Documentary series. A family's home is flooded after fly-tipping in a river caused it to burst its banks, and a father and son are caught dumping rubbish next to a heritage site.
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Every day, a never-ending war is being waged across Britain
to clean up our towns and countryside.
I really hope these people are brought to court
and they go to prison over this.
I could actually cry when I see this, because it's such a mess.
From the tons of cigarettes butts, dogs' mess and household rubbish
to mountains of tyres and skip-loads of builders' waste...
Glass bottles there. Er, cans...
The vast majority of the stuff what's been dumped here
could have been recycled.
They've no respect for anybody. It's absolutely disgusting.
We're on the front line of the clear-up and the fight-back,
with the 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 later rely on in court.
On today's programme, a father-and-son team of fly-tippers
wreak havoc in Middlesbrough. But guess who's looking at you, kid!
If you have an area where people think they can dump things,
it brings the whole area down.
And we take a trip down to sunny Cornwall,
only to uncover the grim state of our precious beaches.
A plastic bottle can take between 450 years and 1,000 years to break down.
Welcome to the dirty world of Filthy Rotten Scoundrels.
First today, take a breath of fresh air.
This is gorgeous South Wales,
renowned for its idyllic countryside.
Let's just pause for a second to take in those views.
It's a place where sheep roam freely
and fishermen while away the hours by picturesque rivers.
Looks perfect, doesn't it? What could possibly spoil it?
You guessed it - this horrible, horrible muck,
an astonishing amount of rubbish just dumped
by filthy rascals who couldn't give a monkey's
about our stunning landscape.
And the locals are devastated.
As you can see, it's incredibly beautiful.
Primarily I use the area for fishing, and one of the things is,
it is spoiling the area, and it's a great shame
that you do have, unfortunately, people now fly-tipping,
but it is in particular a problem in rural areas like this,
you know, areas which are isolated and remote,
and people can fly tip without being detected.
It's disgusting. Mark Sabine, from the Environment Agency in Wales,
is leading the fight-back. And what a job he's got on his hands!
'We've got real problems with fly-tipping in our rivers,
'and down on the Lliedi here, it's typical, I guess,
'of the problems that we face in the South Wales valleys.'
This is a regular inspection for Mark,
and it's not long before he stumbles across some trash.
'Strewth! You can't miss it.
Who on Earth would chuck a whole door in this lovely river?
We've had to walk up the river now for a few hundred yards
to get to this spot. There are properties on either bank,
so there's no access for us. The only way we can get in
is by walking up the river channel.
If we try and take the material out, it's really difficult for us.
We've got to manually carry all that down the river.
It's really difficult, dangerous, and expensive
for the taxpayer, as well.
So, Mark, what are we talking? Just the odd bit of waste
that won't quite fit in the dustbin?
-So, there's plastic bags...
-Well, I expected that.
There's a bag of rubbish, household rubbish,
more black bags full of domestic waste over there...
Under the trees we've got footballs.
Football? Well, maybe that just got booted over by mistake.
Up there there's a folding table and chairs.
An entire picnic set! This is starting to sound like a home-shopping catalogue.
And over here...
one of the things that causes us real problems.
We've got a mattress wedged under the trees. Oop!
Ouch! Look out, mate. You don't want to take a nosedive into this lot.
Fairly innocuous, but as soon as you throw one of these into a river,
they become absolutely sodden. They weigh an absolute ton then.
It's very difficult for us to remove them and get them out.
A mattress! It just beggars belief.
Keep walking a bit further up.
Now, this is getting ridiculous.
In the trees above me up there you've got bits of carpet
that have been thrown in, timber, plastic crates up on the bank.
In the river next to me
you've got bits of wood that's been used for DIY.
I don't know about you, but suddenly this is no joking matter.
So, in front of me we've got children's toys
been dumped in the river, bike tyres,
a concrete post...
That grey box up there,
that's a TV.
Right. That's it. I've heard enough. This is completely outrageous.
There's no proof of where any of this rubbish came from.
The nearby properties will get leaflets
warning them about fly-tipping, but without any solid evidence
to link specific people to this, that's as far as it can go.
Personally I find it disgusting
that people treat the environment like this.
People might think chucking the odd bag of rubbish
or even a TV into the river isn't doing anyone any harm.
But later in the programme, we'll see the devastation suffered
by one family after fly-tipping caused the river to burst its banks.
-The front porch over here filled up to about two foot...
..deep with water, and it was only sandbags on this secondary door
that stopped the water coming into the house.
From the tranquil South Wales countryside
to the streets of London, where a street battle is being fought
against an unusual thief, stealing, of all things, dustbins.
Is it empty, that one?
In the heart of the East End, officers from Tower Hamlets
have uncovered a baffling operation. Council bins are being stolen
from outside the shops and businesses using them.
They're then being re-sprayed and somehow reappearing on the streets
in their new guise, leased back to the innocent and unsuspecting businesses
who assume they're legit.
You know your blue bin out the back? It's been seized.
What's odd about this is no-one's ever noticed them being nicked.
And we're not talking about a pedal bin here!
These beauties are massive. They won't fit in your average swag bag.
And it's not just the odd one that's disappeared.
Tower Hamlets Council alone is losing up to 100 bins a week.
It's leaving local businesses like shops and restaurants
out of pocket, and with nowhere to put their rubbish.
And wait until you hear how much money's at stake.
It costs the council, and that means council taxpayers -
people like you and me - £160,000 a year.
Unbelievable! As one of the most deprived boroughs in the country,
that's money that should be spent on the local people
and what they really need.
What they've done is stolen the bin from all other boroughs
and then put them out to customers in this borough.
The council needs their bins back,
so they teamed up with the police to launch a surprise raid
on a site where they think they might find some stolen bins.
That is just what has been stolen in August to December.
That's not including the placements. That's not including lost revenue.
The figure is more likely to be 60, 70 grand.
Ouch! Tower Hamlets investigating officer Dave Masters
is in charge of the case.
Towards the latter end of 2010, about September,
we started getting reports from our contractor, Veolia,
that there were bins appearing on the streets in Tower Hamlets
which had been re-sprayed. Some of them had markings on them
from Hackney Council, and some of them had markings from Tower Hamlets,
London Borough of Greenwich, and they'd been re-sprayed,
and we were losing waste contracts to these businesses
where the bins were appearing.
It all sounded rather fishy,
and it probably smelt a bit fishy, too.
So now Dave is on a mission to get all his bins back
and stop whoever's stealing them from doing it again.
As well as the police raid, he and his team are hitting the streets
to try and recover as many of the bins as he can.
If caught, the cheeky bin thieves could face up to two years in prison
and an unlimited fine, so let's all play detective on this one.
What are we looking for, Dave?
Hackney bins are normally green. But what's happened is,
the bin has been re-sprayed. The manufacturer's plate
is still on the back of it, with the original serial number,
and Hackney Council keep records of their serial numbers,
and has confirmed to us that the bins in Tower Hamlets
are the same serial numbers of the bins they've had stolen.
To purchase these containers,
we'd be looking at about £450 a go for the large bulk bins,
and if you consider there are about 40 of them dotted around,
you're looking at around £15,000 to £20,000 worth of bin,
which they've also saved.
So it's fairly big business, and this is an expanding empire.
We're finding more bins turning up every week,
more bins being stolen, so we really do need to get to grips with it,
and nip it in the bud now.
So today is D-day -
or, should I say, bin day.
Dave and a team of police officers are launching a top-secret sting
in the hopes of recovering a stash of stolen bins.
It's 8:30 AM, and the operation is about to begin.
Dave Masters has been out on hundreds of these raids,
and never knows how they'll turn out.
The adrenaline is pumping. They're heading to a yard
where they suspect there are some council bins.
We don't know what to expect. We're with the police.
The site's going to be secured before we go in.
The site is huge, and littered with bins, if you'll pardon the pun.
The raid team's got a massive job on its hands
to identify if any of the bins are marked with council serial numbers.
But just as everyone's getting stuck in,
the police make a dramatic discovery.
Basically we've had explosive officers go in
and we've found 250 fog-warning signals
that normally go on the rails of British Rail and Crossrail.
They're not illegal, but these devices can generate a blast
powerful enough to blind or maim.
The atmosphere has now changed. Things are getting very tense.
Everyone is cleared off the site immediately.
The raid is halted, and the emergency services are called in
to assess the situation.
Just looking at that, it looks totally innocuous,
but apparently it's got the potential to blow the whole yard up.
Quite incredible, really.
You never know what you're going into,
and I must admit I didn't expect that, to have to evacuate the yard where explosives were.
Find out later if the situation is defused,
and if Dave and his team are allowed back on site
to investigate if any of the bins are in fact stolen.
In 2010 in North Tyneside,
building rubbish was being dumped in the car park of a derelict pub.
Not just a bit. Not just the odd bagful...
..but truckloads of the stuff.
Sadly, this kind of thing is an all-too-familiar sight.
North Tyneside Council gets over 1,000 calls a year
reporting fly-tipping, and they spend - wait for it -
£100,000 every year clearing up all the rubbish.
Yet again, that's council-tax money that should be better spent.
Local residents have had enough.
I'll be quite honest with you. I'm pretty well disgusted.
They're just dumping it all over the area.
There's no need for it.
It does make me upset, because I don't want to live somewhere
where my kids can't go out, if there's smashed TVs and glasses lying around.
These people are consistently being inconsiderate of the fact
that people do live there, and the fact that it's not on their doorstep
makes it all right. Obviously that's not the case.
The people who's doing this should definitely be heavily fined,
cos there's no excuse. No excuse whatsoever.
The council does take fly-tipping seriously.
Filthy rotten scoundrels face fines of up to £50,000.
But that clearly doesn't bother some people,
because they're making money out of dumping rubbish like this
on our streets. The guys who did this
were operating a waste-disposal business,
merrily charging ordinary people to get rid of their building rubble.
But instead of disposing of it properly,
they just dumped it and pocketed the dosh. Disgusting!
The sort of people that do this, in my opinion, are parasites.
They could run a legitimate business, and they could charge the going rate
for disposal of waste. There's no need for it.
It spoils people's quality of lives, and it's unacceptable.
Unacceptable indeed. What's worse is that this isn't any old car park.
This pub, ladies and gentlemen, is right next to a World Heritage site.
People come down to use the site and enjoy coming to the area.
If you have an area where people think they can just dump things,
it brings the whole area down. As a council,
we're trying to improve the area, bring jobs,
and let local people come here and enjoy it. We're going to develop it.
We can't do that when people have no regard for other people.
North Tyneside is in the midst of a huge regeneration programme,
and since 2010, the council has been working hard
to make this area better for everyone.
So it was all the more galling that that hard work
was being ruined by this.
The area had become a prime location for fly-tipping.
Just take a look at this lot -
insulation material, all kinds of wood,
and a whopping 22 bags of red gravel. Don't these people care?
But the council weren't going to stand by and let the bad guys win.
They started scouring the CCTV footage
covering the car park, and they struck gold.
They caught the crooks red-handed.
Just wait till you see this.
As you can see here, they've got a flatbed truck.
They've pulled onto an industrial estate within North Tyneside.
This is the second occasion they were seen in this area,
and this time they start fly-tipping. They're on the top of the vehicle
and they're removing items from the vehicle,
and throwing it into the local area. They've got wood, carpet, PVC.
It was shocking. Over a two-day period,
the CCTV caught these filthy scoundrels
dumping over three and a half tons of waste in the car park.
That's over seven skips' worth of rubbish to me and you.
They continue to dump quite happily. They think they can't be seen.
The CCTV operator has panned and got their identity,
and he's actually phoned the police at this point.
The net was closing in. The police were racing to the scene.
At this point we believe they can hear the police coming into the area,
so they do make a fast escape, or do try to.
As you can see, the son runs round to the front of the vehicle,
and they get in. As you can see, the CCTV operator got their registration,
which is really important, to confirm the identity of these people.
And they do at this point make an attempt to leave the site.
They still believe they've got away with the offence,
and they make their way up the hill.
But wait till you see what happens next.
You do see the police come into shot...
Crikey! This is turning into The Sweeney.
..and stop them for the offence.
They turned out to be a father-and-son team.
That's some family business.
Walter and Keith Henderson had been driving from ten miles away
to dump their illegal loads. Not in your own back yards, then, lads, eh?
In October 2010, they were charged with two offences of fly-tipping
and one offence of not having a waste-carrier's licence.
They were fined £300 each, but on top of that
they were sentenced to 12 months' community work.
That's a year to make up for the mess they caused.
It took two days to remove the waste that was left behind
at a cost of £450. These people had £600 costs to pay,
and 300 hours of community service. If they had done the job properly,
it would have cost them nothing, and they would have made a profit.
But instead they choose to behave like this,
-which in my opinion is unacceptable.
-Well, you can say that again.
Back to Llanelli in South Wales,
where fly-tipping into the river has reached epidemic proportions.
But the one thing about all this rubbish
is that it's not just an eyesore and a pain in the backside
to clear up. This rubbish poses a genuine threat
to every ordinary householder in the town.
The watercourse itself flows directly underneath Llanelli town centre
just a few hundred yards downstream of here.
If these items get washed down the river in floods,
they can get jammed in the culvert, which is a big tunnel,
and that can then cause flooding for local residents.
Andy and Laura Pearce live here with their five young children.
Just a matter of months after they moved in,
a rascal dumped a load of rubbish in the river, blocking it up,
and the family woke up to one of the worst days of their lives.
A mess that take your breath away.
The entire driveway here was covered in water.
We tried to close the gates to stop more getting in,
but it was ineffective, and too difficult to close.
The water came all the way up to the garage doors,
so we had to sandbag both the garage doors
to avoid water getting into the garage
and wrecking what we've got stored in the garage,
and the entire garden, again, was completely under water
to the level of a couple of feet,
so it was a real mess around here.
The whole area was floating with other people's rubbish.
The bins were due to be collected that day that the flooding happened,
and there was people's rubbish bags floating into the driveway.
What a nightmare! And as the day wore on,
that nightmare got worse.
The Environment Agency arrived at Andy and Laura's house
to help with sandbags to put in all the doorways,
but the water was rising, and it wasn't long
before water started seeping in through the front door.
-The front porch over here filled up to about two foot...
..deep with water, and it was only the sandbags on this secondary door
that stopped the water coming into the house.
The floodwater was so high out on the road,
it was coming up to the top of our wall,
which is three foot high.
And with rain forecast, the whole street spent a terrifying night
not knowing whether the water would force its way into their homes.
Some were luckier than others.
Our elderly neighbours flooded so badly
they needed lifting out of their house in the middle of the night.
Because the water had come in so deeply, they had to be taken out.
In fact it was 24 hours before the water started to subside.
But the damage had already been done.
The consequences of the flood to us were awful.
The house was filthy. The floodwater was really dirty.
The sand that came in with the water
made it really difficult to clear up.
There was quite a bit of damage to the house.
The whole of the garden was covered in debris and rubbish,
and rats at the back of our house and patio area.
It took the Pearces days to clean the mess,
and set them back thousands of pounds to fix the damage.
The 24-hour rescue operation also ran into thousands of pounds
for the Environment Agency, and all because some selfish scoundrel
couldn't be bothered to chuck out their rubbish responsibly.
Now we've realised that it was actually fly-tipping
that caused that flood, it does make me really angry
when I think about it. I don't think people that chuck stuff in rivers,
like tyres, mattresses, huge amounts of rubbish,
actually have any idea of the amount of stress and upset
that it can cause people.
And nowhere is that stress more evident
than for Andy and Laura's neighbours.
The elderly neighbours, their house was actually flooded
quite seriously, and they have really suffered because of it,
and want to move house, and it's a really sad situation
that someone has to move out of a retirement home
because of what's happened with people dumping rubbish into the river.
That is terribly sad.
These rotten rogues just had no idea of the long-term effect
their selfish actions are having on decent people.
If we'd had to make a large insurance claim
we probably wouldn't have got insurance again,
and the value of the house potentially dropped,
so it has affected us, and has got long-term consequences, potentially.
And later we'll join the battle to beat these filthy rotten scoundrels.
Quite often, if it is on a big incident,
it's not a very safe place to be.
It's a very dangerous place to come down.
Say goodbye to the Welsh valleys now and hello again to the Big Smoke,
as we catch up with enforcement officer Dave Masters,
who's trying to recover hundreds of these monsters
that have been nicked from the streets of East London.
The problem's got so bad, he's called in the boys in blue.
Is it empty, that one?
But there's another part to this operation, too.
Dave's colleague Geoff Pollock is out on the streets,
and his job is to recover as many stolen bins as he can,
to return them to their rightful homes.
The sad thing is that he's going to be taking them away
from innocent shop-owners and companies
who have unwittingly been paying good money to lease the bins
believing they were all legit.
Geoff's got a difficult job on his hands.
He's got to break the bad news about what's really been going on.
The businesses will be surprised and they will be...
maybe a little bit annoyed as well.
Basically the bins that we are picking up
have been identified as having been stolen.
Hopefully we can tie these in to where they have been stolen from
with the use of serial numbers.
Geoff's first port of call is a brewery.
Hello, there, sir. I'm from Tower Hamlets Council.
-Basically we're here for...
-I'm head of facilities.
-I saw your guys taking my bins out the back.
Yeah. They're being seized as part of a criminal investigation.
These bins aren't ours. They're third party. We hire a company.
It comes as a big shock to the company's manager,
who had no idea what's been going on.
What's happened is, these have been stolen
-from other local authorities.
-They're re-spraying them.
As you can see, the bin was originally black.
So they've re-sprayed it blue.
It's a real blow for this business. They've acted in good faith,
and had no idea their hard-earned cash
was paying for dodgy dustbins.
Unfortunately, they're about to lose any bins
that look like they belong to the council.
We went out to tender for our contract on the recycling,
and this company come in, and they were the cheapest,
and they've give us a great service since we've been here.
We've had the bins taken every day and replaced with new bins,
and we are absolutely shocked.
You can just make out the markings
of an H...A...C...K.
They've sort of sanded it off on the front, haven't they?
But what they haven't realised, it's on the inside.
The markings prove the bins belong to Hackney Council,
and shouldn't be in Tower Hamlets where this business is based.
The bins are loaded onto the van and taken back to the council depot
where they belong.
Unfortunately the bins that are on hire to his company
have been stolen.
Geoff moves on to the high street in his unenviable task
of breaking the news to innocent business owners
that their bins actually belong to him.
Can you confirm whether you're the owner of that blue bin there?
You know the bin outside that you've got, the blue bin?
It's going to be seized.
-Nothing you've done wrong.
-You've entered into an agreement.
This bin thief isn't just taking the council for a ride,
but these poor guys too.
They'll now have to pay out for new ones.
They've all been fairly agreeable about their bins being seized,
and they realise that something serious is going on.
It is a serious business, and Geoff knows he needs strong evidence
to smash this highly organised scam once and for all.
Once we get to the storage facility,
we'll obviously have a count-up of how many bins we've got,
and log 'em all, and hopefully we can match some of the serial numbers up.
Back at the yard, the site's been given the all-clear
from the explosives team, and Dave and the police carry on
with their search.
There are quite a few bins I haven't even seen yet,
so I'm keen to get over there and have a look at them.
It's been quite eventful so far, so who knows what else we'll find?
And finally Dave's patience pays off.
He discovers a couple of dozen bins stolen from councils
all over London. They're seized and added to the haul
that Geoff's been picking up, too.
It's been a successful operation.
We've removed approximately 20, 25 bins from this location today,
from the yard, and we've been speaking to colleagues
who've been going around East London and Essex retrieving bins,
and in total we believe we've returned about 90 bins
to our depots today from various locations and customers
using the containers from this company.
It's been a great day, and a happy ending to the extraordinary tale
of mysteriously disappearing bins.
Let's get away from the grimy streets of London
and head to the beautiful beaches of Cornwall.
Who doesn't just love the seaside?
The sand between your toes, the sun on your face,
the wind in your hair! And just look at those waves.
I'm tempted to get my cozzy on and dive right in. Beautiful!
But it's not all so picturesque.
The reality - junk.
It's on our beaches and in the sea.
And unless the British public change their disgusting habits,
it's going to get a whole lot worse.
It's really horrible, as a local, to walk on the beach
with rubbish. You can get glass, there's plastic everywhere,
and it's revolting swimming with things around you.
It's not very good. People are leaving glass, bottles and needles.
It's dangerous, because you stand on them.
Today, Surfers Against Sewage,
a group of surf-mad environmentalists,
are waging a war against the filth ruining Porthtowan Beach
The group was set up in 1990 by surfers,
who are fed up of getting sick after going in the filthy sea.
Now it's a nationwide campaign,
cleaning up hundreds of British beaches.
And let me tell you, these guys mean business.
Dominic Ferris and Hugo Tagholm are heading today's mission.
They plan to clean up 14 beaches over the next four months.
Good on you, fellas!
People are affected by the litter on our beaches,
surfers who love their beach. It's a horrible thing to see.
That's the first part. We can talk about barbecue litter,
or glass bottles. Again, very easy to see
how that's affecting people, and especially children,
who are getting cut and hurt. Then we go a little bit deeper,
and the plastics are causing a big problem in the food chain.
They're harming marine life, and if they're harming marine life,
it's going to work its way up to us.
Now, that's what I call a man with a passion,
and with good reason, too.
It's estimated that 70 percent of rubbish
that gets thrown on our beaches or in the sea
will sink to the sea bed, where it becomes a permanent hazard
to marine life.
If we can get a big kind of staged and arty semicircle,
we're going to talk to you about a few things.
All these people are volunteers, giving up their time
to clean up other people's mess
and preserve the beauty of Cornwall's beaches.
We all love our beaches. I'm hoping you guys are all here
because you love the beach and want to help us look after it.
The amount of marine litter has doubled in the last 15 years, and that was bad to start with,
so where there was 1,000 bits of litter there's now 2,000.
It's a massive problem.
You tell them how it is, Dominic.
Imagine you're a turtle, everyone.
You're swimming along, and you're hungry.
What does a plastic bag look like to you?
It looks like a jellyfish. So due to ingesting, eating plastic,
and getting tangled up in plastic, over a million seabirds
and over 100,000 seals, dolphins and turtles
are dying each year because we're too lazy
to look after our litter properly.
And for all you people who think you can leave your cigarette butt
on the sand and it will magically disappear, listen to this.
-How many of those do you think go into the sea each year, around the world?
It's something like the amount of grains of sand on this beach.
But look - just one cigarette butt pollutes that much water.
Imagine 4.2 trillion, what they're doing,
killing water fleas, killing fish. OK?
Well said, Dom. And there's one last incentive for today's volunteers.
We got prizes for the top five weirdest things
found on the beach today, and we want you to decorate the weird fish -
we call it the weird fish - much like a Christmas tree. OK?
I like the sound of that. Looks like Christmas might have come early.
We've got bin-bags and gloves over here.
Thank you very much for coming, and please have a nice afternoon.
And they're off!
First the volunteers collect their beach-cleaning kit,
consisting of rubbish bags, protective gloves and boxes,
just in case they find any needles.
The clean-up of this wonderful Cornish beach
will go on for two hours. Split into teams,
the volunteers will comb the beach, looking for general litter,
plastic bags, glass, fishing nets, fag butts...
I'm afraid this list just goes on and on.
A bit like me, I suppose!
Even Dominic still gets shocked
by what people think is OK to just leave on the beach.
Some of the most shocking things we find
are hypodermic needles, freshly used hypodermic needles.
It's always disgusting to find those.
One really scary thing is when we find upturned broken glass bottles,
especially areas, that is, where people have been drinking.
And one that's really worrying, and it's only a matter of time
before a horrific accident happens, is still warm, still hot barbecues
that have been buried by someone too lazy to dispose of them properly.
A lot of people come down here on holiday,
and you don't mind seeing seaweed cos it's natural,
but when it's full of rope and other sort of litter,
it's not good, and people don't want to see it.
And that's not even the worst of it.
What you're about to hear is truly revolting.
We're actually seeing used tampons, used condoms, tampon applicators,
cotton-bud sticks, coming into contact with people in the water,
children actually picking these things up. It's disgusting.
You're not wrong there, mate. Ugh!
I used to work as a lifeguard in Somerset,
and all I dealt with was people cutting their feet on glass.
It was locals throwing it over the harbour wall.
People still do that, even though they know it's a problem.
Most of it's bits of rope like this, some bits a bit longer,
and bottle caps, plastics washed up. They don't go away.
They just stay here forever.
Thank goodness there are people out there
who are proud of our British beaches.
The reason to keep the beaches clean
is for...you know, to be proud of England,
and for visitors coming here to feel that they can go onto a beach
without having to worry about a load of litter
and glass on the beach.
You tell 'em! Right. I want to hear more.
Well, it affects everybody.
I mean, obviously the children playing in the area
can quite easily get caught up in glass or other things.
If it wasn't for people like this lovely lady
giving up their time to clear up after filthy rotten scoundrels,
just imagine what our beaches might look like.
It's really important to have a clean beach
so we don't have to worry about the children playing in the sand
and picking up anything that's a concern to us.
And obviously it looks a lot nicer to come to a clean beach.
It's 30 minutes into the big clean-up,
so what have our beach cleaners found so far?
Mainly the things I'm finding is, like, string
and rope, beer, bottles, cans.
Finding a lot of little pieces of rope and fishing line,
and found a few fishing hooks and things like that.
You don't want to get one of those stuck in your foot.
The volunteers have done a great job so far.
They've taken a lot of stuff off. We've got stuff like this.
This is off somebody using the beach. They should have recycled it.
A plastic bottle can take between 450 years and 1,000 years to break down
in the environment, so it's better it's off the beach
and recycled properly. Got all sorts of other stuff
that's arrived directly from people using the beach,
things like biscuit wrappers, sweet wrappers, cans...
Um, we've got dangerous items.
I've seen a bit of metal just over here.
Obviously something like this, a bit of rusty metal on the beach,
it's got screws in it. Bits of barbed wire -
this sort of stuff can obviously cut people, injure people.
It's pretty.... It shouldn't be on the beach in the first place.
It's coming to the end of the clean-up now,
and each pile of rubbish is being weighed...
-What weight we got?
-80. 80 kilos.
..before being loaded onto trucks to be taken away
and disposed of properly.
Thank you to everyone for coming today. It's been amazing.
Today we've collected...considering a lot of small litter, as well,
so this is an epic amount in lots of tiny bits,
we've collected 249 kilograms. THEY CHEER
Well done, guys. That's amazing!
249 kilograms of rubbish!
In old money, that's nearly 40 stone...
..in two hours from this one beach. It's both brilliant and shocking
all at once.
Now, I almost forgot the weird fish. It's not just been litter
that our trustworthy volunteers have unearthed today.
-In first place...
-Third prize, guys!
-THEY GROAN AND LAUGH
Who found the pants? No-one found the pants.
And the winner is...
Toilet seat? How on Earth did that get there?
But nevertheless the important thing is, it's not there now.
Even the people that haven't helped today
have become more aware of the problem of marine litter.
I'm hoping that not one person today will be littering this beach
just because of what they've seen, and make them think a bit more
-about how important the beach is.
-And that goes for you lot, too.
Next time you're enjoying a day on the beach,
make sure you take all your litter home with you -
and your toilet seat, of course.
Finally we head back out west to Llanelli in South Wales,
where fly-tipping has got so serious it's blocking up the lovely river
and flooding people's homes.
An ongoing war is being waged day in, day out,
against the culprits, and Mark is on the front line
for the good guys.
Despite the fact it's a lovely spring day,
we can still get flooding. Earlier on this week,
we had an incident where people had fly-tipped tyres
into a local watercourse down in Llangennech,
and the tyres had made their way down the watercourse and got wedged in a flap valve.
A flap valve is basically a gigantic cat flap
that stays open for normal flows of water
and closes as soon as the tide comes in
to stop it from flooding houses inland - in theory, that is,
until rubbish interferes with it.
A tyre got wedged into the flap valve,
held it open, and it had caused flooding.
This is the kind of thing the guys from the Environment Agency
are fighting every day, and keeping those flap valves clear
is an exhausting job.
I'm responsible for a team of guys
which come round to these rivers.
Our main priority is the maintenance
as far as the flap valves, trash screens,
any trees, blockages, pollution. All these things are dealt with.
Obviously when you send a team down here,
quite often, if it is on a big incident,
it's going to be in the early hours or under darkness,
and with the rain, it's not a very safe place to be, you know?
It's a very dangerous place to come down,
and unfortunately, to think that a lot of this
is manmade contribution to the problem -
yeah, it's really sad.
I couldn't agree more.
Sad, and to be honest, pretty outrageous
that people like him and his team are having to risk their own lives
all because of the actions of a few selfish scoundrels.
We shouldn't be seeing these things washing down
week after week after week. It's an ongoing problem, unfortunately.
Ideally people would take more responsibility.
You hear that, fly-tippers?
Take responsibility for your own rubbish.
Upstream, the war continues, and they're stepping up the game
and bringing in the big toys
to reach the really nasty stuff lurking below the surface.
Today we're using a lorry, and on the back of the lorry
we've got a special crane that's mounted on there with a grab.
We're using that to take out of the river
things like trolleys and mattresses, which are quite light.
Once they get thrown into a river, they become extremely heavy,
and it's very difficult to remove it from those watercourses.
It's all very impressive, but just take a look at the number of people
who have to get involved in this operation.
I know I'm in danger of sounding like a broken record here,
but think of all the time, money and effort that could be better spent
if we lived in a world without filthy fly-tippers.
Right across Britain, our environment enforcers
are working tirelessly to make our country
a cleaner and greener place to live. Join us next time,
when we'll be chasing down more filthy rotten scoundrels.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
In this episode, a family's home is flooded after fly-tipping in a river caused it to burst its banks; a father and son team are caught on camera dumping rubbish next to a world heritage site; and the programme follows the volunteers cleaning up Cornwall's beaches.