The documentary series goes behindthe scenes of an investigation by the Environment Agency, including undercover surveillance, a night-time mission and a tense raid.
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Every day, a never-ending war is being waged across Britain
to clean up our towns and countryside.
It's a massive problem. We all have to live with the mess other people make.
A hefty fine would certainly make them think again.
I want to live in a nice, clean environment.
But people throw rubbish around. They don't care and don't respect where they live.
From the tonnes of cigarette butts, dogs' mess and household rubbish,
to mountains of tyres and skiploads of builders' waste.
It's a constant battle. A constant battle. It's a war.
It's a war to stop this fly-tipping happening.
We're on the front line of the clear-up
and the fight back
with our dedicated teams tracking down the rogues and putting the "great" back into Britain.
It may harm your defence if you fail to mention when questioned something you rely on in court.
On today's programme,
we're behind the scenes of an incredible investigation by the Environment Agency
including undercover surveillance, a night-time mission and a tense raid.
A lot of adrenaline. A lot of stress.
Fly-tipping on an unbelievable scale.
This lot included a boat, and not just one, but two aeroplanes!
This is where we should have the sheep, the cattle, and not all this rubbish being accumulated.
And the family business that took action after finding this lot on their doorstep.
The moment we opened them, they were full of dog muck. The smell was revolting.
What can you say?
Welcome to the dirty, dirty world of Filthy Rotten Scoundrels.
Now, let's face it. Most of us have got a car.
They're part of our everyday lives.
But how many of us think about what happens to them once their big end goes?
Well, the scrap industry is big business and a complicated business.
Every step of the process has to be done properly.
There are strict rules and regulations and you need environmental permits and licences.
That is unless you're a recycling rogue who just wants cash to burn.
Today, we're going behind the scenes with the guys whose job it is to catch the rogues.
It's an incredible story following every step of the investigation
including camouflage gear...
We have to go in covertly, normally one in the morning.
..secret night-time missions...
I'm installing one of the cameras.
It's key I don't get anything wrong and then we have the footage we need.
I'm going to dress up as a fisherman, walker.
..and culminating in a full-blown raid.
You don't have to say anything, but anything you don't mention... you cannot rely on in court.
The purpose of this operation is to hit the big, the bad and the ugly.
And this site is and does fall into that category.
Meet Michael Griffiths, a rooting-tooting sheriff from the Environment Agency
who has some polluting pests in his sight.
This operation is one we started as a result of a large number of complaints
that thick, black fires are taking place.
The evidence from the fire brigade who have attended a large number of these fires
is that the fires are up to 20 metres square at the base.
Which is a massive fire!
Michael's involved because he suspects it's waste that's being burned,
specifically from old cars and lorries once stripped for scrap.
We believe that the remains are either burned
or left to wallow in the ground.
All the pollutants, all the petrol, all the oils, water coolants,
Each of those offences carries an unlimited fine by the courts
and a maximum five-years imprisonment on each charge.
So we're not talking minor offences here.
The aim of this investigation is to painstakingly gather evidence over time
to try and prove the offences.
Time to bring out the secret cameras.
This gives us the opportunity to gather evidence.
Who's visiting the site? What sort of vehicles are going there?
What sort of vehicles are leaving the site? How many are being left
and what's happening to those vehicles?
Michael has an Aladdin's Cave of gadgets and gizmos
which he hopes will get him enough evidence of what's going on on this site.
But even getting them into place requires an incredible undercover operation.
We have to go in covertly. It's normally one o'clock in the morning.
We have to be very, very careful. This is a risky site. High risk.
So what we use is the army camo gear.
Now can you see how serious this is?
The Environment Officers have to visit the site in the dead of night, wearing camouflage gear.
All just to set up some evidence-gathering cameras.
It's a military-style operation.
It's D-Day. Well, D-Night, in this case,
as Mike and his team prepare to fix two cameras,
one at each end of the site.
The dangers for my team tonight are getting caught.
Getting compromised in-situ.
It's going to be one o'clock, two o'clock in the morning.
There's also the serious case of dogs.
We know there are three large Rottweilers loose on site
and we'll be very close to those dogs.
Rottweilers? Middle of the night? This isn't a job for the faint-hearted.
And like any good military operation, Michael briefs the team on what to do.
Probably they'll synchronise watches!
We're putting the two cameras in, one east, one west.
Team One, the Whisky car, you'll put the east one in.
We'll leave you to sort out your communications.
My car, the Victor car,
drop us off at the top and we'll go into the west-hand side
and put the camera in there. Good luck. Let's go get 'em!
This is where the adrenaline really kicks in.
I'll be installing one of the cameras.
I've done a few of these,
so I've got all the camera and wires and everything,
to make sure it all connects up.
We've got the killer angle so we can see people's faces and registration numbers.
So it's key that I don't get anything wrong
and that we get the footage we need to win the case.
It's wagons roll, as the team disappear into the night.
When they get to the location, they prepare to jump from a moving car.
OK, it's a slow-moving car, but they need to avoid being seen by any late-night spectators.
Clear behind. If there's no vehicles coming when we get over the brow, we're going.
And they're out. Within seconds, they're out of sight and en-route to the location.
Driver Mike parks up at the appointed place and waits.
I'm set up here, very close to the camera position where the guys are now installing the camera.
I'm looking here to make sure there are no vehicles that look suspicious approaching that camera location
while the two guys are in. If something looks a bit off,
a bit suspect,
I'll contact them on the radio and alert them of that fact.
The pick-up call Mike has been waiting for comes in.
Go, go, go!
And they're back, cameras set up and ready to roll.
Off the record, I'm getting too old for this!
Later on, we'll see what their hidden cameras found
and if they had enough evidence to raid the site.
Time now to visit our friends from the north.
This is Watery Lane in Preston, a place drowning under the problem of fly-tipping.
We've had mattresses dumped down here.
Down the road we have everything dumped.
Anything gets dumped down there cos there's a couple of lay-bys.
Over here we've had chairs, tables.
Some of the items that are tipped are unbelievable.
Changing the bathroom,
refurbishing the house, all these things. Bathrooms, wardrobes, et cetera.
Dick Sharples and his nephew Michael own the local timber merchants.
The company gates are about 100 metres from a junction up this narrow road.
It's made the lane the perfect spot for a bit of casual fly-tipping.
Well, a lot, actually.
All three brothers have been down here over 50 years.
Over the years, it's got worse, the more dumping that's going on.
It gets annoying when you turn up. Most dumping happens at the weekend.
You turn up on a Monday morning with the rubbish down here.
You don't need it on a Monday morning!
The problem's often so bad, it blocks the entire lane
and the guys can't get through their gates.
It makes is very inconvenient when you and customers can't get into your premises.
Because these guys think it's quite acceptable
to tip their rubbish at our gate.
You're trying to run a business
and you can't because people are dumping stuff constantly.
You have to clean it up all the time. We're not here to clean things up.
Quite right, Michael. This is a family business and you should be concentrating on that,
not shifting other people's rubbish before you can get through the door.
We've actually had...
OK, enough. Even I'm drowning under this!
Someone pull the plug. That's exactly what the Sharples did.
CCTV is just above the gate up there.
It shines straight down. We've got the whole stretch covered.
Fingers crossed, when people pull up, we have a really good image of them most of the time,
and reg plates nearly always.
It's deterred quite a few people
but there are individuals who, whether they don't realise the cameras are there,
or aren't concerned the cameras are there, and they carry on tipping.
So let's take a look at some of these rotters caught in the act.
Paul Cookson, Environmental Officer, takes up the story.
The first incident we looked at was the painter's van.
He reversed the full length of this road, right up to the gates.
He sort of stopped just around here.
If you look at the road surface, you can see slight remnants of paint on the floor
where the lad stopped the van and the paint tin fell out onto the floor.
Once the lads had got into this location,
all they had to do was open the back doors.
The back doors shield them from the main road so nobody can see what the vehicle's doing.
They're then free to throw their rubbish onto both sides.
They were quite brazen with it.
I mean, right behind me you can see the pole with the CCTV camera on it.
Smile, boys! The cheek of it.
They even spot the camera and carry on!
They were quite happy to stand by the back of the van,
throwing the stuff as far as they could into the woodland on that side.
On this side, they dropped it over the soil embankment.
One thing they did was put two wooden fence panels on the side of the road.
Sheer, stupid laziness.
Oi, mate, that's my line! But he's right.
We're not far from the local free dumps.
Why didn't these rogues just take their stuff there, like good, decent citizens?
It's causing a massive problem for the timber yard.
But there's another reason why Paul is particularly annoyed with fly-tippers here.
There are big plans for the area.
The reason why it's so annoying to us is we're spending a lot of money developing the left-hand side
into a nature reserve, and they're throwing pots of paint!
Paint is a dangerous chemical. There's lots of things that took a lot of time clearing up in there.
We've got the fence panels and the other stuff on the other side.
So it was a considerable amount of work we had to do to clean up the mess they created.
All in all, it's pretty disgraceful.
The filthy rotters are damaging local businesses
and harming local wildlife.
At least we have them bang to rights, yeah?
We know roughly the age of the van, we know the body style.
We know it's got four roof bars and glass windows in the back.
Very, very distinctive.
Yeah, but you got them, right?
Unfortunately, we never did manage to identify either the two lads with the van
or identify the owner of the vehicle.
How incredibly frustrating they couldn't read the registration on the van.
But there has been one interesting development.
Paul and his team found some letters in amongst the dumped rubbish
with a woman's name and address on them.
When we went to see her, she admitted she'd had decorating done by two young lads.
Unfortunately, she wasn't prepared to tell us who they were
for fear of getting them into trouble.
She, on the other hand, was happy to take the risk of appearing at court herself
because she'd allowed her waste to be taken away by unregistered waste carriers.
She was prosecuted at Preston Magistrates' Court for breach of household duty of care
and subsequently she was fined £300.
A lesson for all of us.
You need to know who's taking your waste away.
You can't just pass it on to any Tom, Dick or Harry and cross your fingers.
But don't think Paul's given up on the fly-tipping criminals.
No, not for one second!
To this day I'm still looking for vehicles of that type.
Either at work or at home. Whatever part of the country I'm in.
If I see a transit van driving along the road,
I look at the rear doors to see if I can spot glass panels.
It's quite an unusual vehicle.
Eventually they are going to come to our notice
and if so, they still face the possibility of being prosecuted for fly-tipping.
Did you hear that, boys?
Paul will find you!
Let's take a look at them again.
Recognise them? If so, get in touch with Paul.
Later in the programme, Paul follows his nose to track down
that filthy scoundrel who dumped one stinking mess down this lane.
The smell was horrendous.
Each bag contained dog faeces and soiled dog bedding.
Ready to be transported to another world?
We're situated between two very important parts of the English countryside here.
To a peaceful place where the grass is green and the views stretch for miles?
It's very beautiful and very important to preserve for its character.
Where the sun shines every day of the year.
A bit of poetic licence, but bear with me.
We're on the foothills of The Mendips and the Cheddar Gorge...
There's even good cheese to be had.
..which in turn roll down to the Somerset Levels.
Did you say roll? We could make a whole picnic here!
Seriously, though, there is a lot to recommend this place.
Cheddar's a very rural area. Lots of beautiful views
and tourists come a long distance to see the area. It's a very nice place to live.
And very nice place to visit.
Generally, it's quite a happy community.
It's one of those villages that even though it's fairly big, everyone knows everyone.
You just look out the window of the car
and you see all the greenery.
It's all so peaceful.
Sounds lovely, doesn't it? I know what you're thinking, though.
You're expecting me to say the place is being ruined by fly-tipping.
Don't worry. Haven't you noticed the place is spotless?
We never come across fly-tipping at all, around this area.
Not anywhere. We've been out for rides. We don't see it.
Fly-tipping doesn't usually happen in Cheddar.
It's not usually a problem for us.
So no fly-tipping and not even the odd bit of litter?
It's not even like big things as well, it's like cigarette butts.
You don't see them thrown on the floor here.
It's more respectful than that.
People go out of their way to put it in a bin.
It's a lot more caring, really.
Sounds like you could eat your cheese and biscuits off the pavement!
And that's the way the locals like it.
They take matters into their own hands.
They organise semi-annual litter picks where they all go out on a Sunday morning.
Put on heavy-duty gloves, grab a litter-pick.
They go out and sweep the entire village, not that there's much to pick up!
Sorry, yes, there was something I was going to mention.
You know that cupboard you have at home?
The one where you throw everything in, then close the door
and hope you won't have to open it again?
Well, just take a look at Cheddar's dirty secret.
It puts the kitchen cupboard in the shade, doesn't it?
I can't even begin to count the number of bin bags in here.
To be fair, I should say this is all on private land,
inside a private building.
What the eye doesn't see and all that. But let me take you outside.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!
I feel one of my lists coming on.
A van, about half a dozen chairs.
The obligatory sofa. A dining room table.
A lot of household waste, plastic containers. Hang on, is that another van?
Yep, a second van.
And, of course, no self-respecting fly tip is complete without some old tyres.
Breathtaking, isn't it?
And those poor, proud, clean and tidy residents of Cheddar
happened across this lot while on one of their regular litter-picks.
You can imagine their shock.
Not so much as a cigarette butt in the village. Then this.
It's enough to make you choke on your cheese roll.
They got straight on to the local council.
Looking at the site, what was happening was that the owner was starting to use this
as a combination of a dumping ground and a storage facility.
So he was storing all these items in the open countryside
and from our perspective, this is agricultural land.
This is where we should have sheep, cattle, not a place to have all this rubbish being accumulated.
Not much room for Old MacDonald in this lot.
And you haven't seen the half of it.
Did I mention the boat?
Unbelievable, isn't it?
And, wait for it, an entire aeroplane!
A 1950 Piper PA20 Pacer, unless I'm very much mistaken.
And just for good measure, the shell of a second plane, too.
How on earth did anyone get all this into one field
without anyone else noticing?
What was happening was that the countryside here was being ruined
by the actions of the owner of the site.
For that reason, we had to step in.
But there was a problem.
The dump was half a mile from the nearest house.
Who owned this land?
If the council couldn't find them,
they'd have to clear the whole field themselves at taxpayers' expense.
People in the Cheddar Valley stepped up and said, "Not on our doorstep."
People have got in touch with me at the Cheddar Valley Gazette and asked could I run some photographs
and make it known.
So I gladly did, to be honest.
Eventually, I'm glad to say, the council did track down the landowner
and they made him clear up the whole mess.
So, time for some before and after shots.
As a newspaper, we've seen some crazy things fly-tipped in our time.
Mannequins, a perfectly good hoover propped up against the village sign last week.
But aeroplanes, that was an entirely new thing!
We have a lot of tourists coming through this part of Somerset as well.
So they come across these fields on their walks and rambles.
It's very important to them about what they see and expect to see.
So keeping the countryside clean and in a suitable condition is important to Sedgemoor.
Good work all around.
So, case closed?
Here we are again in 2011, back at the site.
Looking at it today, just behind the concrete building you can see emerging yet another caravan.
So from an enforcement perspective, we'll be back here on Monday
and chasing down the owner to ask why is his caravan back,
what's he doing and let's restore the countryside to what it is -
The people of Cheddar don't want more nasty surprises when out on the next litter pick,
thank you very much!
Earlier, we saw one of my favourite stories,
following Michael Griffiths and his team from the Environment Agency
as they carried out a covert night-time operation
to set up cameras to monitor a suspicious site.
They suspect that vehicles are being broken down here
and what can't be sold as scrap is being burned.
Not environmentally friendly, and not legal.
They're planning a full raid on the site, but first they need to find out what to expect.
Michael's secret squirrel cameras have been spying on vehicles going in and out of the site.
He's diligently spent all week trailing through a mind-blowing 1,200 hours of video.
What we're looking for on these videos is the frequency that people have visited the site.
Who's going to the site? How many times a day are they going to the site?
How many vehicles are being taken on site that are potentially going to be broken up?
This place is popular.
An average of 60 vehicles a day
are coming and going to the site.
So what we've got here is an old shipping container.
The thing about this is, if you see it as it goes past...
..you can see it's very aged
but that on the back indicates straightaway
that it's a refrigerated shipping container.
So the CFCs in that are massive.
It really needs de-polluting at a special establishment
and done properly.
So when we go in and do the warrant,
my team will be looking for the remnants of that shipping container.
We know it went in on a specific date
and it never came back out.
The tractor unit that took it in did, but that never did.
Vehicles going onto a site but not coming out can only mean one of two things.
Either they're being destroyed, or the yard is located in the Bermuda Triangle.
Well, as this isn't the Bermuda Triangle,
Michael suspects they're being broken up.
He needs evidence that things are being burned on site.
So it's time to raid the dressing-up box.
Today, I'm going to dress up as a fisherman, walker.
I'm going to walk past the front entrance of the site,
walk along the lane
with a camera strapped to my back
and have a look if I can place it anywhere without being seen.
Fraught with danger.
I've got a few cover plans in mind.
If I get stopped and challenged, hopefully they'll believe what I say,
that I'm a lost fisherman looking for a place to sit.
If they believe that, they'll believe anything.
You've got to admire this guy.
Armed with waders and a walkie-talkie,
Michael takes steps into the unknown for evidence of burning.
I'm really apprehensive because on the other side of these woods,
is a complete unknown.
I can hear the dogs already.
I hope it's not me they've got the scent of.
You and me, both, Michael.
A nerve-wracking hour later
and he's back with a tale to tell.
I found myself face-to-face with two vehicles.
One with the suspect in and another guy.
And one with two other guys in.
They sort of pinned me in the middle.
But I came up with a cover story.
I was from Cambridge doing a survey on the wildlife in the area.
To which the suspect pointed to a rather large weed
and said, "What's that called, then?"
Quick-thinking as I was, I said, "I don't know the actual name of it,
"but I do know the Latin name.
"Which is so-and-so so-and-so."
Which I totally made up!
And he took it. It was unbelievable!
Michael, you are what us Latin scholars call, "Vir audax".
That is a brave and bold man, since you asked.
But what about the point of the mission? Any evidence of burning?
I totally searched the area outside the target premises.
And there was no signs of burning whatsoever.
So the burning must have taken place inside the perimeter of the premises.
Ooh, a lot of adrenaline.
A lot of stress.
And no result.
So after all that, Michael is no nearer getting the evidence he needs.
Time for a bit of help from above.
Photos from a police helicopter give Michael enough cause for concern
about what's happening on the site.
A decision is made. Michael and his team along with the police are going in.
It's the morning of the raid and Michael is briefing police
and Environment Agency Officers.
The plan was, originally, to go and arrest the owner of the site at his home address.
But we can't 100% house him.
So the plan is I'm going to serve the warrant.
I'll control the situation and tell him what I want
and we'll move all the workers off-site, or make them sit in the caravans.
Then I've got a team of 12 officers all geared up, ready to come in
and we'll strip the site. There are dogs on site.
But I'll try and get the people on the site to control those dogs.
While we're on site, we may get visitors
from scrap dealers and people with big wagons bringing scrap in.
Let them through.
Let them through. Once they get to the front of the premises,
myself and Paul will get somebody to deal with it.
They'll get details of the driver, details of the owner,
details of what's in that lorry, what's scrap,
and a prosecution will follow on them as well.
As the convoy heads off, the pressure is starting to get to Michael.
This is the culmination of three months of hard work.
It falls or is a success by what happens today.
Although we've got the evidence from the cameras,
we still need the physical evidence today.
Myself and Paul have been in this situation loads and loads of times.
You don't get used to it.
It's exciting. You get an adrenaline buzz but it's very nerve-wracking.
There's a lot of risks. We don't know how many people are on site.
That first five or ten minutes you're on edge.
You don't know how it's going to go. I'm a bit apprehensive.
Coming up: After months of preparation,
Michael comes face-to-face with the man who runs this site.
Apart from the two dogs, is there anything I should know about that will cause a danger?
Back in Preston, and a particularly memorable dump - if you pardon the pun!
I turned up for work on a Monday morning. Pulled up, and just down here
to the floor was a load of bin bags.
They were full of all sorts of stuff, with a horrible stench coming from them.
When we opened them up, they were full of dog muck. The smell was revolting.
You get a horrible smell instantly. It knocks you sick.
I'll say. I just cannot begin to understand why someone
would dump bin bags full of dog poo down a country lane.
The family put in a desperate call to the council.
When we came down to investigate this,
we were faced with just the dumping of black bags.
We come across black bags dumped all the time
so it's our nature to open the bags
to look through them to see if we can find any evidence to say where the bags are from.
Eugh! Don't do it!
I'm opening the bags. The contents were degraded dog faeces.
The smell was horrendous.
Each bag contained dog faeces and soiled dog bedding
which was ripped up paper that had been spread about in the kennel.
It's full of urine. It smelt to high heaven!
Oh, no! How foul is that?
We had to transport them to our yard where we could open them in our secure yard
rather than disturb the waste on site and risk polluting the ground here.
So then the next thing was that the person driving the van
had to suffer the smell of the bags in the van all the way back to the yard.
No-one should have to go through that for some filthy rotten scoundrel.
It makes my stomach churn just hearing about it.
Luckily, the dirty deed had been captured on camera.
The chap in the red Defender came from London Road, behind us.
He went slightly past the junction,
immediately reversed into the track leading up the builder's yard.
He came right up to the gates.
He stopped his vehicle about this point
and we could see that he opened up the back gates.
Now, the film showed him going into the back of the vehicle
and bringing something out and dumping it at this spot.
Eugh! Hold your nose and avert your eyes.
Actually, the photographic evidence is so disgusting, I'm not going to show the worst of it.
Paul was determined to track down the dirty dumper.
He couldn't make out the car number plate from the CCTV
so he turned to the police for help.
They did a broad spectrum search for red Land Rover Defenders of a certain age
with a certain type of body.
What the police came up with was better than Paul could have imagined.
They came back and told us there was just one vehicle
of that type registered in the Preston area.
Bingo! What a result!
And the news just got better.
The owner of the vehicle lived less than a mile away from this location,
just on the other side of the riverbank.
Is that a satisfied smile I detect around your lips, Paul?
Go on, tell us. What happened when you went to investigate?
Lo and behold, right outside his address,
was a V registration red Land Rover Defender
of exactly the same body and description as the one at the scene.
This dirty dog was busted.
He was taken in for interview.
When he was faced with the CCTV footage showing him dumping the waste,
he obviously had no alternative but to admit the offence.
Caught with his pants down.
His explanation to us was that his father had warned him to clean out the kennels on one occasion
and that had resulted in a lot of the bags of waste being stored at the house.
And he'd been told to get rid of them.
He drove just onto the other side of the river into a quiet little cul-de-sac
and threw the bags out of his van
at the side of the road, hoping that that was it.
He'd finished his work. He'd completed his task. He wasn't bothered.
He wasn't bothered what happened with those bags.
He might not have been, yet the magistrates were.
The magistrates were not amused with his conduct and fined him £1,000 plus costs.
-I suppose that's what happens if you...
-..in your own back yard!
It sent out a clear message to fly-tippers abusing this lane.
But Michael's got a message of his own.
When people are caught fly-tipping, because of the amount of stuff we're getting here,
I think you should be talking maybe a prison sentence.
Obviously not a long one, but they are breaking the law.
They cause us a nuisance so let's cause them a nuisance and maybe lock them up.
Back now to Michael Griffiths from the Environment Agency,
on the trail of a gang of polluters who he suspects of breaking up and disposing of vehicles
with no thought for the environment.
After months of planning, spying and collecting evidence,
Michael and his team are planning an audacious raid on the property
to see just what's been going on.
I have in my possession a magistrate's warrant
to search these premises for any evidence
in relation to Environment Pollution regulations offences.
They are going to search everywhere on site.
-Apart from the dogs is there anything I should know about that's a danger?
..anything you do not mention when questioned you cannot rely on in court...
With the suspect arrested and on his way to the police station,
Michael and his team are free to dig in the dirt and uncover the full extent
of what's been happening at the yard.
Bingo! We said we were looking for the burning on site
but we weren't sure. That's why I had a look
And we couldn't find it. There we go.
This is where the massive fires were
and you can see the extent the fires have gone.
It's even burnt the trees.
And there we have a fire ready to go.
No wonder the fires could be seen for miles around.
That bonfire is the size of a small house.
Some of the debris on it looks all too familiar.
During the reviewing of the evidence,
I made comment of a trailer that came in that was a refrigerated trailer.
The blue foam is from a refrigeration unit.
They've brought it in, chopped it up
and not had any care in the world for any of the environmental issues.
And there's the evidence.
The guys on this raid are all experienced officers.
But even Paul, who helped set up the hidden cameras,
is staggered by the size of the operation.
It's big and blatant.
We go to legit licensed scrap yards and some of them aren't half the size of this.
This is a full-blown gory operation. It's as bad as it gets.
All the liquids from the refrigeration, the oil in the engines, the brake fluid,
the radiators, everything is released to the ground, causing pollution.
Everything else that's of no value to them, they're setting fire to
and they're making a fortune out of selling the scrap metal.
Yeah, this is pretty gory.
And speaking of gory, those pools of water look an odd colour.
That's obviously full of radiator coolant.
You get that semi-fluorescent look to it.
So the chemicals in that... It looks quite deep.
They'll just drain straight into the ground.
I don't think I've seen a site as bad as this for pollutants being everywhere.
Not really what you'd want flowing into your water supply.
And there's so much oil on the ground, it looks like a tanker's grounded nearby.
This is a metal tank we found on site.
It's full of thick, black, what looks like engine oil.
There are oil filters floating there as well.
It's not bonded or anything, not protected.
I'm trying to get a sample, but it's so thick it's not siphoning out of the tube.
It'll take a while to get anything out.
We'll analyse that and get it tested for the oil types
and any sort of hazardous substances.
Michael and his team spent all day collecting samples and evidence to be analysed.
So potentially this land is blighted. It could affect the ground water.
It could be seeping into the water course that runs along the boundary.
As well as the chemicals,
the team finds a vast array of engine parts.
What we're doing is going through the vehicles that these engines have been removed from.
We're checking them in terms of the identification numbers
that are on the engines themselves
and whether the engines have been de-polluted.
So when you are dealing with engines, you have to remove all the fluids from the vehicle.
Strip out the oils, remove the oil filters and so forth.
We're checking these and these four engines all have oil filters still attached
which means they haven't been de-polluted so they're potentially a hazardous waste.
It's taken six months of planning, three government agencies
and a lot of stress and hard work for Michael.
But it's been worth it.
These people think these environment issues are minor offences
and it's not serious.
You can see by the state of this site it's a serious offence.
So as a result, it's fantastic.
Good news all round.
But the hard work's not over.
Now Michael and his team have to work through the evidence
to see whether they can bring a case to court.
Every week of the year,
dedicated teams are working hard across our villages, towns and cities,
determined to clean up our streets.
Join us next time, when we'll be chasing down more filthy rotten scoundrels.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
This episode goes behindthe scenes of an incredible investigation by the Environment Agency, including undercover surveillance, a night-time mission and a tense raid. Plus the rubbish dump that included a boat and two aeroplanes; and the family business that set up cameras to catch persistent fly-tippers on their land.