Episode 4 Filthy Rotten Scoundrels


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Episode 4

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

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to clean up our towns and countryside.

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I really hope these people are brought to court

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and they go to prison over this.

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I could actually cry when I see this, because it's such a mess.

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

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

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Glass bottles there. Er, cans...

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The vast majority of the stuff what's been dumped here

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could have been recycled.

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They've no respect for anybody. It's absolutely disgusting.

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We're on the front line of the clear-up and the fight-back,

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with the dedicated teams tracking down the rogues

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and putting the Great back into Britain.

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

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something you later rely on in court.

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On today's programme, a father-and-son team of fly-tippers

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wreak havoc in Middlesbrough. But guess who's looking at you, kid!

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If you have an area where people think they can dump things,

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it brings the whole area down.

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And we take a trip down to sunny Cornwall,

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only to uncover the grim state of our precious beaches.

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A plastic bottle can take between 450 years and 1,000 years to break down.

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Welcome to the dirty world of Filthy Rotten Scoundrels.

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First today, take a breath of fresh air.

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This is gorgeous South Wales,

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renowned for its idyllic countryside.

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Let's just pause for a second to take in those views.

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Beautiful!

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It's a place where sheep roam freely

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and fishermen while away the hours by picturesque rivers.

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Looks perfect, doesn't it? What could possibly spoil it?

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You guessed it - this horrible, horrible muck,

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an astonishing amount of rubbish just dumped

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by filthy rascals who couldn't give a monkey's

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about our stunning landscape.

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And the locals are devastated.

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As you can see, it's incredibly beautiful.

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Primarily I use the area for fishing, and one of the things is,

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it is spoiling the area, and it's a great shame

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that you do have, unfortunately, people now fly-tipping,

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but it is in particular a problem in rural areas like this,

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you know, areas which are isolated and remote,

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and people can fly tip without being detected.

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It's disgusting. Mark Sabine, from the Environment Agency in Wales,

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is leading the fight-back. And what a job he's got on his hands!

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'We've got real problems with fly-tipping in our rivers,

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'and down on the Lliedi here, it's typical, I guess,

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'of the problems that we face in the South Wales valleys.'

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This is a regular inspection for Mark,

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and it's not long before he stumbles across some trash.

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'Strewth! You can't miss it.

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Who on Earth would chuck a whole door in this lovely river?

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We've had to walk up the river now for a few hundred yards

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to get to this spot. There are properties on either bank,

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so there's no access for us. The only way we can get in

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is by walking up the river channel.

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If we try and take the material out, it's really difficult for us.

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We've got to manually carry all that down the river.

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It's really difficult, dangerous, and expensive

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for the taxpayer, as well.

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So, Mark, what are we talking? Just the odd bit of waste

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that won't quite fit in the dustbin?

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-So, there's plastic bags...

-Well, I expected that.

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There's a bag of rubbish, household rubbish,

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more black bags full of domestic waste over there...

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Under the trees we've got footballs.

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Football? Well, maybe that just got booted over by mistake.

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Up there there's a folding table and chairs.

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An entire picnic set! This is starting to sound like a home-shopping catalogue.

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And over here...

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one of the things that causes us real problems.

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We've got a mattress wedged under the trees. Oop!

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Ouch! Look out, mate. You don't want to take a nosedive into this lot.

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Fairly innocuous, but as soon as you throw one of these into a river,

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they become absolutely sodden. They weigh an absolute ton then.

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It's very difficult for us to remove them and get them out.

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A mattress! It just beggars belief.

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Keep walking a bit further up.

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Now, this is getting ridiculous.

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In the trees above me up there you've got bits of carpet

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that have been thrown in, timber, plastic crates up on the bank.

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In the river next to me

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you've got bits of wood that's been used for DIY.

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I don't know about you, but suddenly this is no joking matter.

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So, in front of me we've got children's toys

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been dumped in the river, bike tyres,

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a concrete post...

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That grey box up there,

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that's a TV.

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Right. That's it. I've heard enough. This is completely outrageous.

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There's no proof of where any of this rubbish came from.

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The nearby properties will get leaflets

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warning them about fly-tipping, but without any solid evidence

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to link specific people to this, that's as far as it can go.

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Personally I find it disgusting

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that people treat the environment like this.

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People might think chucking the odd bag of rubbish

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or even a TV into the river isn't doing anyone any harm.

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But later in the programme, we'll see the devastation suffered

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by one family after fly-tipping caused the river to burst its banks.

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-The front porch over here filled up to about two foot...

-Yeah.

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..deep with water, and it was only sandbags on this secondary door

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that stopped the water coming into the house.

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From the tranquil South Wales countryside

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to the streets of London, where a street battle is being fought

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against an unusual thief, stealing, of all things, dustbins.

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Is it empty, that one?

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In the heart of the East End, officers from Tower Hamlets

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have uncovered a baffling operation. Council bins are being stolen

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from outside the shops and businesses using them.

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They're then being re-sprayed and somehow reappearing on the streets

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in their new guise, leased back to the innocent and unsuspecting businesses

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who assume they're legit.

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You know your blue bin out the back? It's been seized.

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What's odd about this is no-one's ever noticed them being nicked.

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And we're not talking about a pedal bin here!

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These beauties are massive. They won't fit in your average swag bag.

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And it's not just the odd one that's disappeared.

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Tower Hamlets Council alone is losing up to 100 bins a week.

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It's leaving local businesses like shops and restaurants

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out of pocket, and with nowhere to put their rubbish.

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And wait until you hear how much money's at stake.

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It costs the council, and that means council taxpayers -

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people like you and me - £160,000 a year.

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Unbelievable! As one of the most deprived boroughs in the country,

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that's money that should be spent on the local people

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and what they really need.

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What they've done is stolen the bin from all other boroughs

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and then put them out to customers in this borough.

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The council needs their bins back,

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so they teamed up with the police to launch a surprise raid

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on a site where they think they might find some stolen bins.

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That is just what has been stolen in August to December.

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That's not including the placements. That's not including lost revenue.

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The figure is more likely to be 60, 70 grand.

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Ouch! Tower Hamlets investigating officer Dave Masters

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is in charge of the case.

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Towards the latter end of 2010, about September,

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we started getting reports from our contractor, Veolia,

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that there were bins appearing on the streets in Tower Hamlets

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which had been re-sprayed. Some of them had markings on them

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from Hackney Council, and some of them had markings from Tower Hamlets,

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London Borough of Greenwich, and they'd been re-sprayed,

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and we were losing waste contracts to these businesses

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where the bins were appearing.

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It all sounded rather fishy,

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and it probably smelt a bit fishy, too.

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So now Dave is on a mission to get all his bins back

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and stop whoever's stealing them from doing it again.

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As well as the police raid, he and his team are hitting the streets

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to try and recover as many of the bins as he can.

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If caught, the cheeky bin thieves could face up to two years in prison

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and an unlimited fine, so let's all play detective on this one.

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What are we looking for, Dave?

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Hackney bins are normally green. But what's happened is,

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the bin has been re-sprayed. The manufacturer's plate

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is still on the back of it, with the original serial number,

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and Hackney Council keep records of their serial numbers,

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and has confirmed to us that the bins in Tower Hamlets

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are the same serial numbers of the bins they've had stolen.

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To purchase these containers,

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we'd be looking at about £450 a go for the large bulk bins,

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and if you consider there are about 40 of them dotted around,

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you're looking at around £15,000 to £20,000 worth of bin,

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which they've also saved.

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So it's fairly big business, and this is an expanding empire.

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We're finding more bins turning up every week,

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more bins being stolen, so we really do need to get to grips with it,

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and nip it in the bud now.

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So today is D-day -

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or, should I say, bin day.

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Dave and a team of police officers are launching a top-secret sting

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in the hopes of recovering a stash of stolen bins.

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It's 8:30 AM, and the operation is about to begin.

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Dave Masters has been out on hundreds of these raids,

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and never knows how they'll turn out.

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The adrenaline is pumping. They're heading to a yard

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where they suspect there are some council bins.

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We don't know what to expect. We're with the police.

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The site's going to be secured before we go in.

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The site is huge, and littered with bins, if you'll pardon the pun.

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The raid team's got a massive job on its hands

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to identify if any of the bins are marked with council serial numbers.

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But just as everyone's getting stuck in,

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the police make a dramatic discovery.

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Basically we've had explosive officers go in

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and we've found 250 fog-warning signals

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that normally go on the rails of British Rail and Crossrail.

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They're not illegal, but these devices can generate a blast

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powerful enough to blind or maim.

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The atmosphere has now changed. Things are getting very tense.

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Everyone is cleared off the site immediately.

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SIREN WAILS

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The raid is halted, and the emergency services are called in

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to assess the situation.

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Just looking at that, it looks totally innocuous,

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but apparently it's got the potential to blow the whole yard up.

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Quite incredible, really.

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You never know what you're going into,

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and I must admit I didn't expect that, to have to evacuate the yard where explosives were.

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Find out later if the situation is defused,

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and if Dave and his team are allowed back on site

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to investigate if any of the bins are in fact stolen.

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In 2010 in North Tyneside,

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building rubbish was being dumped in the car park of a derelict pub.

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Not just a bit. Not just the odd bagful...

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..but truckloads of the stuff.

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Sadly, this kind of thing is an all-too-familiar sight.

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North Tyneside Council gets over 1,000 calls a year

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reporting fly-tipping, and they spend - wait for it -

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£100,000 every year clearing up all the rubbish.

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Yet again, that's council-tax money that should be better spent.

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Local residents have had enough.

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I'll be quite honest with you. I'm pretty well disgusted.

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They're just dumping it all over the area.

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There's no need for it.

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It does make me upset, because I don't want to live somewhere

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where my kids can't go out, if there's smashed TVs and glasses lying around.

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These people are consistently being inconsiderate of the fact

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that people do live there, and the fact that it's not on their doorstep

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makes it all right. Obviously that's not the case.

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

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cos there's no excuse. No excuse whatsoever.

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The council does take fly-tipping seriously.

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Filthy rotten scoundrels face fines of up to £50,000.

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But that clearly doesn't bother some people,

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because they're making money out of dumping rubbish like this

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on our streets. The guys who did this

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were operating a waste-disposal business,

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merrily charging ordinary people to get rid of their building rubble.

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But instead of disposing of it properly,

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they just dumped it and pocketed the dosh. Disgusting!

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The sort of people that do this, in my opinion, are parasites.

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They could run a legitimate business, and they could charge the going rate

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for disposal of waste. There's no need for it.

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It spoils people's quality of lives, and it's unacceptable.

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Unacceptable indeed. What's worse is that this isn't any old car park.

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This pub, ladies and gentlemen, is right next to a World Heritage site.

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People come down to use the site and enjoy coming to the area.

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If you have an area where people think they can just dump things,

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it brings the whole area down. As a council,

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we're trying to improve the area, bring jobs,

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and let local people come here and enjoy it. We're going to develop it.

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We can't do that when people have no regard for other people.

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North Tyneside is in the midst of a huge regeneration programme,

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and since 2010, the council has been working hard

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to make this area better for everyone.

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So it was all the more galling that that hard work

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was being ruined by this.

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The area had become a prime location for fly-tipping.

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Just take a look at this lot -

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insulation material, all kinds of wood,

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and a whopping 22 bags of red gravel. Don't these people care?

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But the council weren't going to stand by and let the bad guys win.

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They started scouring the CCTV footage

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covering the car park, and they struck gold.

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They caught the crooks red-handed.

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Just wait till you see this.

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As you can see here, they've got a flatbed truck.

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They've pulled onto an industrial estate within North Tyneside.

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This is the second occasion they were seen in this area,

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and this time they start fly-tipping. They're on the top of the vehicle

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and they're removing items from the vehicle,

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and throwing it into the local area. They've got wood, carpet, PVC.

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It was shocking. Over a two-day period,

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the CCTV caught these filthy scoundrels

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dumping over three and a half tons of waste in the car park.

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That's over seven skips' worth of rubbish to me and you.

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They continue to dump quite happily. They think they can't be seen.

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The CCTV operator has panned and got their identity,

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and he's actually phoned the police at this point.

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The net was closing in. The police were racing to the scene.

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At this point we believe they can hear the police coming into the area,

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so they do make a fast escape, or do try to.

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As you can see, the son runs round to the front of the vehicle,

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and they get in. As you can see, the CCTV operator got their registration,

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which is really important, to confirm the identity of these people.

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And they do at this point make an attempt to leave the site.

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They still believe they've got away with the offence,

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and they make their way up the hill.

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But wait till you see what happens next.

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You do see the police come into shot...

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Crikey! This is turning into The Sweeney.

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..and stop them for the offence.

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Busted!

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They turned out to be a father-and-son team.

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That's some family business.

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Walter and Keith Henderson had been driving from ten miles away

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to dump their illegal loads. Not in your own back yards, then, lads, eh?

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In October 2010, they were charged with two offences of fly-tipping

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and one offence of not having a waste-carrier's licence.

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They were fined £300 each, but on top of that

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they were sentenced to 12 months' community work.

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That's a year to make up for the mess they caused.

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It took two days to remove the waste that was left behind

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at a cost of £450. These people had £600 costs to pay,

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and 300 hours of community service. If they had done the job properly,

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it would have cost them nothing, and they would have made a profit.

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But instead they choose to behave like this,

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-which in my opinion is unacceptable.

-Well, you can say that again.

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Back to Llanelli in South Wales,

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where fly-tipping into the river has reached epidemic proportions.

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But the one thing about all this rubbish

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is that it's not just an eyesore and a pain in the backside

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to clear up. This rubbish poses a genuine threat

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to every ordinary householder in the town.

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The watercourse itself flows directly underneath Llanelli town centre

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just a few hundred yards downstream of here.

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If these items get washed down the river in floods,

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they can get jammed in the culvert, which is a big tunnel,

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and that can then cause flooding for local residents.

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Andy and Laura Pearce live here with their five young children.

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Just a matter of months after they moved in,

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a rascal dumped a load of rubbish in the river, blocking it up,

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and the family woke up to one of the worst days of their lives.

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A mess that take your breath away.

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The entire driveway here was covered in water.

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We tried to close the gates to stop more getting in,

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but it was ineffective, and too difficult to close.

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The water came all the way up to the garage doors,

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so we had to sandbag both the garage doors

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to avoid water getting into the garage

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and wrecking what we've got stored in the garage,

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and the entire garden, again, was completely under water

0:19:490:19:52

to the level of a couple of feet,

0:19:520:19:55

so it was a real mess around here.

0:19:550:19:58

The whole area was floating with other people's rubbish.

0:20:020:20:06

The bins were due to be collected that day that the flooding happened,

0:20:060:20:11

and there was people's rubbish bags floating into the driveway.

0:20:110:20:16

What a nightmare! And as the day wore on,

0:20:170:20:20

that nightmare got worse.

0:20:200:20:22

The Environment Agency arrived at Andy and Laura's house

0:20:220:20:25

to help with sandbags to put in all the doorways,

0:20:250:20:28

but the water was rising, and it wasn't long

0:20:280:20:31

before water started seeping in through the front door.

0:20:310:20:35

-The front porch over here filled up to about two foot...

-Yeah.

0:20:350:20:39

..deep with water, and it was only the sandbags on this secondary door

0:20:390:20:44

that stopped the water coming into the house.

0:20:440:20:47

The floodwater was so high out on the road,

0:20:470:20:49

it was coming up to the top of our wall,

0:20:490:20:52

which is three foot high.

0:20:520:20:54

And with rain forecast, the whole street spent a terrifying night

0:20:540:20:57

not knowing whether the water would force its way into their homes.

0:20:570:21:01

Some were luckier than others.

0:21:010:21:03

Our elderly neighbours flooded so badly

0:21:030:21:05

they needed lifting out of their house in the middle of the night.

0:21:050:21:09

Because the water had come in so deeply, they had to be taken out.

0:21:090:21:12

In fact it was 24 hours before the water started to subside.

0:21:120:21:17

But the damage had already been done.

0:21:170:21:19

The consequences of the flood to us were awful.

0:21:190:21:23

The house was filthy. The floodwater was really dirty.

0:21:230:21:27

The sand that came in with the water

0:21:270:21:29

made it really difficult to clear up.

0:21:290:21:32

There was quite a bit of damage to the house.

0:21:320:21:34

The whole of the garden was covered in debris and rubbish,

0:21:340:21:37

and rats at the back of our house and patio area.

0:21:370:21:41

It took the Pearces days to clean the mess,

0:21:410:21:43

and set them back thousands of pounds to fix the damage.

0:21:430:21:47

The 24-hour rescue operation also ran into thousands of pounds

0:21:470:21:51

for the Environment Agency, and all because some selfish scoundrel

0:21:510:21:55

couldn't be bothered to chuck out their rubbish responsibly.

0:21:550:21:58

Now we've realised that it was actually fly-tipping

0:21:580:22:02

that caused that flood, it does make me really angry

0:22:020:22:05

when I think about it. I don't think people that chuck stuff in rivers,

0:22:050:22:08

like tyres, mattresses, huge amounts of rubbish,

0:22:080:22:11

actually have any idea of the amount of stress and upset

0:22:110:22:15

that it can cause people.

0:22:150:22:17

And nowhere is that stress more evident

0:22:170:22:19

than for Andy and Laura's neighbours.

0:22:190:22:22

The elderly neighbours, their house was actually flooded

0:22:230:22:26

quite seriously, and they have really suffered because of it,

0:22:260:22:30

and want to move house, and it's a really sad situation

0:22:300:22:33

that someone has to move out of a retirement home

0:22:330:22:36

because of what's happened with people dumping rubbish into the river.

0:22:360:22:39

That is terribly sad.

0:22:390:22:41

These rotten rogues just had no idea of the long-term effect

0:22:410:22:45

their selfish actions are having on decent people.

0:22:450:22:48

If we'd had to make a large insurance claim

0:22:480:22:50

we probably wouldn't have got insurance again,

0:22:500:22:53

and the value of the house potentially dropped,

0:22:530:22:56

so it has affected us, and has got long-term consequences, potentially.

0:22:560:23:00

And later we'll join the battle to beat these filthy rotten scoundrels.

0:23:010:23:05

Quite often, if it is on a big incident,

0:23:050:23:08

it's not a very safe place to be.

0:23:080:23:11

It's a very dangerous place to come down.

0:23:110:23:14

Say goodbye to the Welsh valleys now and hello again to the Big Smoke,

0:23:230:23:27

as we catch up with enforcement officer Dave Masters,

0:23:270:23:31

who's trying to recover hundreds of these monsters

0:23:310:23:34

that have been nicked from the streets of East London.

0:23:340:23:37

The problem's got so bad, he's called in the boys in blue.

0:23:370:23:40

Is it empty, that one?

0:23:430:23:45

But there's another part to this operation, too.

0:23:460:23:50

Dave's colleague Geoff Pollock is out on the streets,

0:23:500:23:53

and his job is to recover as many stolen bins as he can,

0:23:530:23:56

to return them to their rightful homes.

0:23:560:23:59

The sad thing is that he's going to be taking them away

0:23:590:24:03

from innocent shop-owners and companies

0:24:030:24:05

who have unwittingly been paying good money to lease the bins

0:24:050:24:09

believing they were all legit.

0:24:090:24:11

Geoff's got a difficult job on his hands.

0:24:220:24:25

He's got to break the bad news about what's really been going on.

0:24:250:24:29

The businesses will be surprised and they will be...

0:24:290:24:32

maybe a little bit annoyed as well.

0:24:320:24:34

Basically the bins that we are picking up

0:24:340:24:37

have been identified as having been stolen.

0:24:370:24:41

Hopefully we can tie these in to where they have been stolen from

0:24:410:24:45

with the use of serial numbers.

0:24:450:24:48

Geoff's first port of call is a brewery.

0:24:500:24:53

Hello, there, sir. I'm from Tower Hamlets Council.

0:24:570:25:00

-Basically we're here for...

-I'm head of facilities.

0:25:000:25:03

-Hello.

-I saw your guys taking my bins out the back.

0:25:030:25:07

Yeah. They're being seized as part of a criminal investigation.

0:25:070:25:10

These bins aren't ours. They're third party. We hire a company.

0:25:100:25:15

It comes as a big shock to the company's manager,

0:25:170:25:19

who had no idea what's been going on.

0:25:190:25:23

What's happened is, these have been stolen

0:25:230:25:25

-from other local authorities.

-OK.

-They're re-spraying them.

0:25:250:25:30

As you can see, the bin was originally black.

0:25:300:25:32

So they've re-sprayed it blue.

0:25:320:25:34

It's a real blow for this business. They've acted in good faith,

0:25:370:25:40

and had no idea their hard-earned cash

0:25:400:25:43

was paying for dodgy dustbins.

0:25:430:25:45

Unfortunately, they're about to lose any bins

0:25:450:25:47

that look like they belong to the council.

0:25:470:25:50

We went out to tender for our contract on the recycling,

0:25:500:25:53

and this company come in, and they were the cheapest,

0:25:530:25:56

and they've give us a great service since we've been here.

0:25:560:25:59

We've had the bins taken every day and replaced with new bins,

0:25:590:26:02

and we are absolutely shocked.

0:26:020:26:04

You can just make out the markings

0:26:040:26:07

of an H...A...C...K.

0:26:070:26:12

They've sort of sanded it off on the front, haven't they?

0:26:120:26:15

But what they haven't realised, it's on the inside.

0:26:150:26:18

The markings prove the bins belong to Hackney Council,

0:26:210:26:25

and shouldn't be in Tower Hamlets where this business is based.

0:26:250:26:29

The bins are loaded onto the van and taken back to the council depot

0:26:290:26:32

where they belong.

0:26:320:26:34

Unfortunately the bins that are on hire to his company

0:26:340:26:39

have been stolen.

0:26:390:26:41

Geoff moves on to the high street in his unenviable task

0:26:420:26:45

of breaking the news to innocent business owners

0:26:450:26:48

that their bins actually belong to him.

0:26:480:26:51

Can you confirm whether you're the owner of that blue bin there?

0:26:520:26:57

You know the bin outside that you've got, the blue bin?

0:26:570:27:00

It's going to be seized.

0:27:000:27:02

-Nothing you've done wrong.

-OK.

-You've entered into an agreement.

0:27:020:27:05

This bin thief isn't just taking the council for a ride,

0:27:050:27:10

but these poor guys too.

0:27:100:27:12

They'll now have to pay out for new ones.

0:27:120:27:14

They've all been fairly agreeable about their bins being seized,

0:27:160:27:20

and they realise that something serious is going on.

0:27:200:27:23

It is a serious business, and Geoff knows he needs strong evidence

0:27:240:27:29

to smash this highly organised scam once and for all.

0:27:290:27:32

Once we get to the storage facility,

0:27:320:27:35

we'll obviously have a count-up of how many bins we've got,

0:27:350:27:39

and log 'em all, and hopefully we can match some of the serial numbers up.

0:27:390:27:44

Back at the yard, the site's been given the all-clear

0:27:480:27:51

from the explosives team, and Dave and the police carry on

0:27:510:27:53

with their search.

0:27:530:27:56

There are quite a few bins I haven't even seen yet,

0:27:560:27:58

so I'm keen to get over there and have a look at them.

0:27:580:28:02

It's been quite eventful so far, so who knows what else we'll find?

0:28:020:28:05

And finally Dave's patience pays off.

0:28:080:28:11

He discovers a couple of dozen bins stolen from councils

0:28:110:28:15

all over London. They're seized and added to the haul

0:28:150:28:18

that Geoff's been picking up, too.

0:28:180:28:20

It's been a successful operation.

0:28:200:28:23

We've removed approximately 20, 25 bins from this location today,

0:28:240:28:29

from the yard, and we've been speaking to colleagues

0:28:290:28:32

who've been going around East London and Essex retrieving bins,

0:28:320:28:35

and in total we believe we've returned about 90 bins

0:28:350:28:39

to our depots today from various locations and customers

0:28:390:28:43

using the containers from this company.

0:28:430:28:46

It's been a great day, and a happy ending to the extraordinary tale

0:28:460:28:50

of mysteriously disappearing bins.

0:28:500:28:53

Let's get away from the grimy streets of London

0:29:000:29:02

and head to the beautiful beaches of Cornwall.

0:29:020:29:05

Who doesn't just love the seaside?

0:29:050:29:07

The sand between your toes, the sun on your face,

0:29:070:29:11

the wind in your hair! And just look at those waves.

0:29:110:29:14

I'm tempted to get my cozzy on and dive right in. Beautiful!

0:29:140:29:18

But it's not all so picturesque.

0:29:210:29:23

The reality - junk.

0:29:230:29:26

It's on our beaches and in the sea.

0:29:260:29:28

And unless the British public change their disgusting habits,

0:29:280:29:32

it's going to get a whole lot worse.

0:29:320:29:35

It's really horrible, as a local, to walk on the beach

0:29:350:29:38

with rubbish. You can get glass, there's plastic everywhere,

0:29:380:29:41

and it's revolting swimming with things around you.

0:29:410:29:44

It's not very good. People are leaving glass, bottles and needles.

0:29:440:29:47

It's dangerous, because you stand on them.

0:29:470:29:50

Today, Surfers Against Sewage,

0:29:520:29:54

a group of surf-mad environmentalists,

0:29:540:29:57

are waging a war against the filth ruining Porthtowan Beach

0:29:570:30:01

in Cornwall.

0:30:010:30:03

The group was set up in 1990 by surfers,

0:30:040:30:07

who are fed up of getting sick after going in the filthy sea.

0:30:070:30:11

Now it's a nationwide campaign,

0:30:110:30:14

cleaning up hundreds of British beaches.

0:30:140:30:16

And let me tell you, these guys mean business.

0:30:160:30:19

Dominic Ferris and Hugo Tagholm are heading today's mission.

0:30:230:30:27

They plan to clean up 14 beaches over the next four months.

0:30:270:30:31

Good on you, fellas!

0:30:310:30:33

People are affected by the litter on our beaches,

0:30:350:30:37

surfers who love their beach. It's a horrible thing to see.

0:30:370:30:40

That's the first part. We can talk about barbecue litter,

0:30:400:30:43

or glass bottles. Again, very easy to see

0:30:430:30:46

how that's affecting people, and especially children,

0:30:460:30:49

who are getting cut and hurt. Then we go a little bit deeper,

0:30:490:30:52

and the plastics are causing a big problem in the food chain.

0:30:520:30:55

They're harming marine life, and if they're harming marine life,

0:30:550:30:59

it's going to work its way up to us.

0:30:590:31:01

Now, that's what I call a man with a passion,

0:31:010:31:04

and with good reason, too.

0:31:040:31:05

It's estimated that 70 percent of rubbish

0:31:050:31:09

that gets thrown on our beaches or in the sea

0:31:090:31:11

will sink to the sea bed, where it becomes a permanent hazard

0:31:110:31:15

to marine life.

0:31:150:31:17

If we can get a big kind of staged and arty semicircle,

0:31:170:31:21

we're going to talk to you about a few things.

0:31:210:31:24

All these people are volunteers, giving up their time

0:31:240:31:28

to clean up other people's mess

0:31:280:31:30

and preserve the beauty of Cornwall's beaches.

0:31:300:31:32

We all love our beaches. I'm hoping you guys are all here

0:31:320:31:35

because you love the beach and want to help us look after it.

0:31:350:31:38

The amount of marine litter has doubled in the last 15 years, and that was bad to start with,

0:31:380:31:43

so where there was 1,000 bits of litter there's now 2,000.

0:31:430:31:46

It's a massive problem.

0:31:460:31:48

You tell them how it is, Dominic.

0:31:480:31:50

Imagine you're a turtle, everyone.

0:31:500:31:53

You're swimming along, and you're hungry.

0:31:530:31:55

What does a plastic bag look like to you?

0:31:550:31:57

It looks like a jellyfish. So due to ingesting, eating plastic,

0:31:570:32:01

and getting tangled up in plastic, over a million seabirds

0:32:010:32:05

and over 100,000 seals, dolphins and turtles

0:32:050:32:10

are dying each year because we're too lazy

0:32:100:32:12

to look after our litter properly.

0:32:120:32:15

And for all you people who think you can leave your cigarette butt

0:32:150:32:19

on the sand and it will magically disappear, listen to this.

0:32:190:32:22

-How many of those do you think go into the sea each year, around the world?

-A billion.

0:32:220:32:27

-Up again.

-A trillion.

-4.2 trillion.

0:32:270:32:30

It's something like the amount of grains of sand on this beach.

0:32:300:32:33

But look - just one cigarette butt pollutes that much water.

0:32:330:32:37

Imagine 4.2 trillion, what they're doing,

0:32:370:32:40

killing water fleas, killing fish. OK?

0:32:400:32:43

Well said, Dom. And there's one last incentive for today's volunteers.

0:32:430:32:47

We got prizes for the top five weirdest things

0:32:470:32:50

found on the beach today, and we want you to decorate the weird fish -

0:32:500:32:54

we call it the weird fish - much like a Christmas tree. OK?

0:32:540:32:58

I like the sound of that. Looks like Christmas might have come early.

0:32:580:33:02

We've got bin-bags and gloves over here.

0:33:020:33:04

Thank you very much for coming, and please have a nice afternoon.

0:33:040:33:08

And they're off!

0:33:080:33:11

First the volunteers collect their beach-cleaning kit,

0:33:120:33:15

consisting of rubbish bags, protective gloves and boxes,

0:33:150:33:19

just in case they find any needles.

0:33:190:33:22

The clean-up of this wonderful Cornish beach

0:33:220:33:25

will go on for two hours. Split into teams,

0:33:250:33:28

the volunteers will comb the beach, looking for general litter,

0:33:280:33:31

plastic bags, glass, fishing nets, fag butts...

0:33:310:33:35

I'm afraid this list just goes on and on.

0:33:350:33:40

A bit like me, I suppose!

0:33:400:33:43

Even Dominic still gets shocked

0:33:430:33:46

by what people think is OK to just leave on the beach.

0:33:460:33:49

Some of the most shocking things we find

0:33:500:33:53

are hypodermic needles, freshly used hypodermic needles.

0:33:530:33:56

It's always disgusting to find those.

0:33:560:33:58

One really scary thing is when we find upturned broken glass bottles,

0:33:580:34:02

especially areas, that is, where people have been drinking.

0:34:020:34:05

And one that's really worrying, and it's only a matter of time

0:34:050:34:09

before a horrific accident happens, is still warm, still hot barbecues

0:34:090:34:12

that have been buried by someone too lazy to dispose of them properly.

0:34:120:34:17

A lot of people come down here on holiday,

0:34:170:34:19

and you don't mind seeing seaweed cos it's natural,

0:34:190:34:22

but when it's full of rope and other sort of litter,

0:34:220:34:25

it's not good, and people don't want to see it.

0:34:250:34:27

And that's not even the worst of it.

0:34:270:34:30

What you're about to hear is truly revolting.

0:34:300:34:33

We're actually seeing used tampons, used condoms, tampon applicators,

0:34:350:34:38

cotton-bud sticks, coming into contact with people in the water,

0:34:380:34:42

children actually picking these things up. It's disgusting.

0:34:420:34:46

You're not wrong there, mate. Ugh!

0:34:460:34:48

I used to work as a lifeguard in Somerset,

0:34:480:34:51

and all I dealt with was people cutting their feet on glass.

0:34:510:34:54

It was locals throwing it over the harbour wall.

0:34:540:34:57

People still do that, even though they know it's a problem.

0:34:570:35:00

Most of it's bits of rope like this, some bits a bit longer,

0:35:000:35:03

and bottle caps, plastics washed up. They don't go away.

0:35:030:35:06

They just stay here forever.

0:35:060:35:08

Thank goodness there are people out there

0:35:090:35:12

who are proud of our British beaches.

0:35:120:35:14

The reason to keep the beaches clean

0:35:140:35:17

is for...you know, to be proud of England,

0:35:170:35:20

and for visitors coming here to feel that they can go onto a beach

0:35:200:35:24

without having to worry about a load of litter

0:35:240:35:27

and glass on the beach.

0:35:270:35:30

You tell 'em! Right. I want to hear more.

0:35:300:35:33

Well, it affects everybody.

0:35:330:35:36

I mean, obviously the children playing in the area

0:35:360:35:40

can quite easily get caught up in glass or other things.

0:35:400:35:45

If it wasn't for people like this lovely lady

0:35:480:35:50

giving up their time to clear up after filthy rotten scoundrels,

0:35:500:35:54

just imagine what our beaches might look like.

0:35:540:35:57

It's really important to have a clean beach

0:36:090:36:11

so we don't have to worry about the children playing in the sand

0:36:110:36:14

and picking up anything that's a concern to us.

0:36:140:36:17

And obviously it looks a lot nicer to come to a clean beach.

0:36:170:36:21

It's 30 minutes into the big clean-up,

0:36:210:36:24

so what have our beach cleaners found so far?

0:36:240:36:27

Mainly the things I'm finding is, like, string

0:36:270:36:31

and rope, beer, bottles, cans.

0:36:310:36:35

Finding a lot of little pieces of rope and fishing line,

0:36:350:36:39

and found a few fishing hooks and things like that.

0:36:390:36:43

You don't want to get one of those stuck in your foot.

0:36:430:36:46

The volunteers have done a great job so far.

0:36:460:36:49

They've taken a lot of stuff off. We've got stuff like this.

0:36:490:36:52

This is off somebody using the beach. They should have recycled it.

0:36:520:36:55

A plastic bottle can take between 450 years and 1,000 years to break down

0:36:550:36:59

in the environment, so it's better it's off the beach

0:36:590:37:02

and recycled properly. Got all sorts of other stuff

0:37:020:37:05

that's arrived directly from people using the beach,

0:37:050:37:07

things like biscuit wrappers, sweet wrappers, cans...

0:37:070:37:11

Um, we've got dangerous items.

0:37:110:37:14

I've seen a bit of metal just over here.

0:37:140:37:18

Obviously something like this, a bit of rusty metal on the beach,

0:37:180:37:21

it's got screws in it. Bits of barbed wire -

0:37:210:37:24

this sort of stuff can obviously cut people, injure people.

0:37:240:37:27

It's pretty.... It shouldn't be on the beach in the first place.

0:37:270:37:32

It's coming to the end of the clean-up now,

0:37:380:37:40

and each pile of rubbish is being weighed...

0:37:400:37:42

-What weight we got?

-80. 80 kilos.

0:37:420:37:45

..before being loaded onto trucks to be taken away

0:37:450:37:49

and disposed of properly.

0:37:490:37:51

Thank you to everyone for coming today. It's been amazing.

0:37:510:37:54

Today we've collected...considering a lot of small litter, as well,

0:37:540:37:58

so this is an epic amount in lots of tiny bits,

0:37:580:38:00

we've collected 249 kilograms. THEY CHEER

0:38:000:38:04

Well done, guys. That's amazing!

0:38:040:38:07

249 kilograms of rubbish!

0:38:080:38:11

In old money, that's nearly 40 stone...

0:38:110:38:14

..in two hours from this one beach. It's both brilliant and shocking

0:38:150:38:19

all at once.

0:38:190:38:22

Now, I almost forgot the weird fish. It's not just been litter

0:38:220:38:26

that our trustworthy volunteers have unearthed today.

0:38:260:38:30

-In first place...

-Three shoes.

0:38:300:38:33

-Third prize, guys!

-Second place?

-THEY GROAN AND LAUGH

0:38:330:38:37

Who found the pants? No-one found the pants.

0:38:370:38:40

And the winner is...

0:38:400:38:42

THEY CHEER

0:38:420:38:44

Toilet seat!

0:38:440:38:46

Toilet seat? How on Earth did that get there?

0:38:460:38:50

But nevertheless the important thing is, it's not there now.

0:38:500:38:53

Even the people that haven't helped today

0:38:530:38:56

have become more aware of the problem of marine litter.

0:38:560:38:59

I'm hoping that not one person today will be littering this beach

0:38:590:39:02

just because of what they've seen, and make them think a bit more

0:39:020:39:06

-about how important the beach is.

-And that goes for you lot, too.

0:39:060:39:09

Next time you're enjoying a day on the beach,

0:39:090:39:12

make sure you take all your litter home with you -

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and your toilet seat, of course.

0:39:150:39:17

Finally we head back out west to Llanelli in South Wales,

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where fly-tipping has got so serious it's blocking up the lovely river

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and flooding people's homes.

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An ongoing war is being waged day in, day out,

0:39:370:39:40

against the culprits, and Mark is on the front line

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for the good guys.

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Despite the fact it's a lovely spring day,

0:39:450:39:47

we can still get flooding. Earlier on this week,

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we had an incident where people had fly-tipped tyres

0:39:500:39:53

into a local watercourse down in Llangennech,

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and the tyres had made their way down the watercourse and got wedged in a flap valve.

0:39:550:39:59

A flap valve is basically a gigantic cat flap

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that stays open for normal flows of water

0:40:030:40:06

and closes as soon as the tide comes in

0:40:060:40:08

to stop it from flooding houses inland - in theory, that is,

0:40:080:40:12

until rubbish interferes with it.

0:40:120:40:15

A tyre got wedged into the flap valve,

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held it open, and it had caused flooding.

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This is the kind of thing the guys from the Environment Agency

0:40:210:40:24

are fighting every day, and keeping those flap valves clear

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is an exhausting job.

0:40:280:40:30

I'm responsible for a team of guys

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which come round to these rivers.

0:40:320:40:36

Our main priority is the maintenance

0:40:360:40:39

as far as the flap valves, trash screens,

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any trees, blockages, pollution. All these things are dealt with.

0:40:430:40:47

Obviously when you send a team down here,

0:40:470:40:50

quite often, if it is on a big incident,

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it's going to be in the early hours or under darkness,

0:40:530:40:57

and with the rain, it's not a very safe place to be, you know?

0:40:570:41:01

It's a very dangerous place to come down,

0:41:010:41:04

and unfortunately, to think that a lot of this

0:41:040:41:07

is manmade contribution to the problem -

0:41:070:41:10

yeah, it's really sad.

0:41:100:41:12

I couldn't agree more.

0:41:120:41:14

Sad, and to be honest, pretty outrageous

0:41:140:41:17

that people like him and his team are having to risk their own lives

0:41:170:41:21

all because of the actions of a few selfish scoundrels.

0:41:210:41:24

We shouldn't be seeing these things washing down

0:41:240:41:27

week after week after week. It's an ongoing problem, unfortunately.

0:41:270:41:31

Ideally people would take more responsibility.

0:41:310:41:34

You hear that, fly-tippers?

0:41:340:41:36

Take responsibility for your own rubbish.

0:41:360:41:38

Upstream, the war continues, and they're stepping up the game

0:41:390:41:43

and bringing in the big toys

0:41:430:41:46

to reach the really nasty stuff lurking below the surface.

0:41:460:41:49

Today we're using a lorry, and on the back of the lorry

0:42:000:42:03

we've got a special crane that's mounted on there with a grab.

0:42:030:42:07

We're using that to take out of the river

0:42:070:42:09

things like trolleys and mattresses, which are quite light.

0:42:090:42:12

Once they get thrown into a river, they become extremely heavy,

0:42:120:42:16

and it's very difficult to remove it from those watercourses.

0:42:160:42:19

It's all very impressive, but just take a look at the number of people

0:42:190:42:23

who have to get involved in this operation.

0:42:230:42:26

I know I'm in danger of sounding like a broken record here,

0:42:260:42:29

but think of all the time, money and effort that could be better spent

0:42:290:42:34

if we lived in a world without filthy fly-tippers.

0:42:340:42:37

Right across Britain, our environment enforcers

0:42:380:42:41

are working tirelessly to make our country

0:42:410:42:43

a cleaner and greener place to live. Join us next time,

0:42:430:42:47

when we'll be chasing down more filthy rotten scoundrels.

0:42:470:42:51

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:42:520:42:56

E-mail [email protected]

0:42:560:43:00

.

0:43:000:43:00

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.