in Thurrock.

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Vehicles, names and mobile phone numbers all matched. There was something big going on here

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and what Owen had stumbled across was just the tip of the iceberg.

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He put in a few calls, and as he compared notes with colleagues across the east of England,

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the sheer size of this fly-tipping gang's operations became shockingly clear.

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We were able to link it, in total, to 22 other deposit sites.

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All the details matched. Owen realised that he had accidentally uncovered

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a huge criminal fly-tipping operation.

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The scale was truly jaw-dropping.

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Lorries were illegally dumping thousands of tonnes of construction and demolition waste

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in multiple locations across London and the South East.

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In fact, anywhere this gang could find a spare piece of land,

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they moved in and covered it with rubbish.

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This was the biggest one I'd ever come across,

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the way it unfolded into multiple tipping sites across Essex,

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Kent, South London and North East London.

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The organisation involved was astounding,

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with the ringleaders even having the nerve to make the illegal dumps look like lawful businesses.

0:21:240:21:29

What these guys were doing is, they would find a site up for redevelopment

0:21:290:21:34

and they'd put up their own health and safety signs and their mobile telephone number to contact,

0:21:340:21:39

so it appeared a legitimate operation.

0:21:390:21:41

Often they'd have a man outside with a high-visibility jacket and a broom.

0:21:410:21:46

Nice touch, guys. Who would challenge a bloke with a hardhat, high-vis jacket and a broom?

0:21:460:21:52

But this was just the beginning. These guys had thought of everything.

0:21:520:21:56

It was a very, very organised tipping sequence that involved

0:21:560:22:01

a spotter van driving around first

0:22:010:22:04

to see if there was anybody watching,

0:22:040:22:07

vehicles being led on site

0:22:070:22:09

and about 80 tonnes of waste

0:22:090:22:12

taking about three minutes to tip on site. It was a very organised operation.

0:22:120:22:17

Owen's initial investigation into the fly-tipping gang

0:22:180:22:21

led to the Environment Agency launching a four-week covert operation,

0:22:210:22:25

codenamed Operation Huron.

0:22:250:22:28

Enviro enforcers were detailed to stake out the gang's favourite fly-tipping locations.

0:22:280:22:33

The secret photographic evidence they gathered was astonishing -

0:22:330:22:37

lorry after lorry turning up to site and tipping commercial and demolition waste,

0:22:370:22:42

picked up from all over London and the South East.

0:22:420:22:45

This shows the footage from the motorway surveillance cameras.

0:22:470:22:51

Three lorries come straight in, each loaded with about 18 tonnes of waste.

0:22:510:22:56

But you'll see the man who led them on, he comes along and unhitches the tailgate.

0:22:560:23:01

There's no need, even, for the drivers to get out.

0:23:010:23:04

Many of the sites, council and private land, were entered unlawfully.

0:23:050:23:10

The filthy, rotten scoundrels even went so far as to cut through security chains

0:23:100:23:14

and replace them with their own locks, so that they could keep control of the locations.

0:23:140:23:19

This kind of site, I think, is just opportunist.

0:23:200:23:23

They found an empty site, they tip on it once

0:23:230:23:26

and then just continue tipping, because nobody's said anything.

0:23:260:23:30

This was clearly a very elaborate set up.

0:23:300:23:33

But where were these guys and their vehicles based?

0:23:330:23:36

Coming up on Filthy Rotten Scoundrels,

0:23:360:23:39

the Environment Agency discovers the complexity

0:23:390:23:42

-of this criminal gang's operation.

-Because we'd found the depot,

0:23:420:23:45

we watched them from the depot

0:23:450:23:48

to get an idea about when they were coming in and finishing work,

0:23:480:23:51

when they were starting work in the morning.

0:23:510:23:54

And they discover just how dangerous their business was.

0:23:540:23:57

These vehicles, doing 30 tonnes,

0:23:570:24:01

shuttling up and down the A13 with no brakes.

0:24:010:24:04

Dog poo fouling our streets and parks. It's an unpleasant addition to our neighbourhoods

0:24:050:24:11

and one which enviro enforcers across the UK are trying to stop.

0:24:110:24:14

Liverpool City Council are tackling dog fouling with a dedicated team of enviro enforcers,

0:24:140:24:20

who can issue a fine of £50 for not scooping the poop.'

0:24:200:24:23

Your dog's fouled and you've failed to notice it.

0:24:250:24:27

But in the North London borough of Islington, they've taken the battle to a whole new level.

0:24:330:24:39

Meet the Poover, the Parisian pooper-scooter...

0:24:530:24:58

'..Islington's latest weapon to keep its streets free from dog poop.

0:24:590:25:03

And it does exactly what it says on the tin.

0:25:110:25:14

A quick squirt of disinfectant, turn on the vacuum and it's all gone!

0:25:180:25:22

Va-va-vacuum, as the French would say!

0:25:220:25:25

This Poover is the only one of its kind in the UK

0:25:270:25:31

and it's the pride and joy of enviro enforcer Len Esnard.

0:25:310:25:35

It isn't any more difficult to use than a conventional moped.

0:25:350:25:39

There isn't anything other than the fact that it has a vacuum unit

0:25:390:25:43

and it stores the effluent that you've got.

0:25:430:25:46

Apart from that, everything is the same. If you can go somewhere on a moped, you can go on this.

0:25:460:25:51

From the front on, it is a normal moped. Then, with the conversion, you have an under-seat storage tank

0:25:510:25:59

which lowers the centre of gravity. Within the rear here, you have a small engine,

0:25:590:26:06

which houses the vacuum unit

0:26:060:26:09

and basically sucks all the effluent through this pipe

0:26:090:26:12

and stores it.

0:26:120:26:15

But it can also wash at the same time.

0:26:150:26:18

So it can wash away any residue or marks from the pavement

0:26:180:26:21

and allows you a cleaner pick-up.

0:26:210:26:24

Apart from that, it's just normal from the front end.

0:26:240:26:27

John Sim is the man charged with Poovering up Islington's dog mess.

0:26:270:26:33

The ingenious gadget came into service a year ago

0:26:340:26:37

and since then has hoovered up over 2,000 incidents of dog fouling.

0:26:370:26:43

And it's made the borough's streets a cleaner place to walk.

0:26:430:26:46

You can see a difference. But it would be better if people picked their own dog fouling up.

0:26:460:26:53

But, yeah, it's made a difference. People like it and it's easy, quick.

0:26:530:26:58

The £12,000 Poover has made a big difference to the streets of Islington.

0:27:010:27:07

But do council taxpayers think it's been money well spent?

0:27:100:27:14

99% are happy with it.

0:27:150:27:18

Once they know what it's doing, they are very happy with it.

0:27:180:27:21

You get the odd one that says it's a waste of money,

0:27:210:27:24

"the enforcement officers should be doing their jobs",

0:27:240:27:27

but, obviously, they can't be around all over. But most of the public are happy.

0:27:270:27:32

Right across the UK, dedicated men and women are working hard to make our country a cleaner place to live.

0:27:340:27:40

And, thanks to a little Parisian chic, John and his Poover,

0:27:400:27:44

it's no longer a gamble walking the streets of Islington.

0:27:440:27:48

Fly-tipping is often an opportunistic crime.

0:27:500:27:53

A piece of land becomes derelict or a business closes

0:27:530:27:56

and fly-tippers spot an opportunity to tip, hoping that no-one will take any notice.

0:27:560:28:02

In the Norris Green area of Liverpool,

0:28:020:28:05

it's something the locals have seen happen as soon as businesses close down.

0:28:050:28:10

This is a common occurrence.

0:28:100:28:12

That's only more or less happened since the pub shut, hasn't it?

0:28:130:28:17

Because the pub was quite busy then, people walking up and down.

0:28:170:28:21

but the fact that the pub's shut now

0:28:210:28:24

and they know no-one's here, come down the street.

0:28:240:28:28

What do you do? You come down, but they'd just tell you to eff off, mind your own business and whatever.

0:28:280:28:33

Find out where you live and...

0:28:330:28:36

Fears of reprisals are not the only concern with this pile of waste. It's full of dangerous asbestos.

0:28:380:28:43

Enviro enforcer Will Cherico has been called out to investigate.

0:28:430:28:48

The area we're in now, it's quite residential.

0:28:510:28:54

There's a school nearby. The danger is that kids might play on this,

0:28:540:28:58

they might be standing on it,

0:28:580:29:00

they might crack some of the asbestos and come in contact with it in a way they shouldn't.

0:29:000:29:05

There's a specialist team who deal with hazardous waste

0:29:050:29:09

who are coming this morning to get rid of this asbestos.

0:29:090:29:12

Asbestos was used in buildings until the 1990s.

0:29:120:29:16

If broken and the fibres inhaled, the dust can fatally damage lungs

0:29:160:29:21

and asbestos-related diseases kill over 4,000 people every year.

0:29:210:29:26

A specialist team has arrived to remove it safely.

0:29:260:29:29

Basically, we've got an asbestos sheet,

0:29:330:29:35

looks like it's come off a shed or garage, that's been fly-tipped.

0:29:350:29:40

The council have contacted us to ask us to remove it.

0:29:400:29:43

If you break that, you will get fibres in the air.

0:29:430:29:45

It's got to be stopped, definitely.

0:29:450:29:48

It's a danger to the public.

0:29:490:29:51

It's really important the guys take all the necessary precautions,

0:29:530:29:57

including specialist suits and respirators.

0:29:570:30:00

Obviously, we're standing a distance away,

0:30:000:30:03

so that there's no risk to us,

0:30:030:30:06

just while they're loading it up into the van, in case any of it breaks off

0:30:060:30:11

and the wind might carry some of the fibres over.

0:30:110:30:14

With asbestos, the danger is not what you can see, but what you can't.

0:30:160:30:20

The smaller the fibres, the more you breathe in and the more dangerous it becomes.

0:30:200:30:25

Asbestos is a natural fibre found in the ground,

0:30:260:30:30

used a lot in construction in the '60s. It was eventually outlawed and not allowed to be used.

0:30:300:30:35

When I was younger, we used asbestos in all sorts of things.

0:30:350:30:38

Even at school, we were taught about asbestos. Children are not taught about asbestos nowadays.

0:30:380:30:44

This toxic cargo will be destroyed safely under controlled conditions.

0:30:440:30:50

The asbestos has been cleared up now, but there's a few things left there.

0:30:510:30:55

There's some carpeting. I'll report that now

0:30:550:30:59

and one of our crews will come and take that away.

0:30:590:31:03

The clean-up team have done a great job, but sadly for Will,

0:31:040:31:08

there was no evidence as to who dumped this lethal waste in the first place.

0:31:080:31:12

The case has been closed, but the eagle-eyed locals and enviro enforcers

0:31:120:31:16

continue to keep a watchful eye for any other filthy, rotten scoundrels up to no good.

0:31:160:31:22

Back in Enfield, enviro enforcer Jeff Elliott is hot on the heels of the scoundrels

0:31:260:31:31

who are dumping rubbish on his patch.

0:31:310:31:33

Today he's come down to this alleyway,

0:31:330:31:36

because a woman has been in contact with him about fly-tipping here.

0:31:360:31:39

The lady left a message on my work phone,

0:31:390:31:42

basically saying that she witnessed a car just pull up here and fly-tip some waste there.

0:31:420:31:49

Enfield's clean-up squad has already removed the rubbish,

0:31:500:31:54

but the woman has made Jeff's day.

0:31:540:31:56

She kept back some of the waste as evidence.

0:31:560:31:58

This is the stuff that came out of the fly-tip.

0:32:000:32:04

They've seen a car pull up, it wasn't a van or anything, so it's a resident,

0:32:040:32:08

they pulled up, opened the boot and took out a load of boxes

0:32:080:32:12

and this stuff, correspondence, and they've put it in the bins, which is a fly-tipping offence in itself,

0:32:120:32:18

but it's good that they've taken some of the evidence out.

0:32:180:32:21

Bingo. The package contains loads of unopened post.

0:32:230:32:27

I've got an address here which is the same address as on this packaging here.

0:32:270:32:33

So, let's have a look.

0:32:330:32:35

I'm hoping anything else I find is going to be... Yep! It's exactly...

0:32:350:32:40

We've got the same address, but a different name.

0:32:400:32:45

-This is getting interesting.

-Same address, different name.

0:32:450:32:50

So, this is the same address, different name again.

0:32:520:32:55

This is a property of multiple occupancy.

0:32:550:33:00

So, I'm not too sure which person I need to bring in.

0:33:000:33:06

Maybe all of them. I might need to interview about this fly-tip,

0:33:060:33:10

because it doesn't... Ah, I've got the same person three times here.

0:33:100:33:14

Looking at what I've got here...

0:33:140:33:16

..I'm pretty sure, at the moment, this is the person I need to bring into the office for an interview.

0:33:180:33:23

It seems like Jeff has rung the bell. There's enough evidence here to move his investigation forward,

0:33:240:33:30

but even he is amazed at the kind of information that the perpetrators have left lying around.

0:33:300:33:35

It's amazing, some of the stuff you see here.

0:33:350:33:38

You could create a whole profile for yourself -

0:33:380:33:41

false name, identity, get passports, driving licences.

0:33:410:33:44

It's so sloppy of these people to fly-tip this.

0:33:440:33:48

Sloppy indeed. As there's post for a number of different people,

0:33:480:33:52

-Jeff needs to work out exactly who lives there.

-Ah, another name.

0:33:520:33:55

Amazing. I've got five different names now.

0:33:550:33:58

It looks like there's a selection of letters for previous owners,

0:33:580:34:02

so Jeff needs to check who is registered as the current occupier.

0:34:020:34:06

He's straight on the blower.

0:34:060:34:08

I've just spoken to my council tax team there

0:34:080:34:11

and it appears that they've only got one person living there as a single person's allowance.

0:34:110:34:16

Interesting. For Jeff and his council colleagues,

0:34:160:34:19

it's all about team work.

0:34:190:34:21

My role is just try and find who fly-tipped that, but our departments all work together.

0:34:210:34:26

Jeff's invited the man who lives in the flat to the council headquarters

0:34:290:34:33

cos he wants to speak to him face to face.

0:34:330:34:36

He wants me to explain to him why he's here out in the reception area,

0:34:360:34:41

which I can't do, because I need to talk to him under caution,

0:34:410:34:44

so the sooner I can get him in, the sooner I can explain to him why he's here and it might calm him down.

0:34:440:34:49

So I'm going to invite him in.

0:34:490:34:52

The man declined to be filmed,

0:34:520:34:54

but he did admit the fly-tipping offence.

0:34:540:34:57

I think he felt that it was quite trivial. He never denied it.

0:34:570:35:01

He put his hands up, said, "Yeah, it was me, it was my car,

0:35:010:35:04

"I've just moved into a house, I've been there a week or so." He was having a clear out.

0:35:040:35:09

Quite often, when you do speak to residents

0:35:090:35:14

or persons about fly-tipping,

0:35:140:35:16

they seem to think they can just put their waste round anyone's bin,

0:35:160:35:20

anywhere round the borough, which isn't the case.

0:35:200:35:23

I made it quite clear to him that we do take it very seriously.

0:35:230:35:29

It's something we really need to crack down on.

0:35:290:35:31

I don't believe there will be any further incidents with this person,

0:35:310:35:35

because I think, in today's meeting, we've got our message across.

0:35:350:35:39

We need to get the message out there that we do not tolerate fly-tipping anywhere is the borough.

0:35:390:35:44

Back in Thurrock, enviro enforcer Owen Bolton was investigating

0:35:460:35:49

a massive illegal fly-tipping operation, covering London and the South East.

0:35:490:35:54

At this stage in the investigation, he had no idea where the gang were based.

0:35:540:35:59

But he and his team were about to uncover the sheer size of this criminal gang's operation,

0:35:590:36:04

as phase two of their investigation kicked in.

0:36:040:36:07

Owen arranged an elaborate surveillance sting,

0:36:100:36:13

to secretly follow the lorry's movements.

0:36:130:36:16

We got together a team of people in cars to follow these vehicles,

0:36:160:36:20

to find out where their operating base was.

0:36:200:36:23

It turned out the gang had their own haulage depot and garage in Essex.

0:36:240:36:29

These criminals treated their illegal activities just like any other nine-to-five job.

0:36:290:36:34

They had a base, a fleet of lorries and a nice little cosy tea hut!

0:36:340:36:39

Because we'd found their depot, we watched them from their depot,

0:36:390:36:42

to get an idea about when they were coming in and finishing work,

0:36:420:36:46

when they were starting work in the morning.

0:36:460:36:48

We tailed them in the morning to watch them tip and then returned in the evening.

0:36:480:36:52

Owen and his team had seen enough.

0:36:520:36:55

Their few weeks of surveillance, together with other intelligence,

0:36:550:36:59

linked them to a staggering amount of illegal dumping.

0:36:590:37:01

Wait for it. The Environment Agency calculated

0:37:010:37:04

these men could be responsible for an eye-watering 14,500 tonnes of waste -

0:37:040:37:11

the equivalent to 750 lorry loads, on at least 15 different sites in London and the South East.

0:37:110:37:18

It was time to put an end to their filthy habit.

0:37:180:37:22

Owen co-ordinated a massive raid on the depot.

0:37:270:37:31

Environment Agency officers and the police turned out in force,

0:37:310:37:35

as there was no guarantee this wouldn't turn nasty.

0:37:350:37:38

We set up a site entry onto the site,

0:37:410:37:46

we got warrants to seize the four vehicles.

0:37:460:37:49

There's three that you can see on the footage here.

0:37:490:37:52

There was another vehicle involved earlier on.

0:37:520:37:56

We had the warrants to seize the vehicles and went in with the police.

0:37:560:37:59

The enviro enforcers' timing couldn't have been better.

0:38:010:38:04

Inside the garage, they found resprayed lorries and new spotter vans.

0:38:040:38:09

These tricky operators were just about to change their whole fleet, to avoid detection.

0:38:090:38:14

And that wasn't all. The lorries might have had a nice new paint job,

0:38:140:38:18

but their roadworthiness left a lot to be desired.

0:38:180:38:21

Many of them had multiple mechanical problems, including dodgy headlights

0:38:210:38:25

and, most frighteningly, faulty brakes.

0:38:250:38:29

These vehicles, doing 30 tonnes,

0:38:290:38:31

shuttling up and down the A13 with no brakes.

0:38:310:38:34

That's some of the other things these guys don't do, vehicle maintenance.

0:38:340:38:38

You can see here, it's a real problem. They just cut corners everywhere.

0:38:380:38:42

Owen and his team burned the midnight oil pouring over the piles of dodgy paperwork

0:38:420:38:47

recovered from the filthy, rotten scoundrels' headquarters.

0:38:470:38:51

And in doing so, three names kept popping up...

0:38:510:38:53

Mick Ryan, Patrick Anderson

0:38:540:38:58

and James Kelleher.

0:38:580:39:01

Anderson and Kelleher were the ringleaders of the fly-tipping gang,

0:39:010:39:05

but there was no sign of Ryan.

0:39:050:39:07

After extensive investigation, including the use of handwriting experts,

0:39:070:39:12

the environment agency proved that Michael Ryan didn't exist.

0:39:120:39:16

Money paid into the accounts created in his name

0:39:160:39:19

was paid out to Kelleher and Anderson.

0:39:190:39:21

The gang had set up bank accounts using this assumed name,

0:39:210:39:25

through which they laundered money and registered vehicles and mobile phones.

0:39:250:39:29

James Kelleher had been masquerading, effectively, as Mick Ryan.

0:39:310:39:37

He'd been writing DVLA documents in the name of Mick Ryan,

0:39:370:39:41

to register lorries, as had Mr Anderson.

0:39:410:39:45

The Anglian and Thames region environmental crime teams

0:39:460:39:50

had used the most up-to-date techniques to piece together the jigsaw -

0:39:500:39:54

surveillance, forensic, handwriting analysis and crime mapping.

0:39:540:39:59

But the gang had one more trick up their sleeve.

0:39:590:40:02

As the net closed in, Anderson made a bid for freedom and fled the country.

0:40:020:40:06

Environment Agency lawyer Angus Iness takes up the story.

0:40:070:40:11

After he was requested to attend for interview, he was living in a house in South East London,

0:40:110:40:18

and had been for years, but after he was requested to attend an interview,

0:40:180:40:23

in respect of this and the crimes involved in this case,

0:40:230:40:27

the house was sold and he disappeared back to the Republic of Ireland.

0:40:270:40:32

If Anderson thought he had got away with it, he was sorely mistaken.

0:40:330:40:37

The Environment Agency was not deterred. They used their first-ever European arrest warrant,

0:40:370:40:42

to bring him back from Ireland to stand trial.

0:40:420:40:45

He and Kelleher pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to unlawfully deposit controlled waste on land -

0:40:450:40:52

fly-tipping, to you and me.

0:40:520:40:55

The conspiracy charges were also a first for the Environment Agency

0:40:550:40:59

and highlighted the fact that the defendants had gone to great lengths to conceal their crimes.

0:40:590:41:05

The court proceedings were led by the EA's national legal team,

0:41:050:41:09

through the assistant to the chief EA prosecutor. The judge threw the book at them.

0:41:090:41:13

Mr Anderson was given 22 months in prison

0:41:160:41:18

and Mr Kelleher was given 14 months in prison.

0:41:180:41:21

Anderson had been convicted a number of times, over a period of 15 to 20 years.

0:41:270:41:31

Illegal waste was his game and since these two were convicted,

0:41:310:41:35

the amount of serious large-scale commercial and demolition waste dumping in North and East London

0:41:350:41:42

severely dropped. Severely dropped.

0:41:420:41:44

Investigations revealed that Anderson and Kelleher

0:41:470:41:50

had made a shocking amount of money from their activities.

0:41:500:41:53

I think, at the time, they'd be charging probably about £150 a load,

0:41:540:41:59

which was just short of what it should have been, about £180 a load.

0:41:590:42:05

We were able to show, overall, from their account book,

0:42:050:42:09

that about £1.3m

0:42:090:42:14

had been paid to them over about 15 months.

0:42:140:42:18

There's massive money in this business. There's a massive amount of construction in London.

0:42:180:42:23

If you can get rid of the excavation waste and demolition waste

0:42:230:42:27

for as little money as possible, you make a great deal of money.

0:42:270:42:31

Despite this, solicitor Angus Iness has no doubt that, in the long run,

0:42:320:42:36

crime certainly doesn't pay.

0:42:360:42:39

This is as serious as you can think. It involved deliberate criminality,

0:42:390:42:45

highly-organised criminality,

0:42:450:42:47

false identities, over a period of time.

0:42:470:42:51

This is as serious as waste cases get

0:42:510:42:52

and they sustained even a 14-month sentence for a first offender.

0:42:520:42:56

Join us next time, when we'll be hot on the heels of more Filthy Rotten Scoundrels.

0:42:560:43:01

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:180:43:21

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:210:43:24

Series that goes undercover to investigate the criminals who dump hundreds of thousands of tons of rubbish on the streets. More than 3,000 fly-tipping incidents happen each day, costing taxpayers 55 million pounds a year to clear up. The programme, voiced by Dominic Littlewood, joins the Environment Agency and councils across the UK as they use sting operations and 24-hour surveillance.

Two men made 1.3million pounds by dumping 14,500 tons of waste across London and south-east England, but the Environment Agency gathered sufficient evidence to convict them.

Liverpool council gets tough on dog owners who fail to clear up after their pooches. In North London one investigator is on a mission to make sure residents dispose of their rubbish responsibly.


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