Episode 10 Filthy Rotten Scoundrels


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Episode 10

Series investigating Britain's waste dumpers. An undercover investigation catches a man running an illegal car scrapyard in Wales, and an asbestos dump is discovered in Doncaster.


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Every day, a never-ending war is being waged across Britain

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to clean up our towns and countryside.

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It's where I walk and where I live. I don't want it to look a mess.

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The people who's doing this should definitely be heavily-fined.

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From the tonnes of cigarette butts, dogs' mess and household rubbish

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to tyres and skip-loads of builders' waste...

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Clearing this is a really big job.

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When I see people fly-tipping or littering, throwing a crisp packet on the floor,

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it makes me angry they have so little respect.

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..we're on the front line of the clear up and the fight back

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with dedicated teams tracking down the rogues and putting the "Great" back into Britain.

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It may harm your defence if you fail to mention when questioned...

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On today's programme, a dump of lethal asbestos spells danger

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for our environmental crusaders.

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They've been totally thoughtless. They couldn't care for anybody else.

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Nobody wants to get asbestos on their lungs, do they?

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And performing for the cameras. One man's brazen attempt

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to get rid of an entire caravan.

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He dismantled the caravan, piled it up and set fire to it!

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Welcome to the dirty world of Filthy Rotten Scoundrels.

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First, how many instances of fly-tipping do you think there were

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in one year in Middlesbrough? 100?

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1,000?

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2,000?

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Now, wait for it. There were, in fact,

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3,000 instances of fly-tipping.

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And the cost of clearing it all up will make your eyes water.

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225 grand.

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That's the average price of a house in the UK.

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And the locals are up in arms.

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I think it's disgusting. Anybody that leaves that kind of mess

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wants shooting.

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Shooting? I think that might be a bit harsh, old chap.

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But it does go to show just how much this kind of thing annoys people.

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Why do we have to look at other people's mess?

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It's a big problem. And now, environmental officers are hot on the heels

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of the scoundrels who are ruining the neighbourhood.

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To ensure they catch the crooks red-handed,

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Middlesbrough Council have provided their officers with cameras

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as a way of gathering evidence in all environmental cases.

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Enforcement Officer Lee Hooker is equipped with a small camera attached to his head.

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Amazing!

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The head camera is of invaluable use to me

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because it records exactly what's at the scene.

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It does mean that in general people can't make untrue accusations

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or mistaken truths. It's a brilliant bit of equipment.

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Middlesbrough Council is known for embracing all sorts of high-tech equipment

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to guarantee they're one step ahead of the criminals.

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They've even installed talking CCTV cameras in the town centre

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that tell people off if they're caught doing something they shouldn't.

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To the young lad, would you mind picking the balloon up that you've just thrown away?

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Now, that's what I call being on top of their game.

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Lee's on his way to investigate his first case of the day.

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A local resident has reported that a builder is dumping all sorts of building materials

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in an alleyway that backs onto their house.

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It's blocking all access to the dustbins so the residents can't throw their rubbish away properly.

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And the bin men can't get in either to clear anything up.

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Sounds right up Lee's street.

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He's on a personal crusade to clear up Middlesbrough,

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a town that's very close to his heart.

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I am proud of what I do

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because I do try to make an improvement for people I come across.

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They more or less want me to help them, so I'm happy to help.

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I'm a local lad, a Teessider,

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so I enjoy the work here.

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Lee puts on his camera and makes his way to the back alley

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where the rubbish is reported to be.

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He started using the head-cam in 2010, after hearing how successfully the police had used them.

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One type of bin. Waste to the side.

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Things aren't looking too bad so far.

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But hang on. Take a look round this corner and there we have it.

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The dump.

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Right, so what have we got here?

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For starters, a lot of building rubbish. Cardboard, wood trim, polystyrene.

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-A television.

-Plastic bags full of rubbish.

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-Dog fouling.

-And some dog poo. Thanks for that, Lee!

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The whole thing is absolutely disgusting. Who wants to open their back door onto this?

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Most of the rubbish is outside one house

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which clearly has building work going on.

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Lee knocks on the door. The owner answers, but doesn't want to be on camera.

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Hello, sir.

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I work for Middlesbrough council. Because an offence may have been committed, I'll caution you.

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You don't have to say anything,

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but it may harm your defence if you fail to mention something you later rely on in court.

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Lee obviously takes his job very seriously.

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Something you do say may be given in evidence.

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The owner calls his builder who is working on another property round the corner.

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While they wait, Lee's camera is rolling.

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Hello. Hiya. My name's Lee Hooker. I work for the Environmental Crime Unit.

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The builder protests that some of the rubbish belongs to local residents and is not his.

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Well, that's because they can't get to their bins, if you don't mind me saying.

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But here's the beauty of Lee's camera.

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While he was waiting for the builder to arrive,

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the homeowner willingly admitted the building waste has come from his house

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and has been put there by his builder.

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Lee has the whole thing on film.

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Explain to me in detail why it's here.

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That waste is not ours. The only waste is this one.

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Who gave you authority to deposit rubbish here?

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All week, every week, we put separate stuff here and we take it every weekend.

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We take them away. Now, these people have been dumping here. That's not ours. It's household rubbish.

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-Not all of this is mine.

-I'll stop you there.

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Instead of clearing up as he goes along, this cheeky builder is leaving his rubbish here

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then at weekends transporting it to a skip outside another of his properties a street away.

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Not good enough.

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-When did this rubbish begin to be deposited?

-On the weekend I took it out.

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On Tuesday this pile...

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Lee wants answers, but even he doesn't want this many!

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-At the weekend, I took so much away from here.

-It's unacceptable and it's unsightly.

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The bin men couldn't do their job to remove the domestic waste

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because of rubbish from your household.

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It's not ours. That's the problem. I get the blame.

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I don't understand how a householder could come out of their back yard

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and think, "I'm going to pop my refuse sack in the communal bins"

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when there's a load of wood, uPVC, cardboard trim,

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flatboard and household items blocking their way.

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On top of everything, this is now turning into a health hazard.

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The accumulation of household waste can cause all sorts of problems,

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most worryingly vermin.

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Families with children live on this street. Nobody wants rats on their doorstep.

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-How soon can this be cleaned?

-I can clean it by tonight.

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-Excellent.

-It's no problem.

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So the clean-up's agreed. But will the builder be as good as his word?

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We'll be back with Lee later, when he returns for inspection.

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It's a risk to public health.

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The hills and valleys of the wonderful Welsh countryside.

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It may look perfect now, but once upon a time,

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a very bad man used to live here,

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who had no regard for his beautiful environment.

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For tucked away in this gorgeous green landscape,

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this man ran a filthy, rotten, pollution-spewing oil slick of an illegal scrap yard.

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Piles of tyres,

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mountains of alloy wheels, and cars were stacked up everywhere.

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Then along came knights in shining jackets -

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Environment Agency Wales,

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who made sure this tale had a very happy ending.

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The Environment Agency are more involved now in what we call the big, bad and nasty.

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It involves the higher spectrum of criminality,

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the large-scale illegal disposal of waste.

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The big bad wolf in this case was Dan Power

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who ran his illegal business at his farm in Penllergaer, South Wales.

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Set in the middle of nowhere, his criminal activities went unnoticed until September 2006

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when the Environment Agency got an inkling all was not well.

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One of our officers followed Mr Power carrying scrap vehicles back to his land.

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We knew that the land didn't benefit from any environmental permits

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or exemptions.

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And that's where this story begins.

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Because as soon as the suspicious investigator got close to Power's farm,

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it became blatantly obvious he wasn't rearing sheep.

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The place looked like an environmental disaster

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with car parts strewn all over the place.

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Lyn Richards headed up the investigation

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and is back near the scene of the crime

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to tell us how his knight brought down this filthy, rotten dragon.

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As you can see, just over the valley there,

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Dan Power's property is at the top of the hill.

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He was using that to illegally store and treat scrap motor vehicles.

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There are tough regulations to make sure metal scrap yards

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are environmentally friendly and work within the law, like this one.

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Dealers need an environmental permit and to register as waste carriers

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and hazardous waste producers.

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On top of that, their land needs to have a sealed drainage system

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to stop toxic oils from seeping into the ground.

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This all costs money. Funnily enough, our big bad wolf chose to ignore the rules.

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All together, now, "Boo!"

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Mr Power's operations gave no consideration to the environment.

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He was breaking vehicles, there were spillages of oil,

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brake fluid, et cetera, seeping down into the ground.

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So obviously you've got the risk of ground contamination

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and pollution of nearby water courses.

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And because he wasn't doing things by the book,

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because he wasn't having to pay to get everything done properly,

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Dan Power was raking in hundreds of thousands of pounds in illegal profits.

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Dan Power would make his money by collecting cars for as little as £10.

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When he brought scrap cars back, he'd break them up.

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He'd take the oil, the engines out,

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the catalytic converters.

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He'd also strip the tyres, the alloy wheels, et cetera, to sell separately.

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He'd then store the shells up to two, three cars deep.

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He'd then take them to a scrap metal dealer to get the scrap value from those vehicles.

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OK. Let's do the maths.

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The going rate for scrap metal is about £60 a tonne,

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which is about the weight of your average car.

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So if Power was buying cars for a tenner and selling them for scrap for £60,

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he stood to make 50 quid on each vehicle.

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That means he could have been making a staggering 500% profit.

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Unbelievable.

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And, by failing to abide by the law,

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Power avoided paying more than 36 grand in set-up costs alone.

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This conniving villain was making a mint.

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By Mr Power operating the way he did,

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without having to invest in the various infrastructures

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that would allow him to operate legally,

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he saved a significant amount of money which allowed him to undercut legitimate operators.

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People like Tim Swain, who runs a legitimate scrap yard

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and has had his fill of rogues like Dan Power.

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If somebody is working without permits and without licences,

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it means they don't have to pay a lot of money.

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They don't have to pay anything to the Environmental. We have to pay a big sum of money

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for the licence for us to operate.

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So it means they're having more money than we are out of it.

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Times have changed, and the good guys like Tim

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have spent time and money bringing yards like this up to scratch.

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40 years ago, when we had this yard,

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there was no concrete, nothing.

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And the oil went in the ground.

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That has changed dramatically over the last 20 years.

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As soon as the Environment Agency Wales worked out exactly what Dan Power was up to,

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they issued a warning notice

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asking him to clean up his act and work within the law.

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But Power was having none of it.

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More letters were sent and ignored.

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So by January 2007,

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the Enviro-knights decided enough was enough.

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They mustered all their forces

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to bring down that filthy rotten scoundrel.

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The surveillance we undertook was from this location.

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As you can see, it was quite a long-range surveillance operation.

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There was no risk to our officers

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and little chance of compromise from Mr Power himself.

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And the surveillance makes for some pretty grim viewing.

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Captured on a long-lens camera,

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you can see Dan Power had the full set-up.

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Recovery vehicles to bring in the cars.

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Fork-lift trucks to shift them around.

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And a trusty side-kick to do all the hard graft.

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It's like watching a vulture stripping a carcass,

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from stripping cars down to the bone for the scrap metal

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to whipping off hub-caps and wheels.

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Everything has got a value.

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But just look at the state of the place.

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You'd definitely need a magic wand to transform it back to how it once was.

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It's plain criminal.

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The Environment Agency was building a strong case against Power and he was none the wiser.

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Even when they took to their motor and followed the selfish rogue in his recovery truck,

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he didn't have a clue.

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Coo-ee! Here we are! No, still not registering.

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Now, I'm no expert, but those stacked cars don't look very safe to me.

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It's no surprise the investigators kept their distance.

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What a mess!

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For three months, the Environment Agency secretly trailed Power

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and finally, in March 2007, with enough evidence behind them,

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they raided his farm.

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For the first time, the investigators weren't relying on a telescopic lens.

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They could see close up what this rotten rogue had done to the beautiful Welsh countryside.

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And it was heartbreaking.

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Power had successfully transformed his farm

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into a monstrously filthy rubbish tip.

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On August 11, 2008, 29-year-old Daniel Power pleaded guilty

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to keeping and treating illegal waste on his farm

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and was sentenced to 180 hours community service.

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Now, you might not think that's much of a penalty for this heinous environmental crime.

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But for Power, worse was to come

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thanks to a clever piece of legislation,

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the Proceeds of Crime Act.

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Basically, it allows us to take the profit out of crime.

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So if anybody has made a significant amount of money

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by operating illegally like Dan Power did,

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the courts will now allow us to be able to recoup that money.

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And boy, oh boy, did he have some money to pay back!

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These investigations established that Power had made approximately £360,000 from his illegal activity.

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From that, further investigations also established

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that Power had approximately £188,000-worth of realisable assets.

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For example, land that he owned, vehicles that he owned.

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He even owned a lordship!

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Hang on a second - he even owned what?

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He even owned a lordship.

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Knock me down with a feather!

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This man had a hoity-toity title!

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He had a Lordship of Goldington title, valued at just under £4,500,

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that he had to sell.

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Lord Goldington? Lord Muck, more like!

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All of these materials he could sell to pay back some of the money he'd made through criminal activity.

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And the biggest asset he had to flog must have really hurt.

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Finally,

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Dan Power's land, that we can see there, that's been in his family for a number of years,

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he's had to sell. He's sold that recently for £142,000.

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The Environment Agency Wales got their fairytale ending

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and Power lost absolutely everything.

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The message we're trying to get out to environmental criminals

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is that crime doesn't pay.

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All the money that the criminal has gleaned through his illegal activity

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we can now confiscate,

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whether that be their house, their vehicles,

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their yacht, and, in Mr Dan Power's case, his lordship!

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If you think you can cheat the system and ignore the rules,

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think again! The good guys will track you down and make you pay.

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Then everyone can live happily ever after!

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From the Welsh valleys to the cutting edge of technology now.

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We're back in Middlesbrough with Lee Hooker and his trusty head-cam.

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He's been called in to sort out an alleyway at the back of some houses

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where a builder's waste turned it into a rubbish tip.

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As far as I'm concerned, it's unacceptable and unsightly.

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The builder's agreed to shift this lot straight away.

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His lads have arrived to move all the rubbish into a van and drive it to a skip up the road.

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But hold your horses, lads. Lee's got his rule book out.

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-Have you got a waste carrier's licence?

-Pardon?

-A waste carrier's licence.

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No.

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The builder can't produce the right paperwork to transport this rubbish in his van.

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-Take the rubbish out of there and move it to the skip.

-That's where we're going.

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He is allowed to drive it over if he can convince Lee

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that it's lovely new building materials and not rubbish.

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-That's a plastic back board.

-It's rubbish. It's waste.

-From next door.

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-OK, you've taken it. You've taken it.

-I'm taking it to the skip.

-By foot.

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Ten out of ten for trying, pal, but it's Shanks's pony for you, me old mucker!

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He's got a long way to walk with all that rubbish!

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A waste carrier's licence costs around £150

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but without it, the waste must be taken to the skip by foot.

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So every last bit of wood trim, polystyrene, plastic, cardboard,

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but not the dog poo, has to be carried around to the skip.

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It's going to be back-breaking work. Rather them than me!

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-The lads are bringing it round on foot now.

-It's not like it's dangerous waste or anything.

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No, you can bring it round on foot.

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That's brilliant.

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It's the next day, and Lee's keen to see the mammoth clean-up operation.

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We're going to go back to the alleyway now

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and just check that he's removed the waste

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and everything's tickety-boo.

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It's not fair on the residents

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because the residents who share that alleyway

0:21:070:21:09

might have children who want to go into the alleyway.

0:21:090:21:13

Want to kick a ball about. I can only take him by his word.

0:21:130:21:16

He said he's going to move it.

0:21:160:21:18

Lee's hoping the alleyway is going to be spick and span.

0:21:220:21:25

Alleyway locked. Open now.

0:21:280:21:30

Wow! That is some transformation. I could eat my dinner off of that!

0:21:320:21:37

What a difference doing a job properly makes.

0:21:370:21:40

The builder has stuck to his word,

0:21:400:21:43

clearing the unsightly mess.

0:21:430:21:45

It's a great result, so Lee decides not to take things further this time.

0:21:450:21:49

The man whose house was being renovated is in the clear, too.

0:21:490:21:53

Lee's checked out the builder and found he usually operates with all the right permits.

0:21:530:21:58

Unfortunately, this time he slipped up.

0:21:580:22:01

It's a lesson learned, and hats off to him as he's done a sterling job clearing up.

0:22:010:22:06

Coming up: Lee's on the trail of a sinister crime.

0:22:080:22:11

ID fraudsters who've been going through bin bags

0:22:110:22:15

stealing personal information.

0:22:150:22:17

If there's a bag-slasher back, we need to nip it in the bud early.

0:22:170:22:21

Every year, Doncaster Council deals with hundreds of tonnes of hazardous dumped asbestos.

0:22:270:22:33

You shift that without the proper kit on, it's a massive danger to your health.

0:22:330:22:40

What was once considered to be a wonder material,

0:22:400:22:43

we now know can be deadly and it must be disposed of with great care.

0:22:430:22:46

Not an easy job.

0:22:460:22:48

I don't think for a minute it'll be cheap.

0:22:480:22:51

Some unscrupulous people are playing a dangerous DIY game

0:22:510:22:55

by taking a sledge-hammer to buildings like garden sheds or garages

0:22:550:23:00

and just fly-tipping the toxic waste!

0:23:000:23:02

Environmental Enforcement Officer Bob Allen is under no illusions about their motives.

0:23:020:23:07

People are fly-tipping this waste because, in my view, it makes them money.

0:23:070:23:12

They can either make money or they save money.

0:23:120:23:15

If they're doing a job themselves, maybe taking an old building down,

0:23:150:23:20

found out it's expensive to get rid of asbestos properly,

0:23:200:23:23

so if they fly-tip it, they're saving money.

0:23:230:23:26

Or it might be the guy with the van, the pick-up,

0:23:260:23:28

notices somebody's got an old garage that wants to come down,

0:23:280:23:32

"If you give me 40 quid, I'll get rid of that asbestos for you."

0:23:320:23:37

And it's us who foot the clear-up bill.

0:23:380:23:41

For Doncaster Council, it's become an expensive headache.

0:23:410:23:45

In the last six months, I think we've had something like 44 individual fly-tipped asbestos jobs.

0:23:450:23:51

We've removed something like 14 tonnes of asbestos.

0:23:540:23:58

It's cost the council around £9,000.

0:24:000:24:05

So we're spending a fair bit of money on the problem.

0:24:050:24:09

If Bob includes the time the council spend on this, the cost is far more.

0:24:090:24:14

Unfortunately for him, a new dump has just been reported.

0:24:140:24:17

What we're dealing with today is broken-up asbestos.

0:24:180:24:22

Once it's broken up, that's when the fibres are released

0:24:220:24:26

and where you can breathe them into your lungs.

0:24:260:24:28

At the tip location, the clean-up is underway. The team are taking no risks.

0:24:290:24:33

They're in full safety kit, including breathing apparatus.

0:24:330:24:37

-All right, guys?

-Hi, Bob.

0:24:370:24:39

What have we got, then?

0:24:390:24:41

We'll try and separate as much asbestos as we can, yeah?

0:24:550:24:58

-Yeah.

-Excellent. Crack on. I'll stand well back from you!

0:24:580:25:03

-Do you want me to put that sign somewhere?

-Yes, please.

0:25:030:25:06

If the fibres from broken asbestos are inhaled, they can fatally damage the lungs.

0:25:060:25:10

Asbestos-related diseases kill over 4,000 people each year.

0:25:100:25:15

So Bob's observing from a safe distance.

0:25:150:25:17

Prior to them disturbing anything, they spray a fibre suppressant

0:25:170:25:22

which keeps the fibres down.

0:25:220:25:24

It minimises the risk of somebody breathing in the fibres.

0:25:240:25:28

What the guys are doing, you can see they're picking it out by hand.

0:25:280:25:32

They're trying to separate the asbestos from the other waste.

0:25:320:25:35

We'll pay for asbestos disposal by the weight.

0:25:350:25:38

So if we send all that, the whole job lot,

0:25:380:25:41

as asbestos waste, mixed hazardous waste,

0:25:410:25:45

then it will be a hefty payment.

0:25:450:25:47

All this for one domestic garage.

0:25:470:25:50

And there's even more protocol to follow.

0:25:500:25:52

Strict hygiene rules are applied. When dealing with this, there's no smoking, no drinking, no eating

0:25:520:25:59

while you're on site.

0:25:590:26:01

When you're finished, the disposable equipment, the suits you see here,

0:26:010:26:06

is all put in the disposable bags and got rid of in the same way as the asbestos.

0:26:060:26:10

And like so much of the waste we create,

0:26:200:26:22

there's no easy way to get rid of asbestos.

0:26:220:26:25

Currently, the disposal solution is just to bury it far beneath the ground.

0:26:250:26:30

This toxic dump is also a problem for the locals

0:26:330:26:36

who enjoy using the country lanes.

0:26:360:26:39

Morning, sir. How are you?

0:26:390:26:40

-Bob Allen, Doncaster Council. We're shifting some asbestos off here.

-What?

0:26:400:26:46

Somebody's fly-tipped some asbestos in breeze blocks. We're removing it.

0:26:460:26:51

To human beings, and to the dogs, it's a major concern.

0:26:510:26:57

Nobody wants to get asbestos on their lungs, do they?

0:26:570:27:01

They're making easy money.

0:27:030:27:05

But to me, obviously, I'm a rate payer and we have to fork out to have it removed.

0:27:050:27:13

And it's not just dog walkers who use this lane.

0:27:130:27:16

Chillingly, it's a popular place for kids to hang out.

0:27:160:27:20

The biggest problem we've got is kids.

0:27:200:27:23

Children. If they find waste, they don't always see the dangers.

0:27:230:27:27

They don't know what asbestos is.

0:27:270:27:29

So if it was in full sheets - here, it isn't -

0:27:290:27:32

but if it was in full sheets and they move the sheets about,

0:27:320:27:36

using it for a den, a gang hole, the dangers are there.

0:27:360:27:40

If you've got somebody at your door who says, "I'll take your asbestos garage away for you for 40 quid",

0:27:400:27:47

you've got to think what you're doing.

0:27:470:27:50

You said it. If environmental officers link an asbestos tip to your address,

0:27:500:27:55

even if you didn't do the dumping,

0:27:550:27:57

you could be liable. It's a lesson to us all.

0:27:570:28:00

Before offloading this hazardous waste onto any man with a van,

0:28:000:28:05

check their licence and get a proper receipt for the work.

0:28:050:28:08

Our priority is to try and stop this. Not carry on removing it.

0:28:100:28:14

We want to stop it. To prevent it.

0:28:140:28:16

Bob's mission is to take these kinds of hazardous dumpers to court,

0:28:160:28:21

where they could face up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine.

0:28:210:28:25

It may be an ongoing battle, but it's one Bob is determined to win.

0:28:260:28:30

The deterrent is there,

0:28:300:28:32

but it doesn't stop everybody because they're making money out of this.

0:28:320:28:36

But we will carry on, we will try and prosecute where possible.

0:28:360:28:40

Coming up: Brace yourself. I'm going to introduce you to the neighbour from hell!

0:28:400:28:46

Even though he's aware the camera's there, he continues blatantly

0:28:460:28:51

to just burn it.

0:28:510:28:53

Earlier, we met Lee Hooker, our crusading Enforcement Officer

0:29:000:29:04

on a one-man mission to clean up the streets of Middlesbrough.

0:29:040:29:07

Who gave you authority to deposit rubbish here?

0:29:070:29:10

I am proud of what I do because I try to make an improvement.

0:29:100:29:14

Local lad Lee loves keeping his manor clean.

0:29:140:29:18

The community are right behind him.

0:29:180:29:20

It's a risk to public health.

0:29:200:29:22

-I'm sure it is. It's going to introduce rodents into the area.

-I agree.

0:29:220:29:28

-I'll leave it with you.

-Thanks.

0:29:280:29:30

Next call for our filth-fighting crusader is a block of flats

0:29:310:29:35

where a growing pile of rubbish is getting up the nose of the locals.

0:29:350:29:40

Disgusted. Absolutely disgusted.

0:29:400:29:42

Especially when you see nappies

0:29:420:29:44

and you think that's a mother or a parent allowing that to happen.

0:29:440:29:50

If they're doing that, what message are they sending to their children?

0:29:500:29:55

Lee puts his trusty head camera on and gets ready to investigate.

0:29:560:30:00

Waste deposited next to the bins. A carpet,

0:30:000:30:05

deposited rubbish outside of the bins.

0:30:050:30:09

Mattress times one.

0:30:090:30:11

A sofa.

0:30:110:30:13

Most of the flats aren't owner-occupied, and some locals

0:30:130:30:16

think this could be at the heart of the problem.

0:30:160:30:20

I think that people that are in rented accommodation, they - not all, not all -

0:30:200:30:25

but a lot of them probably don't have the pride in their home

0:30:250:30:29

as maybe a homeowner

0:30:290:30:31

because they're going to move on and probably just don't think

0:30:310:30:34

the impact it has on other people.

0:30:340:30:37

It's very sad. It upsets me. But it's widespread. It's everywhere.

0:30:370:30:42

This type of rubbish is very unsightly. Not nice for the residents at all.

0:30:420:30:47

Televisions, sometimes computer stuff.

0:30:470:30:50

Clothes.

0:30:500:30:51

Pants!

0:30:510:30:53

Pants?! Let's hope not. Lee might be used to picking through rubbish,

0:30:530:30:57

but even a superhero round these parts should only handle their own smalls!

0:30:570:31:01

And wear them inside their trousers!

0:31:010:31:04

It's fairly gross, but it's not life-threatening! It's just rubbish.

0:31:040:31:08

What a man! Go on, Lee! Get stuck in!

0:31:080:31:11

Bin.

0:31:110:31:13

To the benefit of the head camera, large amount of plastic coffee cups.

0:31:130:31:18

Whoever's making all this mess, I doubt they're getting a lot of sleep

0:31:180:31:21

judging by the amount of coffee they're drinking!

0:31:210:31:24

Possible commercial use. No particular identity on the cups except all of the same genre.

0:31:240:31:32

Can you send them an email to telephone me, please, Anya.

0:31:330:31:38

Our daring king of debris gets on the case to find out who owns the flats.

0:31:380:31:43

I'll get something done about the rubbish and get them to move it.

0:31:430:31:47

That should do the trick. If the landlords know what's going on, they can warn tenants to shape up

0:31:470:31:53

or ship out.

0:31:530:31:55

Hopefully, people will think about dumping stuff on the floor. Who knows?

0:31:550:32:00

Never one to rest on his laurels,

0:32:030:32:05

Lee's straight on to the next call about a very 21st-century crime!

0:32:050:32:10

We're going to an area of properties that put refuse sacks out for collection.

0:32:100:32:16

What happened last week is that a bag-slasher had gone through

0:32:160:32:21

looking for possible identification.

0:32:210:32:24

What I'll do now is a bit of door-knocking

0:32:240:32:27

and give them some warning that there's undesirables in the area.

0:32:270:32:33

Bag-slashing is part of the nasty trend of identity theft.

0:32:340:32:38

These refuse rascals sift through your rubbish for any paperwork that can get them access to your money.

0:32:380:32:45

It can be tricky to catch these scoundrels

0:32:450:32:47

but when they are nabbed, they can be fined up to £500.

0:32:470:32:50

It's just rubbish.

0:32:500:32:52

Sometimes get flies and maggots in it, but it's no big deal.

0:32:520:32:56

You can't complain if you've got work.

0:32:560:32:58

Lee's making sure there's no rubbish here to identify people and put them at risk.

0:32:580:33:03

If there's a bag-slasher back, we need to nip it in the bud early

0:33:030:33:08

and get people to put their rubbish out at the correct time.

0:33:080:33:12

It's a crime Lee's seen before. He thinks the only real way to protect people

0:33:120:33:17

is to get them to shred any sensitive paperwork, put it in the bin

0:33:170:33:20

and put their rubbish out just before the dustcart does its rounds.

0:33:200:33:25

If only he could find somebody to tell!

0:33:330:33:36

-'Who is it?'

-It's the council!

0:33:360:33:39

-I'm Lee, from the council. Do you know when your bin day is?

-Tomorrow morning.

0:33:390:33:44

-It's regarding...

-Fly tipping.

0:33:440:33:47

-No, it's people putting bags out, at the back...

-Mine are in the yard.

-..for collection.

0:33:470:33:52

I'm advising you because last week, somebody slashed the bags.

0:33:520:33:56

Someone in the flats saw them actually slash the bags.

0:33:560:33:59

-And walk away with...

-I've spoken to that lady.

0:33:590:34:04

-Your rubbish bags, what day do you put them out?

-About six o'clock.

0:34:040:34:08

-Do you put them out before you go out?

-We'll put them out tonight.

0:34:080:34:12

Put them out last thing at night.

0:34:120:34:14

-Do you know when your collection is?

-Fridays.

-When will you put it out?

0:34:140:34:18

-Tonight.

-Could you put it out in the morning, before they come?

0:34:180:34:22

-We put it out at 11 o'clock at night.

-That's not too bad.

0:34:220:34:26

-Not at seven o'clock. It's usually just before we go to bed. 11 to half past.

-Right-o.

0:34:260:34:32

Excellent. Cheerio!

0:34:320:34:34

But before Lee heads home,

0:34:360:34:38

he's got a whiff of something really dodgy in the air.

0:34:380:34:41

Can you believe it?

0:34:410:34:44

Someone's left a whole bag of dog poo on the pavement.

0:34:440:34:47

Whoever's responsible for this pongy pile,

0:34:470:34:50

deserves more than a night in the dog house! Yuk!

0:34:500:34:54

This type of waste, a big bag of dog poo, I don't want to leave it on the street.

0:34:540:34:58

Because if anybody touches it, especially young kids and stuff...

0:34:580:35:02

It's a health risk. I'll phone up our area care lads.

0:35:020:35:06

They'll come round and get it.

0:35:060:35:07

Our man Lee knows that leaving dog-do on the street

0:35:070:35:11

is a big dog-do! It's a health and safety nightmare.

0:35:110:35:15

The area care lads have come to pick it up now.

0:35:150:35:17

They'll cleanse that. The remaining bags get collected tomorrow on the normal bin day.

0:35:170:35:24

We'll check there's no personal details in there to cause a problem.

0:35:240:35:28

We've a description of the bag slasher which we'll follow up. It's being investigated.

0:35:280:35:33

Job well done. It's the end of another busy day for Lee.

0:35:330:35:37

Our clean-up crusader takes his trusty camera off and heads home

0:35:370:35:41

for some much-needed rest.

0:35:410:35:43

But the fight against environmental crime in Middlesbrough never stops.

0:35:460:35:51

Across town, investigators can celebrate a job well done

0:35:510:35:55

after getting one over on one particularly nasty scoundrel.

0:35:550:35:59

In its industrial heyday,

0:35:590:36:02

this town was covered in black, soot-filled skies. But no more.

0:36:020:36:06

Middlesbrough has been revived, refreshed and rejuvenated.

0:36:060:36:10

Though not every citizen is taking pride in their city's new look.

0:36:100:36:14

Just take a butcher's at this!

0:36:140:36:17

This bare-faced scoundrel gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "trailer trash"

0:36:170:36:24

when he was caught on CCTV ripping apart a caravan piece by piece

0:36:240:36:29

in broad daylight. And the fella conveniently forgot to hire a skip

0:36:290:36:34

to take the debris away.

0:36:340:36:35

Just imagine living next door to that.

0:36:350:36:38

Cue Middlesbrough council's secret weapon.

0:36:400:36:43

Environment Improvement Officer Phil Armitage,

0:36:430:36:46

the man who stopped this neighbour from hell once and for all.

0:36:460:36:50

And this is why Phil had to be called in.

0:36:500:36:53

Chunks of concrete, strips of tarpaulin, remains of a bed frame,

0:36:530:36:58

bits of fencing, chucked all over the place.

0:36:580:37:01

As you can see here, materials discarded in the property.

0:37:020:37:06

I've seen these items on the fence at one point

0:37:060:37:10

now they're broken up and abandoned here.

0:37:100:37:13

Same with the contents of the house. Just dumped. Obviously he's been evicted,

0:37:130:37:18

but he's made no attempt to clean up the house.

0:37:180:37:21

Now that's what I call antisocial misbehaviour!

0:37:210:37:26

This is the man responsible for this awful mess.

0:37:310:37:34

And this mess isn't even his worst crime.

0:37:340:37:36

Not only did he smash his caravan apart,

0:37:390:37:41

he waited until it was dark to carry the pieces onto a strip of council land

0:37:410:37:46

just next to his house.

0:37:460:37:47

Shockingly, he went one unbelievable step further.

0:37:470:37:52

He put a match to it!

0:37:520:37:53

Filthy scoundrels like this need to be stopped.

0:37:590:38:02

It was up to Phil to collect evidence of the rubbish tips and damage

0:38:020:38:06

to build a case and prosecute this man.

0:38:060:38:08

Let's see the scene of the crime.

0:38:120:38:14

This is the driveway where he stored the caravan.

0:38:160:38:20

He had to take the fencing out to get it in here, I believe.

0:38:200:38:24

Most of the fencing went on the fire at some point.

0:38:240:38:27

Obviously at this point he just dismantled the caravan, piled it up

0:38:270:38:33

and used an accelerant to set fire to it.

0:38:330:38:36

Despite the camera being virtually on his doorstep,

0:38:380:38:41

he just continued to conduct these activities.

0:38:410:38:45

In fact, this man was caught twice on CCTV.

0:38:460:38:50

In August and September 2010, burning the rubbish.

0:38:500:38:54

When Phil reviewed the footage at Middlesbrough council HQ,

0:38:550:38:59

he was astounded by what he saw.

0:38:590:39:01

Even though he's aware that the camera's there,

0:39:010:39:05

he just continues blatantly around one o'clock in the morning

0:39:050:39:09

to set fire to parts of the caravan and just burn it.

0:39:090:39:14

Burn it?

0:39:140:39:16

You can see him putting plastic items on, wooden items, laminates.

0:39:160:39:21

Some of those type of products contain carcinogenic material.

0:39:210:39:26

Obviously it produces a lot of thick black smoke.

0:39:260:39:29

That's dangerous toxic fumes.

0:39:300:39:32

Had this scoundrel no common sense?

0:39:320:39:35

He also cost his fellow citizens a pretty penny

0:39:360:39:39

because the council had to clean up his mess.

0:39:390:39:41

With nearly 60 fly tips springing up every week in Middlesbrough,

0:39:430:39:47

clear-up costs are setting the council back

0:39:470:39:50

a whopping quarter of a million pounds a year.

0:39:500:39:53

That's money that could be much better spent elsewhere.

0:39:530:39:56

But it's not just the cost. Spare a thought for the poor people living next door

0:39:560:40:01

to the fiend while he was torching his caravan in the early hours of the morning.

0:40:010:40:06

The last thing they want is foul and maybe toxic smoke

0:40:060:40:10

coming in to their properties on a night.

0:40:100:40:13

Then you've got fire engines coming out to put out the fires, you wake people up.

0:40:130:40:17

Blue lights flashing everywhere.

0:40:170:40:20

So in general, it's a very anti-social thing to do.

0:40:200:40:25

And it's against the law.

0:40:250:40:26

But this fire-starter wasn't just content with burning his own trash.

0:40:280:40:32

After giving, literally, an Oscar-winning performance

0:40:320:40:35

for the CCTV operators,

0:40:350:40:37

he became - how can I put this? - a little camera shy.

0:40:370:40:41

And he tried to burn down the spy-cam!

0:40:410:40:44

You can see from the camera here.

0:40:450:40:47

There is evidence of fire damage. It's right outside his house.

0:40:470:40:52

The reason this camera was installed was to try and prevent that damage.

0:40:520:40:56

The flames must have been ten feet.

0:40:560:41:00

The councils have learned from this and they put them on five-metre poles and higher.

0:41:000:41:05

As high as they can get them so they can't be tampered with or damaged. Preserve the footage.

0:41:050:41:12

While Big Brother saw everything this rotten scoundrel was up to,

0:41:130:41:17

he knew full well he was in the wrong.

0:41:170:41:19

And the coward legged it as soon as the fire brigade turned up.

0:41:190:41:24

But there was absolutely no excuse

0:41:250:41:28

for his dangerous and anti-social behaviour.

0:41:280:41:31

The easiest thing for this individual was to take the whole caravan into a scrap yard.

0:41:330:41:39

They would have taken it off his hands and broken it up.

0:41:390:41:42

Or he could have broken it up himself, put it into small amounts

0:41:420:41:46

and the council may have collected it as excess waste.

0:41:460:41:49

While this joker took the easy way out,

0:41:490:41:52

his arrogance in performing in front of the camera

0:41:520:41:56

meant Phil had an easier job of it too.

0:41:560:41:59

From our point of view, it's been a good case

0:41:590:42:02

because he just doesn't care. He does everything so blatantly.

0:42:020:42:05

He would know, he suspects he's being watched when he starts these activities,

0:42:050:42:10

but he carries on regardless!

0:42:100:42:12

It was incredible. Phil had irrefutable evidence of this man tearing his caravan apart

0:42:120:42:18

and then burning its remains on council land.

0:42:180:42:21

On June 28, 2011, he appeared before magistrates charged with fly-tipping and illegally burning waste.

0:42:210:42:28

He pleaded guilty to the charges. Bang to rights.

0:42:280:42:33

Every week of the year, dedicated teams are working hard

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across our villages, towns and cities

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determined to clean up the streets of Britain.

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Join us next time when we'll be chasing down more filthy rotten scoundrels!

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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An undercover investigation catches a man running an illegal and polluting car scrapyard in the Welsh countryside, and a dangerous dump of asbestos is discovered in Doncaster. Plus, the work of one dedicated environment enforcer on a personal crusade to clean up his home town of Middlesbrough.