Episode 8 Filthy Rotten Scoundrels


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Episode 8

Series investigating Britain's waste dumpers. A truck-load of asbestos is tipped in Middlesbrough. Plus, a mobile phone app that reports fly-tipping and graffiti to the council.


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Transcript


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Every day, a war is being waged across Britain to clean up our towns and countryside.

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I feel they're incredibly irresponsible and they don't stop to think.

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It's absolutely, totally disgraceful.

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

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

-People just don't care. They don't care at all.

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The people who have thrown it here are idle members of the public.

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

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

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

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On today's programme, an utterly outrageous dump of asbestos in the middle of a public playing field.

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We can follow the tyre tracks from over there.

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They come down here. We think he's just driven round in a circle.

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You can see the skid marks on the grass, then he's gone up and round.

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And tracking down the man who brought this style of decorating to the Welsh countryside.

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The waste consisted of a full household clearance really, including a bath and a toilet.

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Welcome to the dirty world of Filthy Rotten Scoundrels.

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In a series about the constant problem of environmental crime,

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foul fly-tipping, gaudy graffiti and lousy litter, wouldn't it be great to hear of a magic solution?

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Well, your wish is my command. Ta-da!

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Pretty impressive, eh? OK, I'll admit it, it's not exactly magic,

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but all this is possible because of an inspired little program for mobile phones.

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These environment cleaners in Lewisham in South London

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aren't wasting time playing with smartphones at work.

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They're uploading a "before and after" record of the graffiti and fly-tipping they're cleaning up

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on to a specially designed phone application called Love Lewisham.

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If you come across dumped rubbish or unsightly graffiti, you just take a photo of it on your phone.

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It goes to the right people at the council and before you can say, "I'm on the phone,"

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somebody clears it all up. Amazing and simple!

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The graffiti was over on the wall of the building across the road.

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I just opened the app, then you get a camera function. I put the camera up to the window, took a picture,

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then followed the instructions on the screen and sent it off. It was that simple.

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Within an hour, I got an email confirming that they'd received it, then the next day, the job was done.

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If everyone in the borough had it and they used it,

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any graffiti that's put up around the borough can be dealt with and it would be a nicer place to live.

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Isn't that fantastic?

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It's so successful that London Mayor Boris Johnson adopted it for the whole of London.

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What we're publicising is Love Clean London, a brilliant new app that Lewisham came up with.

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OK, we've got the picture.

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-The location will be visible from the app, won't it?

-It captures the location.

-That is brilliant.

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That is the key thing.

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Now there's not just Love Lewisham, but Love Clean Streets and Love Clean London.

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But there's a long way to go yet.

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People just dumping stuff in the road, mattresses, chairs, beds.

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People are so lazy.

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I don't like graffiti because it defaces and...

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It doesn't make the atmosphere and the environment look neat.

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

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And things used to be even worse before Lewisham Council introduced the phone app.

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When you hear just how incredibly well it's worked, you'll understand why the magic has spread.

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Back in 2006,

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we removed 27,000 metres of graffiti in a year.

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Last year, we only needed to remove 7,000 metres of graffiti,

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so that's a drop of about 73%.

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Yes, you heard it right - a whopping 73% reduction in graffiti,

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the point being that if you keep removing it, eventually, the vandals will give up,

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so it's more than just a quick fix.

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We've reduced the amount of fly-tipping by half in Lewisham in terms of the tonnages we collect.

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We think that's by getting to the problem quickly.

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So keep the place tidy and everyone starts treating the area with more respect

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and doing all that tidying up is an impressive army of 400 people,

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all responding to the mobile phone application.

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They clean the streets, collect the rubbish, look after the parks

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and they're a happy team with a genuine appetite for cleaning up their borough.

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-Hello, mate. Welcome to Lewisham.

-Yoo-hoo!

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We'll spend a couple of days out on the road with two of these lovely teams.

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The first, Vic Worsfold and Julie Ball, are tackling graffiti.

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They're passionate about what they do and how their work can stop the rot in the area.

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I just like to see the place nice and clean. I don't like to see this rubbish.

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If you're not going to keep it clean, who'd want to live here? Because I certainly wouldn't.

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Vic and Julie are on their way to their first job of the day.

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Because the phone app uses satellite navigation, there's no need for the A to Z map.

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It's made our work like a hundred times better.

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Before, they'd give us a street and you'd be looking... You'd have to go up and down trying to find it.

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On some occasions, it's not even been in that same street,

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but this is just absolutely perfect.

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And it shows what's on the wall, then we can just go there and remove it.

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Finding it may have been easy, but doing the job is much trickier.

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This is a huge and hard-to-reach wall that is a favourite with the street vandals,

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but can Julie and Vic get their ladder anywhere near it?

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-Will they go through there?

-No.

-What about if you open them up?

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You can tell one of us has got brains, can't you?

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LAUGHTER

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This is looking like a Laurel and Hardy film.

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Oh, look at that! Ain't I clever?

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OK, I withdraw my Laurel and Hardy comment. That was very professionally done.

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Good job I'm here then.

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Oh, lucky those railings are in the way, Vic!

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Time to get down to serious business now and they've got quite a job ahead of them.

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I'm sticking this on now, yeah?

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This is probably going to take about ten minutes to go on.

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This breaks down the spray paint.

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Well, I'm hoping it's going to, but it looks like it's actual car spray,

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so we might leave it on a little bit longer than ten minutes.

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This might seem like mindless vandalism to you and me,

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but Julie's got her own theories about why people do it.

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It's like they're marking their territory where they are.

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It means something to the kids that have done it,

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but to other people, they just look at it, as I do, as just vandalism.

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As Julie's anti-graffiti gel dries, let's hit the road with another of Lewisham's crack cleaning teams.

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It's Paul Tyler and Leon Muxagata's job to hoover up after fly-tippers.

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-We've got three settees, three sofas, two mattresses...

-Three sofas?

-Yeah.

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TVs, bed bases,

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shopping trolleys...

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And lots of items.

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That's just the list for their first stop.

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It's a sizeable fly-tip in a back street and sadly, it's a familiar sight to the lads.

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It's quite messy, this one.

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This is what we get every day. Not as much as this, but sofas and stuff.

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This is like a whole house-worth of furnishings. Why on earth would somebody have dragged this lot here?

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But before the makeover starts, time for the "before" shot.

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He'll take a picture of that. He'll send that straight back to Love Lewisham.

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Unbelievable that someone sneaked in here to dump this load like a thief in the night!

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It's a tiny little street and there's no cameras about,

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so it's quite hidden and they've obviously just come in and tipped it off.

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That's what we get quite a lot.

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It shouldn't take us more than 20 minutes, to be honest.

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20 minutes for this lot?! That's what I call positive thinking!

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Right, Paul, I'm setting my watch and we'll be back later to see if you can beat the clock.

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Bringing fly-tippers to justice takes a massive joint effort between the public,

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police and intrepid council officers like Phil Armitage

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of the Environmental Crimes Unit in Middlesbrough.

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It's premeditated. "I'll dump this stuff here and we'll get away with it." But they slip up.

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And that's when Phil pounces.

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This northern town has a great industrial heritage,

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but now there's evidence that people aren't feeling pride for the place

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because Middlesbrough has an incredible 3,000 cases of fly-tipping a year.

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But before you start thinking it's nothing to do with you,

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remember that people like Phil aren't just after the fly-tipper.

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All of us have a duty to make sure whoever is taking our rubbish away disposes of it responsibly,

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otherwise we'll end up in the dock too.

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When a report comes in, Phil has no idea who is going to land up bearing ultimate responsibility.

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I've just received a call from my supervisor

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to let me know that in the Easterside area of Middlesbrough,

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someone has driven on to a playing field

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and they've dumped a load of timber and asbestos sheeting.

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Yes, you did hear that right. Someone has dumped asbestos on a playing field.

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So, a dangerous and potentially cancer-causing material in a place

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where children play and people walk their dogs - disgraceful!

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I'm going to get some gloves for this one.

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Dumping asbestos is utterly unforgivable.

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When solid sheets like these are broken up, they can release fibres that cause a killer cancer.

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Phil's colleague Mick Clugston is already at the scene of the crime

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and all the clues point to this being a classic of its kind,

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using the dumper's vehicle of choice - a flatbed truck.

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-I think it's a tipper.

-A tipper truck?

-He's tipped and drove away, judging by the big, long line.

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There's his tracks. I thought they were them, but these are 'em here.

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We can follow his tyre tracks from the cut over there in the corner of the field where he's got on.

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They come down here. We think he's driven round in a circle.

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You can see the skid marks here on the grass,

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then he's gone up and round again.

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They usually put the tipper up and then just drive off as it's still falling out,

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so they're as quick as possible and they're gone.

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All the residents hear is the clattering of the stuff falling off.

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By the time they've seen what's happened, they're at the other end of the field.

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It's a quick and slick operation and the rogues think they're getting away unnoticed,

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but they reckon without Phil and Mick.

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It's a dirty and dangerous job, but the guys are rooting through the rubble for clues.

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I'm not too sure, but there's tons of mail.

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No dates...

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-This is April the 11th.

-April the 11th?

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-Yeah.

-Here's a list of jobs to do.

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What does it say? "Dump rubbish"?!

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Nothing like a well-organised fly-tipper, eh, Phil?

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So they've found an address of where this asbestos probably came from.

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Phil and Mick know of some repeat fly-tippers who've worked that patch before. Could this be one of theirs?

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We've got a case just up the road from this address.

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That was another white van man that dumped waste in another part of Middlesbrough.

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There may be a connection. We don't know.

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Armed with a big pile of paperwork linking the rubble to one address,

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Phil decides the best route to the culprit will be to find the owner

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of the property this appalling pile has come from.

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We're going to go to the location where we think it may be from.

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They might still be working there.

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If not, if it looks like it's had loads of new work done to it,

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then that's an indication as well.

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If they've got a brand-new garage there and that's their old one,

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what we'll do is a council tax search on the property,

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find out who the owner is, ask them who was employed to take the waste away...

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Because this is the key to the case.

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It may well be that the home owner thought their building waste was being disposed of properly.

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It could be someone that's driven past, seen the waste and said, "I'll take that away for you."

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The owner of the property gives over the money, thinking it's going to go to the tip

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and it ends up at this tip instead of the proper tip.

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It must be someone with local knowledge.

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You wouldn't know to dump it behind the trees if you were chancing it.

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There's no time to waste to find this environmental criminal.

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Phil's on the road to check out the house and he's not a happy chappy.

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I just think it's despicable what they've done there.

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They could have taken that asbestos to the tip and disposed of it for free there.

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And the rest of the stuff is just like wood and building rubble.

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That could have been bagged up. The council could have taken that.

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So I just want to do my best to try and get somebody into court for it.

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You can see how much this winds Phil up and quite right.

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It's an outrageous crime and Phil's instincts were spot-on.

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That's the house there and as you can see round the back,

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it would appear to have a double garage under construction, I would say.

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Photographing the evidence is essential because the aim is to make a watertight case.

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Right, we'll just do our council tax checks now and see what comes back on their systems

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and who owns the property.

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We'll be back with Phil and the clean-up team later.

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Back to Lewisham where the council has gone for a radical approach to solving environmental crime -

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the Love Lewisham phone app.

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I put the camera up to the window, took a picture, then sent that off. That was it. It was that simple.

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It's an inspired little gizmo that means if you see dumped rubbish or graffiti,

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you just take a photo of it on your mobile phone and the council sends out a nice person to clean it up.

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Genius! And so much easier all round than an old-fashioned phone call.

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To use the technology we've got today is a great advantage. We can take pictures instantly.

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When you get a call to report a fly-tip, you need to send someone to check the work out,

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particularly if there's been an exaggeration. You think, "We'll need five blokes to clear this."

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When you show up, it's a mattress that could have been collected by a caged vehicle. Getting a photo

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with Love Clean Streets enables us to send the right people to deal with it, so that saves us money.

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It saves money and time. Because the council had a photo of this lot,

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they knew it didn't need a five-man crew and a massive truck.

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All it needed was Paul, Leon

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and a 20-minute time limit.

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Nine and a half minutes in and they're almost done.

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These guys are on fire. No wonder they get through over 40 jobs a day.

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It does wear you out.

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Because you're picking up rubble and all that, you know?

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That's got to be a personal best.

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Time now for the "after" shot.

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Beautiful.

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I think we'll go straight to the tip with that.

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Great work. See you at the next job.

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Back with Vic and Julie - it's time to see if the chemical gel has dissolved the spray paint.

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Vic's ready for the next line of attack.

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This is just to protect your face and eyes.

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When you're blasting, sometimes the brick can come back in your face.

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And also it makes me look prettier.

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I'm just going to warm it up now.

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Is it just me or does Vic remind you of someone? Rambo perhaps?

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And he's taking no prisoners.

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But even Rambo's not tough enough for some of this.

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There's a couple of bits there that don't seem to be budging.

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What I'm going to do is I'm going to re-do 'em up with the liquid and gel and then we'll spray 'em off again.

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One that got away, Vic.

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I think they may be here for some time.

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Normally, if it was ordinary stuff that we take off every day,

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we probably would have done this by half an hour, 45 minutes.

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Unfortunately, these type of bricks are more porous.

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This is certainly a two-man job.

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I said this is a two-man job, Vic!

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I've just had a text from one of my girlfriends.

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Yeah, pull the other one, Vic!

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If we can't get this off now, today,

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what we'll do is we'll come back probably tomorrow

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and we'll just touch up the bits that are not coming off with a little bit of paint.

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Vic's managed to annihilate one stubborn section, but they're stuck on the porous wall.

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We've probably been here three, four hours, so that's a lot of time out of our day,

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being here for that amount of time, trying to get rid of this actual piece of graffiti.

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Despite the time and money it takes, Julie knows that it's worth the effort.

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It brings the whole community down because if you see stuff like this on the wall,

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people just think it's a run-down area and people don't want to come here.

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As you can see, it's not having it, so we'll probably come back tomorrow once the wall's dry

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and we'll touch up those little bits at the top.

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I am gutted about that.

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I just love Julie's passion. She cares so much about her local community.

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There's more of that Lewisham passion from Leon and Paul.

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They're now correctly dumping their first truckload of the day, all two tonnes of it.

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The thing I enjoy about the job is just getting the rubbish and the fly-tips off of the street.

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Good man! And there's no stopping these guys. They're whipping through their list.

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Here is another cast-off from someone's lounge just dumped on the grass verge.

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-That's them there, innit?

-Yeah. It looks like heavy ones.

-We'll be all right.

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David Bailey here gets the photo, then it's straight in the back of the lorry.

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They've got a new one or...

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That's probably why. They've got a new one.

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But yeah, it ain't too bad.

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I've seen a lot worse.

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No sooner finished and they get another job through.

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This one's from a Love Lewisham app. It came over the radio.

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We just pulled up. We're just going to do the same thing again, take the photo - before and after.

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So within hours of a fly-tip being reported, our guys are clearing it up.

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What a brilliant service! It makes such a difference to the people living here.

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I paid to get my bulk items disposed of,

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so to know that people are just fly-tipping and leaving it there is very annoying.

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They're doing a great job and... Just keep up the good work, basically!

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More from Lewisham later as our team continue their battle against the stubborn graffiti vandals.

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If we get rid of it, as soon as it appears,

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the younger kids coming up are not seeing it, so they don't do it.

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High on the rolling hills above Swansea Bay in south Wales,

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there's a patchwork of farmland fields, forest, country lanes, grazing animals and fabulous views.

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The locals adore their surroundings.

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As you can see, we live in a beautiful place.

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People think of Port Talbot, "Oh, no!", but if you come to Neath Port Talbot county as a whole,

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it's an absolutely gorgeous place.

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But this gorgeous place has had the worst sort of town overspill - dumped rubbish.

0:22:270:22:34

Time and time again.

0:22:340:22:37

Unbelievable.

0:22:370:22:39

Disgusting.

0:22:400:22:43

And sadly the landscape is offering unscrupulous tippers a clear run in

0:22:430:22:48

as local farmer's wife Marion Lewis knows only too well.

0:22:480:22:53

Because of the tree felling, the Forestry put decent roads in for the lorries.

0:22:530:22:58

These unscrupulous people have taken advantage of this. They come when the fog is down, drive up and tip.

0:22:580:23:05

They're beneath contempt. I've got no time for them at all.

0:23:050:23:10

They don't care for the environment they live in or what goes on in the community.

0:23:100:23:16

But little did the scoundrels reckon on our man on the ground, Leighton Case, an Enforcement Officer

0:23:190:23:25

placed in Neath, who is unafraid to get out on the trail of tippers and protect this natural beauty.

0:23:250:23:32

We live in a beautiful part of the world. And to see these people illegally depositing their waste

0:23:320:23:39

without thought, that in itself keeps me going, really.

0:23:390:23:43

What a nice guy. Another one of our tireless enforcers keeping Britain great.

0:23:430:23:49

In a small town like Neath, Leighton knows the local rogues.

0:23:490:23:52

And one man, Steven Llewellyn, emerged as someone he should keep an eye on.

0:23:520:23:59

He's actually been on my radar for five or six years now.

0:23:590:24:03

I think it was 2005 when I first came across him.

0:24:030:24:08

On that occasion he actually dumped on a road and blocked the road.

0:24:080:24:13

So we were sent for and we managed to find some evidence in the waste

0:24:130:24:19

and, subsequently, I seized his vehicle,

0:24:190:24:23

interviewed him and that was the first occasion when I had dealings with him. He's been a good client,

0:24:230:24:29

I suppose!

0:24:290:24:31

A good client? That's one way of putting it.

0:24:310:24:35

Looking at this, I'd call him more of a scoundrel.

0:24:350:24:39

So vehicle seized, a good grilling from Leighton - did he mend his ways? Not a bit of it.

0:24:390:24:45

That very same year he did it again. Look at this.

0:24:450:24:48

A washing basket, garden chairs, a TV. If it wasn't for the bin bags,

0:24:480:24:53

it could be the prize draw in a raffle. It didn't stop there.

0:24:530:24:57

Mr Llewellyn was prosecuted four times over a four-year period.

0:24:570:25:01

He admitted charging to remove the rubbish, but blamed an employee.

0:25:010:25:06

He was found guilty of breach of duty of care and fined over £2,000.

0:25:060:25:11

But nothing seemed to deter this serial dumper.

0:25:120:25:16

It was late November, 2009. A complaint came from a local farmer.

0:25:160:25:22

A huge pile of waste here blocked the gateway completely. This was the only point of access.

0:25:220:25:28

Just look at this lot - wood, tyres, palettes. That's serious rubbish!

0:25:280:25:32

He contacted us, we came up straight away. I've got a fantastic team of officers.

0:25:320:25:38

Weather conditions were awful

0:25:380:25:40

and we all looked through the waste for evidence. We eventually found a lot from an address in Swansea.

0:25:400:25:46

-Hang on! I think I know what's coming.

-I went to that address, found out who owned the property,

0:25:460:25:52

spoke to the owner. In September just gone he had employed Steven Llewellyn to clean out the house

0:25:520:26:00

and he offered to clean some carpets and things for him. Apparently, he offers a good service.

0:26:000:26:05

A good service?! Now I've heard it all. Surprise, surprise - his "good service" doesn't come cheap.

0:26:050:26:12

And he was able to give us a receipt. I can't remember. It was £600 or £700 worth.

0:26:120:26:18

Money that Mr Llewellyn could just pocket as he wasn't paying to dispose of this lot properly.

0:26:180:26:25

Within days, Leighton and his team were called to yet another case of fly tipping. Unbelievable!

0:26:250:26:31

Once again, a very remote location. If you didn't know of it, you wouldn't go there.

0:26:310:26:37

Materials I found were a household clearance with correspondence from a Swansea address.

0:26:370:26:43

Everything smacked of Steven Llewellyn again and, you know, indeed it was.

0:26:430:26:49

He's a strange guy in the sense that he goes back and seems to dump in the same location over and over,

0:26:490:26:57

which I find strange. And having been prosecuted for an offence.

0:26:570:27:01

As you can see, the location is quite beautiful.

0:27:090:27:14

-Fantastic views of the valley and the coastline.

-We know what's coming next.

0:27:140:27:19

-The first dump consisted of several drums of oil.

-Look at this filthy and contaminating pile.

0:27:210:27:27

Generally speaking, there'd be no evidence among that sort of waste,

0:27:270:27:32

but on this occasion Mr Llewellyn made a mistake. He actually left one number plate amongst the waste

0:27:320:27:39

and it was this that allowed us to track down where the oil came from.

0:27:390:27:43

We made inquiries with the present and previous owner.

0:27:430:27:47

And this led Leighton to link the oil back to a garage in Swansea. A breakthrough!

0:27:470:27:53

His detective work uncovered another deadly substance across the road.

0:27:530:27:58

The garage where it had come from, they operate an MOT centre.

0:27:580:28:02

They have anti-freeze solution that they wanted to get rid of and some of the barrels contained that.

0:28:020:28:08

We took witness statements and they told us it was indeed Steven Llewellyn

0:28:080:28:14

who actually took the waste away for them and they'd paid him £300 for his services.

0:28:140:28:20

What a surprise(!) Steven Llewellyn strikes again.

0:28:200:28:24

He was clearly making a pretty penny from running his "good service".

0:28:240:28:29

To dispose of this stuff legally, he would have to be licensed to carry hazardous waste

0:28:290:28:35

and take it to a registered dump, which would add a minimum of £350 to his costs.

0:28:350:28:40

Not only was his filthy work leaving a blot on the landscape,

0:28:410:28:46

dumping oil and anti-freeze can be a real danger to wildlife.

0:28:460:28:50

Where were their brains? They could kill the animals, not just the cows, but the horses.

0:28:500:28:57

They have no consideration at all.

0:28:570:28:59

Leighton was convinced Mr Llewellyn was responsible, but there were no witnesses to the actual dumping,

0:28:590:29:06

so he couldn't prove it. Then, in October, 2010, as Leighton still struggled to build a case,

0:29:060:29:13

-a new report came through of a dump in the same location.

-The second dump was here.

0:29:130:29:19

No more than about 10 or 15 yards from the first dump. Strewn here,

0:29:190:29:24

and the waste consisted of virtually a full household clearance, including a bath and toilet.

0:29:240:29:30

Everything but the kitchen sink, eh? Look at this - wardrobes, mattresses, curtains, an armchair.

0:29:300:29:36

What kind of person thinks this belongs in the Welsh countryside?

0:29:360:29:40

And sure enough, the trail led back to the rogue Steven Llewellyn and this time he admitted his guilt.

0:29:400:29:46

So the dirty dumper could finally be taken off the streets.

0:29:460:29:50

The case was heard at the local Magistrates Court. He was sentenced to eight months in custody.

0:29:500:29:57

We were thrilled with the result.

0:29:570:30:00

It sends a really strong message.

0:30:000:30:02

Another scoundrel behind bars. And the last word goes to Marion, who has a clear message

0:30:020:30:09

to anyone thinking about hiring a man with a van to dispose of unwanted household goods.

0:30:090:30:15

Ask them if they've got a licence.

0:30:150:30:17

If they haven't, you know they're illegal tippers.

0:30:170:30:21

And anyway, people should be proud of where they live and look after it.

0:30:210:30:26

Well said, Marion.

0:30:260:30:28

Remember this shocking asbestos dump on a playing field in Middlesbrough?

0:30:350:30:39

Thankfully, the clean up team has arrived.

0:30:390:30:42

Phil has arranged for specialist contractors to pick up the rubbish,

0:30:420:30:47

and not before time because arsonists have already started.

0:30:470:30:51

Before we start, obviously someone's had a go at setting fire to this last night.

0:30:510:30:56

This is why we want it shifting as soon as possible before the weekend when the lot will go up.

0:30:560:31:04

The contractors wear face masks to make sure they don't breathe in the deadly fibres of asbestos.

0:31:040:31:11

They're licensed to take this carcinogenic cargo to a registered dump,

0:31:120:31:18

where it will be buried underground. Phil thinks the fly tippers need to be given a stronger message.

0:31:180:31:24

I wish they'd get bigger fines, to be honest with you.

0:31:240:31:28

If we get one or two in the paper with a £20,000 fine,

0:31:280:31:32

then I think the message would certainly get out amongst people that it's not worth doing.

0:31:330:31:40

Not only that. It would make this a safer, cleaner and cheaper place to live.

0:31:400:31:46

The locals have been left with a hefty bill for this lot.

0:31:460:31:49

It's cost Middlesbrough council taxpayers £600 for this one job.

0:31:490:31:53

This adds to the grand total of about £250,000 a year,

0:31:530:31:59

which is what we spend on cleaning up after these fly tippers.

0:31:590:32:04

I'm of the opinion that the money would be better spent on other things, other projects.

0:32:040:32:10

You could put a kids' playground in for that money somewhere.

0:32:100:32:14

And obviously it's the taxpayer of Middlesbrough that bears the cost.

0:32:140:32:18

This is why your council tax goes up, because of, you know, these kind of problems.

0:32:180:32:24

After an hour's hard labour, the specialists have finished,

0:32:240:32:29

but look how much stuff is in their van. It just goes to show you how much rubbish

0:32:290:32:34

a filthy, rotten scoundrel thought was OK to dump on a community playing field. Unbelievable.

0:32:340:32:40

Give me a couple of minutes to get down to the gate.

0:32:400:32:44

-Go on!

-Luckily, these guys are brimming over with community spirit.

0:32:440:32:49

There's a hole in the fence where vans are getting through, so they pull boulders across the gap.

0:32:490:32:56

This is what I call dedication. Just look at what they're prepared to do to stop people fly tipping.

0:32:560:33:02

-Good on you, lads!

-Yeah. Thanks very much.

0:33:020:33:06

A temporary fix, but Phil's already on the case to close down the fields as a dump once and for all.

0:33:080:33:15

I'll put a call in to our Highways Division now and notify them that the side of that property

0:33:150:33:21

has a gap onto the field and what's happening. I want to just get it secured.

0:33:210:33:27

And an update on the case itself - the home owners say they had no idea their waste would be dumped.

0:33:270:33:34

They're in the clear for now, but if Phil can't track down the people who took it away,

0:33:340:33:39

they'll be held responsible. It's a lesson to us all -

0:33:390:33:44

don't think your duty ends when you hand over your rubbish. Make sure they have a waste carrier's licence.

0:33:440:33:50

And if it's asbestos, they need a special licence to remove it, so demand to see it.

0:33:500:33:57

Finally today, we finish our shift in Lewisham, south London,

0:34:040:34:08

where their mobile phone app to report fly tipping and graffiti has helped transform the area.

0:34:080:34:14

Send in a photo on your phone and the clean up job is automatically assigned.

0:34:140:34:20

No automated switchboards, no pressing 1 to speak to someone.

0:34:200:34:24

Bliss!

0:34:240:34:26

Without any emails, without any interaction with the council,

0:34:310:34:35

you can use your device to track the progress of the work. Fantastic.

0:34:350:34:41

It IS fantastic, but what's even more impressive is the dedication of the people responding,

0:34:410:34:48

rolling up their sleeves and getting the mess cleaned up.

0:34:480:34:52

If you're going to do a job, you've got to love to do that job.

0:34:520:34:56

It's like footballers love playing football, I like to see the place looking nice.

0:34:560:35:03

That's what makes me get up every morning and come to work.

0:35:030:35:07

It's just small-minded people that do this sort of stuff

0:35:070:35:11

and it ruins it for everybody else.

0:35:110:35:14

-But lucky enough, we're there to clean it up.

-What a lovely woman!

0:35:140:35:18

Every borough needs one. Next job - more horrible graffiti.

0:35:180:35:23

My trusty stuff, as always.

0:35:270:35:30

I'll probably irritate around the black and see how it is first, see if it starts running or not.

0:35:300:35:36

And then Vic will just blast it off.

0:35:360:35:39

I think if we get rid of it as soon as it appears,

0:35:390:35:43

the younger kids coming up are not seeing it and don't want to do it.

0:35:430:35:48

Gel painted on. Hit it, Rambo!

0:35:480:35:51

It's come out rather well.

0:35:580:36:00

Rather well? It looks like brand-new, Vic. Take that, graffiti vandals!

0:36:000:36:06

Meanwhile, Paul and Leon have a change from furniture removals.

0:36:060:36:11

We have a load of tree cuttings. Quite a lot.

0:36:110:36:15

Someone's cut their fir tree down and left it here.

0:36:150:36:18

It looks like that archway there.

0:36:180:36:21

It was probably overgrowing and they've chopped it down so they can walk through.

0:36:210:36:27

And left it there.

0:36:270:36:29

Great that someone's got a taste for topiary, but you wouldn't catch Alan Titchmarsh leaving this mess

0:36:290:36:35

after a spot of gardening. Whoever did this doesn't like hard graft.

0:36:350:36:40

They'd have had to chop it up, bag it up and take it away.

0:36:400:36:44

And go and tip it. So they've just left it there.

0:36:440:36:47

Luckily, hard graft doesn't faze Paul and Leon. Another brilliant job.

0:36:480:36:55

Around a third of reports come directly from members of the public.

0:36:570:37:01

The rest come from councillors or the guys out on the streets snapping and sorting out the mess.

0:37:010:37:08

We're doing one job they gave us to actually do on a sheet.

0:37:080:37:12

If we find any small stuff, we'll do all the small stuff all at the same time.

0:37:120:37:18

-Vic is gonna...

-Take a picture.

0:37:180:37:20

That makes everybody's life, anybody who works manually in the council,

0:37:300:37:35

like the dustbin men, the fly tippers, the estate sweepers,

0:37:350:37:40

anyone like that, take a picture of that and they find it straight away.

0:37:400:37:44

This is a lovely piece of application.

0:37:490:37:53

Well done, whoever done it.

0:37:530:37:55

Oh, I think it was Lewisham Council, wasn't it?

0:37:550:37:59

Someone's glowing with pride, aren't they? And quite right, too.

0:37:590:38:03

Next job - it's relentless, this, isn't it?

0:38:030:38:06

Unfortunately, big black doors to an electricity substation are a perfect canvas

0:38:060:38:12

for the graffiti brigade. It's a war of attrition between Julie and the vandal.

0:38:120:38:18

What I've found over the years is that if you keep going back and cleaning it

0:38:180:38:23

every time it's done in the same places, eventually they give up.

0:38:230:38:27

It's costing them too much money. They'll sit and think it looks great,

0:38:270:38:32

and then the next day it's not there any more. So they think, "Oh, flippin' heck!"

0:38:320:38:38

They go and do it again, in exactly the same place, and then eventually when they see it just gets cleaned,

0:38:380:38:44

-they don't bother doing it there any more.

-Something tells me

0:38:440:38:49

this is a war Julie's going to win. And the locals are behind her.

0:38:490:38:53

If you don't remove graffiti, it just encourages people to do more.

0:38:530:38:58

And it blights the whole landscape.

0:38:580:39:02

The landscape and sometimes your own property.

0:39:020:39:06

I just had some graffiti put on my front garden wall,

0:39:060:39:10

which is the first time it's ever happened to me. I'm not in the hanging and flogging brigade,

0:39:100:39:17

but I don't think they'll get punished enough. I won't say they ought to be shot,

0:39:170:39:22

-but it wouldn't bother me if they were.

-Steady on!

0:39:220:39:26

I don't think I'd be too happy if I woke up to graffiti on my wall.

0:39:260:39:31

The doors are restored to their former glory. Another for the album.

0:39:310:39:36

And Vic and Julie are off to be good neighbours. It's the work of the same rotter from the substation.

0:39:360:39:42

I've got one of those sprays, but yours is stronger than mine.

0:39:420:39:47

Otherwise, I'd have painted over it, I suppose, which would mean painting the whole wall, probably.

0:39:470:39:54

Yeah, I'm glad I ran into you! I couldn't have done that myself, I don't think.

0:40:070:40:14

I'm very grateful. I think they're doing a good job.

0:40:140:40:18

-Call that number if it ever comes again and we'll come straight out and do it.

-Thanks very much.

0:40:180:40:24

-You're welcome.

-Ah! I don't know about you, but I've got a lovely warm feeling inside.

0:40:240:40:31

And it shows that those without a smartphone or internet needn't worry

0:40:310:40:36

because traditional methods like phoning the council or stumbling across the team still work.

0:40:360:40:42

Back on the fly tip patrol, Paul and Leon haven't been slacking either. They're collecting.

0:40:420:40:48

One medium-sized tree and, hold on, is that a plaid sofa I see there, nestling in debris?

0:40:480:40:55

So how many is that now? Four? Five?

0:40:550:40:58

A shopping trolley full of things way past their sell-by date.

0:41:000:41:04

Contents of a bedroom - divan, base and carpet.

0:41:040:41:07

And builder's rubble.

0:41:070:41:10

-But it's the old favourite keeping them busy.

-What is it?

-I think a sofa and a table.

0:41:160:41:23

Another sofa? Has anyone in Lewisham got one in their front room?!

0:41:240:41:29

It's off the street, into the van and another bit of pavement left spick and span. Lovely jubbly.

0:41:290:41:36

It may be a relentless battle for our guys, but the Love Lewisham phone app is making a difference.

0:41:380:41:44

Love Lewisham has had a really positive impact on the borough. It's raised residents' satisfaction,

0:41:440:41:50

it's saved money for the taxpayer and made it a more pleasant place.

0:41:500:41:55

The borough are pretty good at tidying up the mess left by certain individuals.

0:41:550:42:00

I don't notice much graffiti around here. Maybe the phone apps, those sorts of things, are working.

0:42:000:42:08

It does seem that with this app that the graffiti is being kept down a lot more.

0:42:080:42:14

We've had a good day today, made a customer really happy that the graffiti's gone off his wall

0:42:140:42:21

and now we're going home. So we'll see you whenever. Ciao!

0:42:210:42:26

Julie and all the clean up teams in Lewisham, you bring sunshine and make it a brighter place to live.

0:42:300:42:38

Hello, mate. Welcome to Lewisham!

0:42:400:42:42

-We thank you.

-# Bring me sunshine... #

0:42:420:42:48

It's a rotten job,

0:42:480:42:50

but luckily there's a whole army of people working tirelessly to keep our streets clean and country green.

0:42:500:42:57

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

0:42:570:43:03

Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2011

0:43:140:43:18

Email [email protected]

0:43:190:43:21

The brazen fly-tipping of a truck-load of asbestos on a public playing field in Middlesbrough, the amazing mobile phone app that means people in South London can report fly-tipping and graffiti to the council at the touch of a button, and how part of a number plate found in a rubbish dump in Neath led investigators to their culprit.