Episode 13 Filthy Rotten Scoundrels


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Episode 13

Series investigating Britain's waste dumpers. The incredible story of the woman who for months threw her household rubbish over the fence in to her neighbour's garden.


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Transcript


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Every day, a never-ending war is being waged to clean up Britain.

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It's a massive problem. People live with the mess others make.

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It's horrible. Horrible. We should be proud of the area we live in.

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

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-to mountains of tyres and skiploads of builders' waste...

-Fly tippers out to be prosecuted. Fine them.

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Your pocket hurts.

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This is just beyond my comprehension.

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We're on the front line of the clear-up and the fightback

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

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..if you fail to mention something you later rely on in court.

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On today's programme, we're off to the beach, but be careful where you put your towel down.

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Bits of fishing net. Cotton bud sticks. Rubber. Cigarette butts. Shotgun cartridge.

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And a police raid on ten illegal scrap yards uncovers an environmental catastrophe.

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The surface water drains run straight through to the river,

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so this, with oil everywhere, is going to cause a major problem.

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Welcome to the dirty world of Filthy Rotten Scoundrels.

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This is Blaby, a district on the southern edge of Leicester, in the middle of England.

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It's a pretty typical sort of place. Typical English countryside,

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typical high street... and typical fly-tipped rubbish. Disgusting!

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Last year, Blaby District Council spent more than £20,000 clearing up rubbish

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dumped illegally on their patch. 20 grand for one small area. What a waste of Council Tax money.

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You see loads of tyres and people littering and stuff.

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-Rugs and carpets in big waste bins.

-Mattresses.

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It just spoils the countryside.

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But girl power has come to Blaby. Meet Environmental Protection Officers Kirsty, Helen, Jo

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and the two Hannahs. What they really want is to run the filthy, rotten scoundrels out of town.

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We're on shift with each of them today. First up, Kirsty Odell-Burley.

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Every day is different, so you're not stuck in an office doing the same thing

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day in, day out. It's really good.

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It's just sort of satisfying to carry out your work and make a difference to the environment

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and the area we all live in.

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Today, Kirsty's on the trail of these things - adverts for services, gigs and other events

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are stuck up illegally all over. They can damage public property and in inappropriate places,

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like this, they can cause a hazard by distracting drivers.

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They're a big problem round this area. We're on a main junction

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from the M1 into Leicestershire.

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The council gets at least one complaint a fortnight from members of the public annoyed by these.

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So Kirsty has a cunning plan. You're not going to believe quite how cunning.

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That's right. Kirsty puts her own stickers all over the posters stuck up illegally.

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-How cheeky is that?

-So I'm out here today to put these cancelled stickers

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over the sign. So obviously people who were anticipating going to the event

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will think the event's been cancelled. They won't turn up and the organisers will lose money.

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I like your style, Kirsty - hitting scoundrels where it hurts, in the pocket.

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That should make them think twice about putting these up next time.

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You can just take them down, but people just keep putting them up, so we're not punishing them.

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But there is one thing bugging me here. How shall I put it?

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It's not actually true to say it's been cancelled or postponed.

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If you look closely, it says the poster has been cancelled. We're being a little bit cheeky.

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Cheeky? I'll say! Now that's what I call small print.

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-The point is, is it working?

-It's beginning to prove quite successful

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and it's reducing the amount of fly posters we are getting, which is good.

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It's not just fly posters who are getting their comeuppance.

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Fly tippers had better be on their guard, too - Helen Chalk is on your case.

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Today she's following up all the new reports of rubbish just dumped on the streets.

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The council dealt with almost 400 separate reports of fly-tipped rubbish last year.

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That's more than one a day. Unbelievable. About a quarter of reports are for single items,

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like this mattress. Just lazy dumping of stuff that no one can be bothered to take to the tip.

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Unfortunately, the delivery note doesn't identify who the person responsible is.

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It's just a docket.

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But people with bigger loads to dispose of often make their way to beauty spots like this one

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where they try to get rid of their rubbish without anyone seeing them.

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It's Helen's job to try to hunt for clues that might reveal who is responsible

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for this antisocial behaviour.

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There's no names and addresses. I thought there might have been something, but there isn't.

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What we'll have to do is get District Cleansing to come out and clean this up.

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It's frustrating work. Blaby District Council spends hundreds of pounds every single week

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cleaning up dumped rubbish. Helen's got no time for fly-tippers.

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They haven't got any respect for the environment. It is a nice spot.

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They just come down here and throw out their litter. No respect for the countryside whatsoever.

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No respect and no shame.

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This small pile of rubbish has been dumped at the side of the lane, but hidden away in a ditch nearby

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is a much bigger pile of rubbish.

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Oh, it stinks, doesn't it?

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Normally, large quantities of rubbish are commercial waste.

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Unscrupulous businesses dumping rubbish to save themselves the cost of doing it properly.

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But today Helen gets a surprise.

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This is just domestic rubbish.

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I mean, it could have gone out with the bins, so I don't understand why people would dump it.

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Some people have no common sense.

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Fancy driving all the way out to a beauty spot like this to dump rubbish

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that the council would take away for free anyway!

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Hopefully, something in here will identify...who is responsible.

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Because it's not just a lack of common sense. This is illegal

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-and Helen's determined to track down whoever's done this.

-That's just pizza, dirty nappies.

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The remnants of some hanging baskets. They've had a clear out.

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Mmm. A pizza-eating gardener who is a parent to a young baby.

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Something tells me we'll need some more clues if we're going to find the filthy rotter responsible.

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Obviously, it will attract vermin

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and foxes, cats, flies...

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Did the person who did this ever stop to think about any of this?

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I doubt it.

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I thought we had a letter then.

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Aha!

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-This had better be worth all the filthy rummaging.

-Here we go.

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We've got an address here, so that's good.

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We can write to this person. I'll just take a photo of that

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then we will perhaps write to her and ask her to explain

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how her rubbish came to end up in the ditch here.

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Later in the programme, the detective work goes hi-tech with the hidden cameras.

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Up a little bit. Down a bit.

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But what will they capture on film?

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Ahh! The British seaside.

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Us Brits love to be on the beach, sunning ourselves, handkerchief on head, bodies going red.

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Fish and chips for tea. And, inevitably, sand in your sandwiches.

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But, sadly, on most British beaches today, it's not just sand you'll find in your sandwich.

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That's a shotgun cartridge.

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And some bottle tops.

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A piece of plastic.

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This is a cotton bud stick. That's come through sewage treatment.

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Oh, another tampon applicator.

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Rubber. Chuck that overboard and it'll be around for a long time.

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Bits of fishing net.

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Cigarette butts.

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We don't want to see any of this on the beach at all. No drinking straws, bottle caps, rubber.

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Disgusting. And every last bit of that rubbish has been dropped by someone

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who just thinks it'll get washed away and they don't have to worry.

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In Pembrokeshire in West Wales, the locals have had enough and today they're doing their bit

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to get the beach cleaned up.

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Today we've got Monkton community who have come to clean the beach.

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It's great to see so many people coming out and getting involved, actually, and just having a go.

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Galvanised by the Marine Conservation Society, young and old are out in force.

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These are my kind of people.

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We get so much litter on the beach and it's things like public litter.

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Things like sweet wrappers, bottle tops and crisp packets.

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If somebody throws away their litter, somebody else has to pick up after them.

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Why they think that somebody else has to do that, I don't know.

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If we all just put our litter in our pockets and took it home, it would be much easier for everybody.

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It's just sheer laziness. They can't be bothered to look for a bin.

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And they just leave it for somebody else to do.

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No one can go on the beach cos there's lots of rubbish on it.

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If you walk around with rubbish everywhere, you'll step on it.

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-If people throw rubbish, they shouldn't have done it.

-People throw rubbish in my garden.

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And, sadly, there's plenty more where that came from.

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In fact, more than ever before.

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This year we released our Beach Watch 2010 survey results.

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We had the highest amount of litter that we've ever had. We've been doing the surveys since 1994

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and it has gone up. On UK beaches in general, we get about 2,000 pieces of litter.

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But in Wales we get over 3,000.

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So you can't take more than a few steps on most beaches without litter and we think that's unacceptable.

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It's a global problem. We get other people's litter - American and Canadian litter washes up here,

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and they get our litter as well!

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Crikey! Think about that. You drop a crisp bag in Barry and it could wash up in Boston.

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How did all this rubbish end up in the sea? In the UK, we're never more than 70 miles from the coast.

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You'd be surprised how easy it is for rubbish you drop in the high street to end up on the beach.

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Shocking, isn't it?

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We walk along the street, drop a piece of litter. That can easily blow into a river and into the sea.

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It's really good for people to see first-hand, you know, what the problem is

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and that they can actually do something about it. It's them that can stop dropping litter.

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But it's not just litter louts. We can also blight our beaches from the comfort of our own homes.

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The next thing we get is sewage debris. Those are things that people flush down the toilet

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and then they've gone through the sewage system and ended up here.

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The last thing we want really is that to be next to you at a picnic.

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You're telling me! Eugh!

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Dropping litter is a bit of a boomerang. It will always come back to you somewhere

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and it just might be whilst you're relaxing on the beach or your kids are merrily building a sand castle.

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Before the scoundrels tell you how the sand and the tide will make it all disintegrate, listen to this.

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We do a Top 10 list of things we find on the beach. 9 out of 10 are made out of plastic.

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Plastic's a relatively new thing. We don't really know how long it's going to be in the environment.

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But it doesn't really biodegrade. It'll break into smaller pieces and become plastic dust.

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Now that affects animals right from the bottom of the food chain, right the way to the higher up animals

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that might eat some of the plastic or get tangled up in it.

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I would ask everybody to please think about that. If you buy plastic, try to recycle it

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and please always take it home or it may kill a whale or a dolphin or a turtle.

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Got that? Good.

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Luckily, this lot are on hand to pick up your waste.

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There's been loads of bottle tops and string and, like, tubes and...

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and lighters and all.

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-Plastic bags.

-Needles.

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We've got a beautiful country and it's spoilt by people, because they can't be bothered,

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they just throw their litter away. It spoils it for everybody.

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It's not very nice if you want to put your towel down on the sand. You want to enjoy the beach

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and not have this sort of thing next to you. If children dig holes and make sand castles,

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they want to decorate them with shells, not cigarette butts.

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That is one nasty habit.

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Cigarette butts.

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Quite a few of them. People think there's no problem with them, they're made of paper,

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but there's bits of plastic in them. There's research that says if you put one in 15 litres of water,

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it will kill wildlife. It's what a filter does - it filters out all the toxins.

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So all the toxins get stuck into this as you inhale on it.

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Then you chuck it away and think it won't do any harm, but it does.

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Worldwide, it's the most common item.

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It turns out smokers aren't just killing themselves, but our lovely sea creatures at the same time.

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And litter is also a killer for local wildlife and sea birds around the beach.

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There's a few ways that plastic litter can affect wildlife.

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One of them is entanglement, so the larger pieces of netting and things like that

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can actually entangle birds and they just simply drown as they get entangled in it.

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Another way is that they actually eat it so they'll mistake it for their prey and actually ingest it.

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Then it gets stuck in their guts or it can fill their whole stomach and then there's no room for food.

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It makes you think, doesn't it? Litter isn't just unsightly. It's incredibly harmful, too.

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Right, it's the end of the clear up. How much waste did they find?

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Well, we've got about 15 bags. And that was from quite a small section of the beach.

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This isn't a particularly dirty beach. This is on every beach.

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That's 15 bin bags full of rubbish from just 200 metres of beach. Makes you ashamed, doesn't it?

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These guys have done a brilliant job today. Time for a well-deserved picnic on a very clean beach.

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But I'll tell you one thing - this lot will take their rubbish home with them.

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Can you Adam and Eve it? We're in East London, home of the Pearly Kings and Queens,

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but it's not shiny new pearls being hunted - it's filthy, rotten scoundrels.

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The local Environment Agency is raiding illegal waste sites. They've teamed up with the Old Bill.

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Together they hope to feel a few collars. The Agency's job is to protect the environment from rogues

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who like to pollute it. Today's raid is the culmination of 18 months of work.

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The site is an old wharf which now has 10 illegal waste sites on it -

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scrap yards, waste storage, household, commercial, industrial waste. There are no permits on it.

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There is no drainage facility, no pollution prevention facility.

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It sounds messy. 10 different yards and not a single licence to operate.

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What are they going to find?

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You need a permit to run a scrap yard and you need planning permission to set one up first.

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Get it? Well, these guys don't. They have neither permission, nor a permit.

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And if you're going to run a scrap yard, you have to follow the rules.

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It's the law. You have to sort and separate your junk and make sure it's safely stored. Remove oils,

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fluids and hazardous components and put batteries in secure storage.

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The Environment Agency believes the boys on this site have been failing to follow these rules

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and it's caused major problems.

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There have been fires on the site because of the way the activities are managed.

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Notably, it's tyres that generally go up, but because the scrap yards have cutting gear on their site,

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oxy acetylene torches, people have to be evacuated from the local area,

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the A12 gets closed and it causes havoc in the East End of London.

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The oxy acetylene gas canisters can go boom in a fire and last year they almost did.

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Locals had to be evacuated and it took 30 fire fighters to bring the blaze under control.

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That's public money up in smoke. The environmental team have had enough.

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It's time to confront the scoundrels and get the place cleaned up. 26 filth fighters,

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15 police officers, 10 scrap yards - the raid is on!

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OK, you ready?

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-Off you go, then.

-OK.

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me on, then.

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The best outcome for us is that when all the principal operators are there working,

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so the intention is to arrest those operators and landowners

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because they are knowingly causing or permitting the offence to occur by allowing it.

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It's always a nerve-racking time and if he catches them in the act, they'll face a heavy penalty.

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This offence here is not having an environmental permit.

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On conviction at the Magistrates Court, we're looking at a maximum of one year and/or £50,000 fine.

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If it goes to Crown Court, which are larger cases, more polluting cases,

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we can be looking at up to five years and an unlimited fine.

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Ouch. And just because you can't be bothered to do it by the book.

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First of all I'm going to look at two scrap yards. And one is a demolition company's yard.

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This is our first one here, which we can see is loaded up with scrap metal,

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fridges, freezers, TVs, all of which requires a permit for storage.

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White goods have to go with white goods, car bits with car bits.

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It may be scrap, but you can't just throw it into a heap.

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The middle yard here is one we got cleared. There's now another operator on it.

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Unbelievable! This site was cleared on a previous operation,

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but there are already new scoundrels in place.

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That looks interesting.

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This is our third yard with demolition waste in it which we need to have a look at.

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This place is a complete mess

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and remember, there is not a single permit to allow storage of scrap on this land.

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Even after such a long investigation, the site is much worse than Owen expected.

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At the three yards you can see behind me, we've got activity on all of these yards.

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Business is just increasing and it's bigger than we thought.

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Business may be booming, but what's happening here is illegal and dangerous.

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The immediate problem is they don't have an environmental permit to store the waste

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or to break vehicles and process any waste.

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The secondary problem with the numbe of white goods that are in here

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is I suspect a lot of those are goin for export out to Africa and we need to check their export permits,

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whether there's any banned substance in there, i.e, the refrigerant gases CFCs...

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Sending this kind of scrap to Africa shifts the pollution problems from our back yards to theirs,

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but in Owen's experience, it's not just old refrigerators that find their way there.

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Vehicles as well. Vehicles that would not meet any road standards over here,

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MOT failures, even crash damaged vehicles.

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Those are exported as well and cut into pieces and built back together again and operated on the roads

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where the laws aren't so stringent.

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Shocking! Owen needs to see any export licences to check whether on this site they're operating legally.

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Meanwhile, the police believe they may have stumbled across something that affects us closer to home.

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Yeah, up in Area 2,

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one of the vehicles on the site has got Network Rail, the high-vis bibs

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and number plates,

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and we suspect it's involved in stolen metal.

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The police need to check what's inside the van.

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The bibs made them suspect that someone could have been stealing metal from railway lines.

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It's something the Environment Agency are involved with as well

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because the metal ends up at scrapyards like this.

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It's becoming a real problem on the railways, causing massive delays for passengers

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and costing the rail network a fortune.

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That's just cable wheels in there.

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-It's a false alarm.

-We looked inside the van.

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It's just the cable wheels. It could come from any sort of business.

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It's nothing that we regard as suspect.

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The van is empty and no crime has been committed.

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We'll be back with the raid team later when the extent of the horrific pollution becomes apparent.

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There's an old sump here. We don't know how deep it is.

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We're back in Blaby where they're employing girl power

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against the filthy, rotten scoundrels ruining the area.

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Though the Environmental Protection Team are happy to get their hands dirty to track down the culprits...

0:24:510:24:57

We've got an address here, so that's good.

0:24:570:25:01

..they've recently started to employ more hi-tech methods.

0:25:010:25:05

Between them, Anna Farish and Jo Hewitt have 12 years' experience tackling environmental crime.

0:25:050:25:12

In other words, don't mess with them.

0:25:120:25:16

Today, they're going to rig a fly-tipping hot spot with hidden cameras

0:25:160:25:22

in the hope of catching the culprits in the act.

0:25:220:25:26

We have removed quite a lot of fly-tipping from there before now,

0:25:260:25:30

so it's quite a good area for us to put the camera up.

0:25:300:25:34

The cameras will be hidden around a lay-by where people just pull up, dump their rubbish and speed away.

0:25:340:25:41

So this is the area that... We have quite a lot of trouble here.

0:25:410:25:45

There's quite a lot of stuff down there.

0:25:450:25:48

The sign's there. That's good.

0:25:480:25:51

Hang on, a sign that clearly says fly-tipping is illegal and you could even go to prison for it?

0:25:510:25:57

It takes some bare-faced cheek to still dump your rubbish here!

0:25:570:26:00

-You take the heavy one.

-I've got it.

-Are you sure?

-Yeah.

0:26:000:26:04

Right, into the bushes, girls. Time to set up those hidden cameras.

0:26:040:26:09

The main issues are trying to make sure that nobody will be able to see it, where we've put it,

0:26:090:26:15

then in this instance, so we have th sign warning people they might be under close-circuit surveillance,

0:26:150:26:22

so we get the person potentially reversing up to the sign,

0:26:220:26:26

we can get their registration and have a still of them tipping in front of that sign,

0:26:260:26:31

so they've got no legal defence because it's obvious it was them and they were warned about it.

0:26:310:26:36

Great plan, girls. Scoundrels might think it's OK to ignore the sign,

0:26:360:26:41

but the law won't ignore it if you are caught fly-tipping next to it.

0:26:410:26:45

Is that looking at the sign?

0:26:450:26:47

Up a little bit.

0:26:490:26:51

Down a bit. Down, down, down, down.

0:26:510:26:55

This beats a dull day in the office!

0:26:550:26:57

The cameras connect wirelessly to the laptop, so the girls can park up along the road

0:26:570:27:03

and still be able to keep a beady eye on what's going on in the lay-by.

0:27:030:27:08

That's wedged in, so we've got the sign in the background.

0:27:080:27:11

I might get another camera and plug another one in.

0:27:110:27:15

She's getting the bug for this, isn't she? Right, camera number two ready for action!

0:27:170:27:23

-Is that the right way up?

-No, we're on the side, so we need to...

0:27:230:27:27

I said "ready for action"!

0:27:270:27:29

You're upside down. Keep going all the way round.

0:27:290:27:33

I'm saying nothing.

0:27:370:27:39

It's turned itself off.

0:27:390:27:42

And finally, it's ready for action.

0:27:420:27:44

What we've got set up is one of our cameras which is hidden in the verge

0:27:440:27:49

and that one is looking at our car parked in the lay-by.

0:27:490:27:53

We can see the registration plate then as we drive out of the lay-by.

0:27:530:27:58

Then we have the other camera which is set up to look at the sign,

0:27:580:28:02

just in that top corner there.

0:28:020:28:04

As they're both running at the same time, we can use this as evidence

0:28:040:28:08

if we were to take a case to court where we caught somebody fly-tipping in this area.

0:28:080:28:14

OK, so the lay-by is rigged.

0:28:140:28:16

Now the girls will start their surveillance operation, hoping to catch someone in the act

0:28:160:28:21

and bring a successful prosecution.

0:28:210:28:24

It's really good fun coming out to set them up.

0:28:240:28:27

It's character-building and playing around in lay-bys is something not many people get to do every day.

0:28:270:28:34

Steady on there, Anna!

0:28:340:28:37

Later in the programme, we'll see how their CCTV helped bang up a neighbour from hell.

0:28:370:28:42

We're back with the Environment Agency and Metropolitan Police now

0:28:490:28:54

raiding a site where ten waste yards are operating without permits.

0:28:540:28:58

The whole place is a mess.

0:28:580:29:00

There are strict rules about how to store and dispose of this kind of scrap,

0:29:000:29:07

but an 18-month investigation by the Environment Agency has found

0:29:070:29:11

that no permits have been granted for this site

0:29:110:29:14

and there are no drainage facilities and no facilities to deal with the pollution.

0:29:140:29:19

What does this mean in reality? Well, the team are knee-deep in it.

0:29:190:29:24

This is the remnants of two buildings that were full of tyres

0:29:240:29:28

which burnt just before Christmas an this is what's left over, really.

0:29:280:29:32

There's an old sump here. We don't know how deep it is. It's full of oily kind of fire water

0:29:320:29:38

This is of concern to us from an environmental perspective,

0:29:380:29:42

but it's hard to see the difference between that and what is normal mud.

0:29:420:29:46

I'm just going to tape this area off here to make sure that none of our officers walk into this area.

0:29:460:29:52

We don't know how deep it is. It's a risk to people, so we'll look after our officers today.

0:29:520:29:58

Disgusting! A filthy, oily, watery grave - a real hazard and not just for the team.

0:29:580:30:04

Generally, surface water drains run straight through to the river,

0:30:040:30:08

so a site such as this with oil everywhere

0:30:080:30:11

is going to cause a major problem to a local river.

0:30:110:30:15

Pollutants will be seeping into the ground. Again, they will eventually get to the river.

0:30:150:30:20

Moreover, when the site is redeveloped, we've got a lot of contaminated soil to deal with.

0:30:200:30:26

There's a real risk to local rivers and streams and all the wildlife that lives nearby.

0:30:260:30:32

And it gets worse.

0:30:320:30:34

The contaminated soil could be deadly for us too.

0:30:340:30:37

The toxins can cause respiratory diseases and cancer, so the soil will have to be cleaned or removed.

0:30:370:30:43

The whole thing is one almighty mess.

0:30:430:30:46

This again should be for the landowner to clear up.

0:30:470:30:51

Their argument at the moment is these tyres are their own tyres from their own haulage business

0:30:510:30:58

and therefore weren't waste, but if they're taking them off their lorries,

0:30:580:31:02

why are they storing them here? They should be sending them off for recycling.

0:31:020:31:08

If they are waste and they're burnt down, it should be up to the landowner to get rid of this.

0:31:080:31:13

This site is just a mess and needs clearing up.

0:31:130:31:16

It certainly does. And from one pile of badly burnt tyres to another stack sitting in yet another yard.

0:31:160:31:23

The owner claims that the tyres are for re-sale.

0:31:230:31:27

The Environment Agency aren't so sure.

0:31:270:31:30

Perhaps we'll do a de-pollution check list on the vehicles on site.

0:31:300:31:34

OK, and then obviously photographic evidence of the tyres in specifics and general.

0:31:340:31:40

Whilst they check the tyres, the rest of the team have discovered a breaker's yard -

0:31:400:31:45

scrap cars being broken down for their parts. There's no permit to allow for this operation here.

0:31:450:31:51

Luckily, the owner is on site.

0:31:510:31:53

-Good morning.

-Hello. Who are you?

-Me?

0:31:530:31:57

-Yeah. You're the landowner of...?

-One of these.

0:31:570:32:01

-Which one are you the landowner of?

-That one.

-This middle yard is yours?

-Yeah.

-OK.

0:32:010:32:06

We own those cars, we've got logbooks for those cars.

0:32:070:32:11

-No problem at all.

-Right.

0:32:110:32:14

The owner has all the right paperwork to prove he owns the cars. That's not a problem.

0:32:140:32:19

But he doesn't have a permit to operate a scrapyard here, so he is arrested.

0:32:190:32:24

The number one team back there, the middle yard, they've got the landowner on site.

0:32:240:32:29

He is being arrested, as is his son,

0:32:290:32:32

for the breaking activity there.

0:32:320:32:35

And both of those could potentially, at a magistrates court, face a £50,000 fine.

0:32:350:32:40

Ouch! That's got to break you. And it's not the only arrest he's hoping to make.

0:32:400:32:46

The operator of the site behind me is currently being questioned by Environment Agency officers.

0:32:460:32:52

And this is an interview under caution they will be doing.

0:32:520:32:56

That's for not having a permit on this site.

0:32:560:32:59

The police are uncovering their own evidence too.

0:32:590:33:03

It's been useful from the police perspective because we've got here a lost or stolen vehicle.

0:33:030:33:09

We've had three people arrested and we're going to the police statio to do interviews under caution.

0:33:090:33:16

Other people who are operating on site we'll invite in for tape-recorded interviews,

0:33:160:33:21

then we'll be preparing case files.

0:33:210:33:24

But that still leaves the big, enormous, gigantic issue of cleaning up this site.

0:33:270:33:33

The operation is not over.

0:33:330:33:35

Owen and his team will be working with the people running each of these yards

0:33:350:33:40

to make sure their businesses operate safely and properly.

0:33:400:33:44

If everyone had been above board, it could have all been so much simpler.

0:33:440:33:50

We talked to people who have moved from being illegal to being legal

0:33:500:33:54

on a concreted site with the proper facilities in and they're wondering why they didn't do it years ago.

0:33:540:34:00

Yes, it's expensive, but the amount of work they can do is much greater.

0:34:000:34:05

Hear that, all you filthy rotters? Do it properly and life is a whole lot easier.

0:34:050:34:11

An outrageous story for you now of the most brazen rubbish dumper you could imagine.

0:34:110:34:17

We're back in Blaby where the district council is fighting back against the fly-tippers

0:34:170:34:23

who constantly blight the community, ruining it for good, decent locals.

0:34:230:34:28

I think it's disgraceful, really.

0:34:290:34:31

There's a tip just down the road.

0:34:310:34:34

They can just tip it there instead of illegally doing it, really.

0:34:340:34:39

If you made them clean it up, they'd think twice before doing it again.

0:34:390:34:43

People think nobody's going to see them dump their rubbish.

0:34:430:34:47

I think it's your responsibility to dispose of it in the correct places.

0:34:470:34:52

As well as the cost of clearing up this little lot,

0:34:520:34:57

the council spent nearly £23,000 last year taking legal action against those responsible.

0:34:570:35:03

Anna Hillier runs the Environmental Protection Team here.

0:35:030:35:07

For over four years, her job has involved taking on Blaby's filthy, rotten scoundrels.

0:35:070:35:12

People get really worked up and stressed out about it,

0:35:120:35:15

so it's great to be able to help them and improve the environment where people live.

0:35:150:35:21

Ah, another lovely person dedicated to keeping our streets clean. It's great to see.

0:35:210:35:27

Despite her passion and experience, Anna's got one case in her files that simply took her breath away.

0:35:270:35:33

It all started in September 2007 when a new resident on this quiet estate reported

0:35:330:35:40

that someone was chucking litter over his fence and right into his garden. The cheek of it!

0:35:400:35:46

Anna was called in to investigate.

0:35:460:35:49

The type of waste was general household waste.

0:35:490:35:52

You can see there's food containers, dirty nappies.

0:35:520:35:55

It was really disgusting. You can imagine it really smelt.

0:35:550:35:59

Phew, I bet! Dirty nappies? That's unbelievable!

0:36:000:36:04

But where on earth could the rubbish have come from?

0:36:040:36:07

As you can see, it must have come from the house on the other side of the fence. Don't worry.

0:36:070:36:13

The litter-thrower doesn't live there any more.

0:36:130:36:16

Some of the rubbish was landing on a bit of council land

0:36:160:36:20

and the rest into Mark Richards' garden.

0:36:200:36:23

I had to clean dirty nappies away

0:36:230:36:26

and it was like wet nappies as well because the rain had got into them.

0:36:260:36:31

It wasn't a very nice thing to clean up,

0:36:310:36:34

especially when they're not your own child's.

0:36:340:36:38

And it's... I just hated it.

0:36:390:36:41

Can you believe what you're hearing?

0:36:410:36:44

Mark's got three young boys. Imagine having to clear this lot up

0:36:440:36:48

before you can even let your kids out in the garden! And it wasn't the odd bit of rubbish here and there.

0:36:480:36:54

Certainly in some places, it was up to the top of the wire fence and beyond.

0:36:540:36:59

There was just so much waste at the back of these houses. It was disgusting.

0:36:590:37:04

So how much are we talking, Anna?

0:37:040:37:07

In the region of 380 kilograms.

0:37:070:37:09

-I'm sorry. I must have misheard. How much did you say?

-380 kilograms of waste.

0:37:090:37:15

It took us... There were two council flatbed lorries here and they were full of the waste.

0:37:150:37:20

That's unbelievable. In old money, that's the best part of 60 stone in someone's household rubbish.

0:37:200:37:27

I'm speechless! Well, not for long because I'm too outraged.

0:37:270:37:32

What I don't get is why the litter-thrower didn't put this lot out for the bin men to take away.

0:37:320:37:37

It was just pure ignorance on her part.

0:37:370:37:42

She probably didn't care about what was going on.

0:37:420:37:47

She didn't care about what or who it was affecting.

0:37:470:37:50

The rubbish wasn't just dirty and unsightly. It was attracting something much worse.

0:37:500:37:56

When we cleared it, there was evidence of rodents, rat infestations as well,

0:37:560:38:01

so this whole alleyway down here was pretty disgusting.

0:38:010:38:06

It was dangerous too - evidence of broken bottles on the pathway.

0:38:060:38:10

This story just gets worse and worse, doesn't it?

0:38:100:38:13

With my boys being here and me just being moved in, I was quite concerned with what was going on

0:38:130:38:19

because obviously the bottles were breaking.

0:38:190:38:22

I couldn't let my children in the garden while things were being thrown out.

0:38:220:38:27

I really did think about moving.

0:38:270:38:30

That's outrageous. No-one should be driven from their home by a litter lout.

0:38:300:38:35

Anna needed to get to the bottom of this and fast.

0:38:350:38:38

Luckily, there was evidence in the rubbish that suggested it had come from Mark's neighbour.

0:38:380:38:43

There were nine letters which had her name and address,

0:38:430:38:47

which can show us then that the waste is from her.

0:38:470:38:51

Nine letters - that's pretty good evidence. Anna tried to do it the nice way.

0:38:510:38:56

She knocked on the lady's door, wrote letters and invited her in for an interview,

0:38:560:39:01

but the woman ignored the lot and she carried on chucking her rubbish over the fence.

0:39:010:39:06

The second time, there was less waste, because it re-occurred after a couple of months.

0:39:060:39:12

And I think there was something like 13 stone again worth of waste.

0:39:120:39:18

It was time to get tough. There was only one thing for it.

0:39:180:39:22

The council approached me and asked me if cameras could be put up,

0:39:220:39:28

so they can film over a period of time

0:39:280:39:31

to see if they can catch whoever was throwing this rubbish away.

0:39:310:39:35

Covert surveillance - that should do it.

0:39:350:39:38

They placed the cameras on the window sill pointing out the window,

0:39:380:39:43

facing the actual fence way, so you could actually see clearly the back door.

0:39:430:39:49

And less than 24 hours later...

0:39:490:39:52

Gotcha!

0:39:530:39:55

It was quite funny really because everybody knew the camera was there.

0:39:550:40:00

When the rubbish came over, I was actually in the garden at the time.

0:40:000:40:05

I thought, "That's it - caught 'em!"

0:40:060:40:09

That's the look of one relieved man.

0:40:090:40:12

Let's take a look at what the camera saw.

0:40:120:40:15

This is the fence and this is obviously the lady's house here.

0:40:150:40:19

What you can see is her periodically come out,

0:40:190:40:22

lift up pieces of rubbish from by the fence and actually throw it over

0:40:220:40:26

I've never seen anything like this in my life. What on earth was this woman thinking?

0:40:260:40:32

It seems such a bizarre case that someone would do something like this.

0:40:320:40:37

You can see from the CCTV footage that she comes out with her rubbish and places it by the fence.

0:40:370:40:42

She then goes away, comes back and it's almost like she looks around,

0:40:420:40:47

takes a piece of rubbish out, throws it over the fence, goes away and does something else,

0:40:470:40:53

comes back and repeats that behaviour, so it's a really strange case.

0:40:530:40:58

And this is an ongoing issue.

0:40:580:41:01

From the amount of waste that we found there on both occasions,

0:41:010:41:05

she was doing this on a regular basis.

0:41:050:41:07

Once Anna and her team had got the footage, they went through it with a fine-tooth comb.

0:41:070:41:13

You can see she's got a milk carton and a soft drinks carton.

0:41:130:41:17

Then a little later, you can see each carton actually flying over the fence.

0:41:170:41:23

And then there's a crisp packet.

0:41:230:41:25

The evidence was overwhelming. The woman was charged and taken to court.

0:41:250:41:30

Just wait until you hear her explanation.

0:41:300:41:34

She said she thought there was a skip behind here.

0:41:340:41:37

Well, the space isn't big enough for a skip.

0:41:370:41:40

She was sentenced to 120 hours' community service

0:41:400:41:44

and you can have a wry smile when you hear what she had to do.

0:41:440:41:48

It was quite an apt punishment really

0:41:480:41:51

because she ended up causing the rubbish

0:41:510:41:54

and then she was given community service to clean other people's rubbish up.

0:41:540:42:00

And I thought, "Yeah, justice!"

0:42:000:42:03

Justice indeed!

0:42:030:42:05

The woman moved out of the house shortly afterwards and there have been no problems since.

0:42:050:42:11

What a result!

0:42:110:42:13

And an update on the arrests after the raid on the site of illegal waste yards.

0:42:170:42:22

Three people were arrested including a father and son team

0:42:220:42:26

running this breaker's yard without the right permits.

0:42:260:42:30

They've now all changed the way they work, so won't be charged.

0:42:300:42:34

They've agreed to only handle low-risk waste which means recovering and re-using car parts,

0:42:340:42:40

but they're not allowed to remove oils, fluids and hazardous components,

0:42:400:42:45

the stuff you need an environmental permit for,

0:42:450:42:48

so three operators are now working legally. Result!

0:42:480:42:51

Across Britain, our environment enforcers are working tirelessly

0:42:530:42:58

to make our country a cleaner and greener place to live.

0:42:580:43:02

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

0:43:020:43:07

Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd 2011

0:43:230:43:27

Email [email protected]

0:43:270:43:30

The incredible story of the woman who for months threw her household rubbish over the fence in to her neighbour's garden; a dramatic raid on 10 illegal scrap yards where environment investigators are shocked by what they find; and volunteers clean up Pembrokeshire's beaches.