Series investigating Britain's waste dumpers. An undercover operation takes place in a Welsh forest, and an amateur detective tackles the illegal burning of car parts in Sussex.
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Every day, a never-ending war is being waged across Britain
to clean up our towns and countryside.
People just go around and chuck something down.
They don't look to see if people are watching, they just do it.
I think punishment should be very strong fines, without question.
From the tons of cigarette butts, dog's mess and household rubbish,
to mountains of tyres and skip-loads of builders' waste.
It's absolutely ridiculous. It's costing thousands of pounds to clear this up.
If I can pick this stuff up and it's making the area a lot better
for people to drive round and walk round,
then I suppose I should take a bit of pride in that, really.
We're on the frontline of the clear-up and the fight back.
With the dedicated teams tracking down the rogues
and putting the "Great" back into Britain.
You may harm your defence if you fail to mention when questioned
something which you later rely on in court.
On today's programme, an English village, a modern day Miss Marple
and lives blighted by the scandalous behaviour
of one man with a burning desire.
My neighbour came rushing back with her two children,
all gasping and choking, eyes streaming.
She said, "I don't know what to do
"if the children have breathed in something toxic."
And Middlesbrough's local lad on a personal crusade
to keep his manor spick-and-span.
It does wind me up, it is a constant battle.
Just trying to make a difference and clean up.
Welcome to the dirty world of Filthy Rotten Scoundrels.
First today, I'm taking you to the beautiful Llanwonno Forest
in the heart of the Welsh valleys.
This ancient woodland has been used as a backdrop
for BBC One's Arthurian adventure, Merlin, and you can see why.
Immerse yourself in these wonderful unspoilt surroundings
and it feels like you've stepped back to medieval times.
That is, until you come across a 21st-century monstrosity -
man-made rubbish tips everywhere.
Locals are so outraged
that many of them volunteer to help clean up the area.
The problem is here, sometimes it gets so bad
that you have to clean the roads to get to work
or to get through the valley sometimes.
You don't want to drive your car over a pile of glass.
There are areas where you look down the banking
and there is just sheer tons of rubbish,
just dumped all the way down the banking
and you know it's going to be hard to clean because of the area.
It's basically too difficult and too expensive to clean it up
in some cases.
But the fight for good continues in this ancient woodland.
Meet Jonathan Barratt, who's on a quest to bring down
the rotten scoundrels defiling his gorgeous countryside.
It's a beauty spot, it's very well used by mountain bikers,
walkers, horse-riders and other countryside users.
The area itself is really one of Outstanding Natural Beauty
and unfortunately, when you get people coming in and fly-tipping,
it's ruining the area.
It's making it unsightly and causing real problems.
It doesn't take Jonathan long
to find some particularly offensive material.
Why anyone thinks it's OK
to use this Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty as a rubbish tip
is beyond me.
What an eyesore!
But Jonathan's got plenty of tricks up his sleeve
to track down the rogues who did this.
One thing we do when we get fresh fly-tipping such as this
is we'll have a look around and see if we can find anything
with any identifying marks on it.
You'd be surprised how many letters we can find
that will contain people's names and addresses.
If we can find that,
that will immediately give us something to start working on.
So... Typically, here's something here.
It looks like a small child's homework from school
but it contains the name of the child and the class they're from.
From that, it should be quite easy to be able to identify therefore
where the rubbish has come from.
If we can do that, it might be we can then find out
who has actually dumped the rubbish here as well.
My feeling here is probably
a lot of this is from somebody who has moved out of a property.
A landlord will have come along,
paid someone else to clear the property
and rather than taking that rubbish to the dump, to the tip,
they've brought it into the mountainside and dumped it.
But landlords are still responsible for their rubbish
and need to be sure it's thrown out responsibly.
They can be fined if it isn't, and the evidence here is piling up.
This pile of muck is top of Jonathan's list,
so he's taking drastic action to sort it out, once and for all.
This is less Merlin, and more Spooks.
What we're going to do is do a surveillance operation up here.
What that will consist of is installing some covert cameras
that we can literally hide in ditches, in bushes,
on trees, that sort of thing.
We'll try to capture some of the vehicles
and the details of the vehicles that are responsible for the fly-tipping.
We'll also double that up with some live surveillance on some evenings
whereby we'll come down here and strategically place some officers.
They will watch and see if they can, again, see people coming
and actually dumping the rubbish.
This sounds like an undercover operation worthy of MI5's best.
Jonathan's prepared to throw the whole book at whoever did this.
We want people from anywhere to be able to come
and enjoy these types of areas
without having to have their enjoyment spoilt
by mindless vandalism -
that's the only word I can possibly use for it - as we see here.
Well said, Jonathan. But sadly, it's happening across the country,
which is why Fly-tipping Action Wales
was formed in 2007.
It's a Welsh government-funded partnership between local councils,
the police and environmental groups who work together
to put a stop to this anti-social behaviour.
The action group is helping to co-ordinate
the surveillance at Llanwonno Forest.
Gary Inight is one of its members
and has come down to the site to work out their plan.
You've got some good vantage points here, you can get some good footage.
Plenty of coverage, we could hide a camera in the tree.
We've got the banking over here,
we could hide the box by digging and burying it into the ground.
-Plenty of places for us to put the camera.
I think the chances of the camera being discovered are almost nil.
Fly-tippers wouldn't expect the camera to be down here.
With Gary's seal of approval everything is good to go,
for what I'm going to call Operation Spooks.
And Jonathan's confident
they can repeat the success of past operations.
We've got some people that have been caught,
and we've caught them again a second time.
Oh right. You'd think that would be a deterrent, wouldn't you?
You would do. In fact, we had one guy who had a waste carriage licence,
-we ended up taking an ASBO out against him.
-One of the things we said,
was he was prohibited from having any vehicle
that didn't have the company name and details on.
Which made it very easy to identify
-if he was turning up and depositing waste illegally.
A-ha, very sly! But what a brilliant ploy to trap the no-good scoundrels.
A few days later,
Jonathan is back to carry out his undercover surveillance operation.
An innocent-looking travel bag reveals tiny cameras,
perfect for a secret operation.
An innocent-looking dry stone wall
becomes a secret eye on the murky world of the fly-tipper.
An innocent-looking tree,
the perfect disguise for the final camera.
The whole area's covered -
Now it's just a waiting game to see who makes it onto candid camera,
and get the comeuppance they deserve.
Coming up - there's a phantom tyre-dumper on the loose.
You can clearly see
that he's loaded with tyres on the back of that vehicle.
But will Jonathan catch him?
He then turns around, and he comes back out,
with the tyres still on the back of the vehicle.
Now to a shocking story
of one family's brazen and shameless behaviour,
which got curtains twitching in deepest Sussex.
This is the village of Westfield, complete with pub,
church and bowling green.
But in 2007, this peaceful community was put under threat
by some very nasty neighbours indeed.
It all started when father and son Robert and Matthew Bilsby
took a lease on a local barn.
They replied to an advert in the newspaper.
I asked a few locals if anyone had heard of them,
and I had had no negative reports back, and took them on.
They told local farmer Stuart Howard
that their waste business was entirely above board.
It was purely skip hire,
renting them out, nothing to be imported back in.
That was alongside the storage of motor vehicles.
But the pair had been telling Stuart porkies,
as local resident Bernadine Fiddimore found out.
I noticed large fires taking place behind, on an almost nightly basis.
They burned very brightly, and for a long, long time,
with lots of plumes of black smoke,
rather than the sort of thing you associate perhaps
with wood and organic material.
The thing was, Bernadine had a bird's-eye view of the barn,
and what she saw made her smell a rat.
It was an absolute perfect view. I could see the barn,
I could see the skips coming in and out,
I could see the fires being set and the fires burning,
sometimes all night, all weekend on occasion.
What Bernardine was witnessing
was an entirely illegal waste disposal operation.
The Bilsbys where bringing back skips containing tons of rubbish.
I one day saw a skip lorry going in
which clearly had, either washing machines or fridges or freezers,
or something of that type on the back.
And I know the skips left empty,
so I know that some sort of disposal was going on.
They were just stockpiling it all here,
and then setting light to it all. Yes.
The Bilsbys were operating with no waste carrier's licence,
no waste treatment licence,
no landfill licence,
and no shame.
But Bernadine was not going to let their skulduggery spoil her view, and poison the countryside.
She turned into something of a Miss Marple -
well, every English village needs one!
I checked the website and there was no licence granted.
So my suspicions were aroused even more
and I started corresponding with the council frequently at that point.
Good work, Bernadine.
And unluckily for the Bilsbys, her letters,
and those of other concerned locals,
ended up on the desk of Rother Council's
head of environmental enforcement, Michael Adams.
As he gathered evidence,
he realised he taken on a case of serious environmental crime.
Bits of plastic,
metal bolts, pieces of wood, ceramics.
Virtually every conceivable type of waste you can think of,
including kids' toys.
That was all burnt, and went up into the environment.
The polluting duo were raking in the cash,
charging the unsuspecting for waste disposal they carried out on the cheap,
with horrible effects on the environment.
But that wasn't the end of their greed.
Inside the barn, they were operating a massive car scrap business.
In conjunction with the waste activities
that were taking place outside,
they were also bringing in end-of-life vehicles, scrap vehicles.
And they were stacked almost floor-to-ceiling -
eight, nine vehicles high at any one time.
Various fluids were taken out, in particular diesel and petrol.
The catalytic converters were taken out of the vehicles,
the batteries were taken out.
For 1,000 catalytic converters, they could have got up to £40,000.
-was big business, Bilsby style.
Maybe that made them reckless.
Their regular pyres of burning waste were getting out of hand.
There came an occasion where my neighbour came rushing back
with her two children, all gasping and choking, eyes streaming.
They'd driven through a plume of thick black smoke outside the barn.
She said, "I just don't know what to do. I don't know if the children have breathed in something toxic."
I came up to the attic. Sure enough, a huge fire was burning.
And on that occasion, it seemed to be so out of control,
and nobody there, that I called the fire brigade.
The Environment Agency began using Bernadine's attic
as a vantage point to monitor and photograph the building.
Meanwhile, beleaguered farmer Stuart
was coming under pressure from the authorities
because the crimes were on his land.
Things got so bad that I started to get letters
from the Environment Agency as well as the council.
And it was then that I confronted them
and they got quite bullish and confrontational back.
And that's when our relationship broke down.
Mike needed to find a way of nailing the Bilsbys.
We set up a permanent camera at the entrance, in the bushes,
and monitored large numbers of vehicles being brought into site,
and also a large amount of skips.
But Mike knew that there was only one way to crack the case.
He needed to catch the Bilsbys red-handed,
in the act of burning waste on camera.
In August 2009, Robert Bilsby was filmed covertly
walking from the front of the barn, with a bucket full of accelerant.
And he was filmed covertly actually setting fire to it.
He hasn't done his health and safety training at all, obviously.
Add it to the list, Mike.
Finally, it looked as though
the council and Environment Agency
had the pyromaniac pair bang to rights.
Let's see the dirty deed again.
Smile, Mr Bilsby. You're on camera.
I showed a large amount of photographs
to both of the defendants
which included still photographs of Robert Bilsby
setting fire to the waste. He made no comment to it.
I imagine he was quite surprised at the time, though.
Mike was right.
In December 2009, Robert and Matthew Bilsby
pleaded guilty to 11 waste disposal offences at Hove Crown Court.
They were jailed for eight months, and ordered to pay £26,000 in costs.
It was a victory for Rother Council
in the biggest case of this kind they had ever brought to court.
And the Bilsbys were also ordered to pay the traumatised farmer, Stuart Howard,
£6,000 to help with the costs of cleaning up his land.
I think it was approximately 20 lorry loads.
There were three categories -
one was toxic, another was just bulk builder stuff,
another was burnable.
The worst ordeal was not knowing if they were ever going to get out.
When they were stuck in there, almost as a sitting tenant,
I thought, "I've got these guys for life."
And that made me very nervous.
As far as I'm concerned, they both got what they deserved.
They were abusive and threatening to the landowner,
they were abusive and threatening to two of my colleagues.
They refused to take heed of the various warning
and notification of offences that were sent to them,
and the visits that were given up here by my colleagues.
They got what they deserved.
Great result all round,
and a case Miss Marple herself would be proud of.
More super-sleuthing, now.
Back in South Wales,
where environment enforcer Jonathan Barratt
is hot on the trail of rotten scoundrels
bringing muck and destruction to the gorgeous Llanwonno Forest.
A few weeks ago, he squirrelled away some surveillance cameras
to capture the dirty fly-tippers in action.
And now is the moment of truth.
What we see
is that a white pick-up, two-wheel drive,
actually arrives on site.
And you can clearly see
that he's loaded with tyres on the back of that vehicle.
Not what you'd expect to see on a country lane in a secluded forest.
Then, as we go through, two walkers appear
and we believe that that spooked him, because he then turns around,
and he comes back out with the tyres still on the back of the vehicle.
OK, OK. Innocent until proven guilty.
Maybe he was just taking his tyres out for a nice little drive.
We can also make out the registration plate,
and from his registration plate, it was very easy for us
to identify the vehicle and who it belongs to.
And it turns out it does belong to a local business.
So Jonathan has got a suspect, but no crime as yet.
So he leaves site with the tyres.
However, on reviewing the footage further,
we can actually make out that he returns again
a couple of hours later.
'Ello, 'ello, 'ello!
Back for another nice drive in the country, sir?
This time, when he returns with the tyres,
he goes onto the site, as per the first time.
But when he comes off,
we can see that there are no tyres present on the back of the vehicle.
Busted! And he doesn't even know he's been caught on camera.
So, from that, we are confident that this person
is the person that is responsible
for the fly-tipping of the tyres on that lane.
And we will be expecting him to answer what he did with the tyres
and why he's left them there.
Well, you've been framed, mate.
Only I don't think you're going to be getting £250 appearance fee
for this little stunt.
Hopefully, he'll be the one having to fork out
for his outrageous display.
And it's all thanks to our Merlin's magical undercover operation.
Without the footage, we would never be able to capture these people.
The only way we could capture them is if we happened to be in the right place at the right time,
which, when we cover a whole county borough, is almost impossible.
So it just shows the benefit of having such equipment.
So let's see with our own eyes what the fly-tipper actually left
on his night-time mission.
Just look at how many there are.
What we see here Is a real range of tyres.
This is incredible.
It hardly qualifies
as an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty now, does it?
This one here looks like it could even be a lorry tyre.
More like an Area Of Outstandingly Bad Behaviour.
There's clearly tyres from a wide range of vehicles here.
Probably someone who changes tyres for a living. Maybe a small garage, something along those lines.
Remember, Jonathan's got the registration number of whoever did this,
so they can expect a visit soon.
Coming up - the adrenaline starts pumping.
Oh, brilliant. Come here.
Let's wait here.
Operation Spooks takes on a whole new dimension.
If he comes on site, we'll actually catch him.
Our next stop is Middlesbrough,
a place with more than its fair share of filthy rotten scoundrels.
Last year, the council dealt with
almost 3,000 different illegal rubbish dumps,
costing them a not-very-cool £250,000.
Luckily, there's one man who's relentless in his determination
to beat the rubbish rogues,
and passionate about clearing up the area.
Meet environmental enforcement officer and local lad Lee Hooker.
This work's ongoing,
that's how I'd describe it.
This is my patch.
It's got to stop.
Do I think we'll win?
Something tells me Lee usually gets what he wants.
Today, he's on his regular patrol
around the warren of terraced houses and alleyways
which make up his patch.
It's not glamorous work.
I've stopped the car
because there's some rubbish dumped outside the alley gate.
But nothing escapes this environmental detective.
Watch this man go!
That bin, that's a commercial bin in the alleyway.
Even a bin out of place gets the Lee treatment.
It's not acceptable.
It should be in the alleyway.
Just check that the bin can move.
I'll very often get the excuse,
"Well, I couldn't move the bin, the bin's jammed."
Now it's checked
and I'll serve them a legal notice telling them to move the bin.
You've got to bear in mind as well,
that these streets were cleansed by our fellas a couple of days ago,
and it's in this state already.
Lee's not happy, but maybe this muck will lead him to a perpetrator.
I'm going through the bag because I want to know who's put it here.
And I want to know who's put it here cos it's two days after cleansing.
You can just tell how much Lee cares about cleaning up his neighbourhood.
Unfortunately, on this occasion,
there's no hard evidence as to where the bags are from.
Some people know they're doing wrong and take the evidence out, the letterheads,
which is their prerogative.
But Lee's not giving up yet.
Just door-knocking to see if I can find out if anybody's seen anybody.
The dangers are that it attracts pests and vermin,
it attracts undesirables
that might want to root about other people's rubbish
for whatever reason.
It's a slip hazard,
it's just unsightly, unnecessary.
With no-one around to question, Lee does what every good person does -
rolls up his sleeves and gets stuck in.
I've just got an alleyway that needs some loose litter clearing.
It's about two split refuse sacks' worth.
It looks as though people without keys to the alleyways
are throwing their rubbish over the gates.
This area is Lee's manor,
and keeping the place clean is like a personal crusade.
It does wind me up, it is a constant battle,
just trying to make a difference and clean up.
And it winds up the locals too.
Fly-tipping in Middlesborough...
I hate it, I absolutely hate it.
I think that goes well beyond a fine,
I think it goes well beyond community service.
I think that's imprisonment, that.
Because they're going out of their way
to do something illegal -
really going out of their way.
And they're just being lazy, at the end of the day.
We have an excellent waste disposal service at the local dump.
Why they're not using it I don't know. But I hate fly tipping.
Lee gets straight on with his patrol,
and his built-in litter-seeking system soon kicks in.
I've just observed four people stood outside a building, all smoking,
and there's some ground sign of cigarettes on the floor as well.
It may just be a cigarette,
but this sort of thing still upsets Lee and the locals.
It's leading to a problem.
The whole pavement will be a sea of cigarettes.
Right. The lady in the brown top has tossed her cigarette to the right.
Putting on his head-cam to record the action,
no-nonsense Lee's going in.
Excuse me, can I have a word, ladies, please?
I observed you toss your cigarette away. Why did that happen?
-We haven't got nowhere to put them.
-There's nowhere to put them out?
Something tells me Lee isn't a man who likes excuses.
If you're smoking, it's something in your possession,
you just stub it out and keep it in something that you choose to use.
Are you willing to pick it up now?
I don't even know which one it is.
-See what I mean? There's loads.
-That's not going to wash with Lee.
Dropping a fag-end is actually an offence
and he could issue an on-the-spot fine.
You may receive a letter in the post from us.
But the matter will be recorded.
It's a fair cop because the accumulated waste
is pretty revolting.
The estimate I would guess is about 100 cigarette ends on the pavement
and in the entrance gate to the building.
It's not acceptable to just drop your cigarettes on the floor.
So do the right thing -
stub them out and find a bin. It's just not that hard.
And you never know, it may even make Lee crack a smile.
Because there's no rest for this tireless filth-fighter.
Hello, Lee speaking. How can I help?
His partner, enforcement officer Phil Armitage, is on the phone.
I'm just going to investigate a fly tip and meet with Phil.
Officer Lee Hooker, attending the scene of a fly tip.
So we'll just photograph the scene
and just try and find out what we can find out.
Cue the detective music.
This is one pongy tip,
and Phil's as fed up as Lee that anyone would do this kind of thing.
It's a legal bin area, so there shouldn't be any bags dumped.
Normally what they would say is, "I've had my wheelie bin pinched."
But, there's half a skipful here,
-so there's no way this has come out of a wheelie bin.
-They've loaded that into a car
-and then probably just brought it here.
-Searching through this smelly waste may be filthy,
but it's one way to find clues which might lead them to whoever did it,
and help them reduce this crime.
-And they've struck lucky.
-We've found evidence.
We've got ID from an address just around the corner.
The easiest thing is to go round, speak to the gentleman,
to see what explanation he's got.
They suspect it's going to be the same old story.
The householders will have waste on the front.
They may be planning to take it to the tip,
but a van will pull up and say,
"Do you want that waste moving?" "How much?" "20 quid."
They make an agreement, the waste can then just get fly-tipped.
And the householder, well,
they can now be prosecuted under the household duty of care.
The address they've found is just around the corner.
They want to get to the bottom of how this waste came to be dumped.
See if they're in.
Hello there. We're from Middlesbrough Council.
-We're with the Environment Enforcement Team.
Basically, we believe that an offence may have taken place.
The interview finished,
it seems like it was a bit of a case of out of sight, out of mind.
Basically, that lady that we've just spoken to
has paid her brother's friend to remove the waste.
He said he was going to put it in a skip.
Basically, it's ended up tipped.
And she's confirmed that
all that stuff that has been found is her stuff.
She has no transfer note, no receipts.
She didn't check if the person who took the waste
was a registered waste carrier or licensed,
so she may well end up in court for this,
unless she can provide details
of the gentleman who actually took the waste.
That may sound harsh,
but everyone has a responsibility for seeing their waste is disposed of responsibly,
and Phil and Lee will make sure you take the rap if you don't.
And Lee's standards obviously rubbed off
at the office with the cigarette dump.
They cleaned up their act after Lee offered them a bin for cigarettes.
Lee Hooker, you deserve a medal.
We're back in the Welsh valleys now,
where our tenacious environment enforcer, Jonathan Barratt,
is battling the grubby forces of evil
that are tipping rubbish on his beautiful patch.
But if you thought seeing piles of household muck and stacks of tyres was bad,
it just got worse -
a whole lot worse - here in South Wales.
Now, who in their right mind would do this?
Someone is transporting large amounts of waste to a field,
dumping it, and then setting fire to it.
The fact that they're bringing it here and then burning it
is clearly evidence, as far as we're concerned,
that they're just trying to get rid of it on the cheap.
It's not just laziness that motivates these filthy rogues,
it's also about saving a few bob, and blow the environment.
So this is the spot here,
where the fires tend to be lit in the fields, burning the waste.
When you look around, you see the rolling fields, the hills,
you've got the forests of Llanwonno over there,
and it is an area of natural beauty,
and because of that, we do get a lot of visitors.
We get a lot of people coming up on bikes or just walking,
and then down here, we have a fire burning -
waste is being illegally gotten rid of.
It's truly outrageous behaviour,
and Jonathan can't bear it.
It makes me angry
when I see people disposing of waste in this manner.
When I see people fly-tipping, or just littering,
throwing a crisp packet on the floor,
it makes me angry to think that people have such little respect,
for not just the countryside, but our town centres as well.
You know, we all have to live here equally together,
and it's such a shame when people have such little regard for it.
You can see how passionate he is about this beautiful countryside,
and he's already got his sights set on the rotten fire-starters.
We've monitored the site,
and although we've not caught the persons responsible
for bringing the waste here and depositing it,
we are pretty confident we know who they are.
It's a case now of getting that final piece of evidence and catching them in the act.
Hello, hang on a minute! Who goes there?
Just give me two seconds. I'm always interested when I hear vehicles.
Ah, ah! Brilliant! Come here. Let's wait here.
This is the vehicle, and he's got waste on the back. If he comes on site, we'll actually catch him.
ENGINE CHUGS And listen...
That sounds like his engine's slowing down.
CAR COMES TO A STOP
Damn it, he's coming on site!
He's coming on site.
Now, this isn't a registered waste disposal site,
so if he does deposit the waste here,
there are offences that will be committed,
and if the waste is then set fire to and burnt,
there are other offences there that we can look at taking action for.
So if we just wait a few minutes,
hopefully we'll... We might catch him in the act.
It might be that he's turned round.
He has, he's turned round.
Look, you can see, he's got a van full of waste.
It looks like what's actually happened is he's turned up
and he's turned round and driven off again.
It might be that they've seen the vehicles further up the road
and said, "Don't dump anything today."
So, no-one caught red-handed today.
But with a brilliant passion for keeping his local area clean,
I reckon it's only a matter of time before Jonathan gets his man.
From wonderful beaches and a rugged countryside,
to medieval forests
and beautiful nature reserves.
These unspoilt landscapes
are what define Britain and make it great.
Some of this land is owned by the National Trust,
formed in 1895 to protect and preserve heritage sites and green spaces.
Like Bookham Common, Surrey.
This is a magnificent undulating open space, filled with oak woods,
scrub and grassland spread across 370 acres,
and all of this within a stone's throw of the M25.
So having this bit of green space
is all the more important to the people who visit.
It's just nice to get out in the fresh air and, you know,
-nice open space.
-Yeah, especially when the little one grows up,
for running around in.
Cos it's lovely and green,
so it's quite important to us, as a family.
We've just been cycling through Bookham Common.
It's a great common to cycle through,
and it's just lovely to take in all the trees
and just hear the noises of nature.
And doesn't it make you want to put on your boots
and go for a nice long walk?
But then, someone's got to go and spoil it all, with this...
..piles of illegally dumped waste.
Shocking, but sadly something wardens Rob and Ian
are only too used to.
-So, we've got another one.
-Yet another deposit.
Yeah, it's mainly tree cuttings and shrubs from someone's garden.
-That's a garden shrub.
-But also all these car parts.
Car parts?! Unbelievable!
I mean, we can probably... We can try and recycle some of it.
We put it in the steel skip, but there's a lot of other rubbish here.
Depending on what it is, I mean, sometimes we get chemicals,
and if those chemicals are leaching out into the ground,
or if they're in close proximity to a waterway,
we've got a real situation on our hands.
I'll just remind you
that someone thought it was OK to dump this lot
on National Trust land.
There's oil on here.
The oil will be leaching down the rivulet of water down there.
That will find its way to the stream.
It's all pollution.
Covered in oil.
Some of it's got berries on.
There's a possibility of seeds being deposited and germinating.
We have risk assessments in place for these sort of things.
The wardens have to glove-up when they're handling it.
There may be needles in there, syringes, this sort of thing.
The whole range, really. So you do have to be very careful
before you start to pick it up, you know.
Eugh! That sounds a bit dodgy, I wouldn't like to have to clear that,
but this isn't the only dump to appear on the common.
This is the material that arrived on Wednesday night.
I think we're going to have to call our local contractor.
OK, this might not look much,
I know what you're thinking - it's not exactly toxic waste.
But, this pile of turf
has been left bang in the middle of the car park
and has to be cleared up -
and that means time and money.
In terms of the cost of this you're probably looking at £300
to get rid of this lot today.
That's another £300 that's got to come out of the pot.
You know, we are a charity, sites like this don't make money.
There is a net cost in managing these places.
That's £300 that could be spent on a public access benefit
or some nature conservation work.
Annoying? That's an understatement.
It's unbelievable, and it's what upsets us Brits.
Bookham Common is hit with around 20 fly tips a year,
some of which are mountains of muck and can cost up to £1,000 to clear.
In all, up to £15,000 is coming out of the National Trust's kitty
to clean up these scoundrels' mess.
And there's another more hidden problem.
A lot of garden waste
where alien species get introduced to the property as well.
And they tend to smother the native plants
that the wildlife needs to survive.
So, it's very important that we don't have these invasive garden plants
on sites like this
because of the damage that they can do
to the native wildlife.
And this place is bursting with wildlife.
There's foxes, badgers,
woodpeckers, deer, newts,
1,550 species of beetle,
the rare Purple Emperor and White Admiral butterflies...
Phew! The list just goes on.
OK, so we didn't see any of those the day we were there,
so you get some nice pictures of trees instead.
But the shy wildlife is why Bookham was made a site
of special scientific interest in 1961.
So why in the world dump your rubbish here?
Just look at this next fly tip -
a van-load full of chunks of concrete.
It is beyond me!
This arrived similar time, really,
early hours of the evening.
It's probably concrete from someone's driveway.
There's no real pattern to this.
They come out here in the evening
and sometimes they'll drive a lot deeper into the common
and totally block a track, so that even vehicles can't get in or out.
But Rob and Ian do their best to track them down.
They'll get stuck into the tips to dig out any clues
to work out where the rubbish came from
and then the owners will get a visit.
Sometimes people are quite shocked,
they think it's been taken away
and dealt with in a responsible manner.
And they're shocked when you explain to them,
your rubbish has ended up
on one of our properties in the car park,
and they're quite shocked by it.
But if we can, we'll trace it back to the people who brought it here
and it'll be followed up with the police.
Too right, these scoundrels shouldn't be allowed to get away
and regular visitors are fed up with it.
Terrible, these people have probably been paid to do a job
and they've told them they're going to dispose of it sensibly
in the correct places and they obviously haven't.
They've picked their moment
and just found a spot and dumped it.
Other people shouldn't have to pick up other people's rubbish at the end of the day!
I'd like to see their reaction
-if they woke up with that on their driveway.
To see things like that,
it's wasting time and money
when it could be spent on resources in the woodland
and the National Trust as a whole.
-Yeah, it's terrible.
-It's a real shame.
-Yeah, it's not good.
Well said, plus it's galling for members of the National Trust
who pay around £45 a year to support its brilliant work.
Tempers are flaring.
To just dump rubbish
in an open space
is totally unnecessary
and they just have no regard for nature.
Not only have we paid our subscription to be able to benefit from these parks,
but we're paying for vandals that think they can just dump rubbish.
Ooh, I'd love the vandals to come face-to-face with this lady!
I've no doubt she'd show them what for.
But, at least she doesn't have to look at that mess any longer,
for the cleaning cavalry has arrived.
So what have we got here?
A pick-up truck carrying a little digger and a tipping lorry. What a palaver!
I'm not surprised it's costing 300 quid, it's quite an operation.
And here's the man in charge, Arthur Elms,
who's just as angry as everyone else.
It's happening all the time, illegal fly-tippers.
It usually either tyres, or concrete, or dirt, or builders' rubbish, anything.
I think it's terrible, it's a blight to the countryside.
There's plenty of facilities to tip this sort of rubbish,
so why they can't go to the right places, I don't know.
And I think Arthur's speaking for most of Britain here,
so the digger does its thing.
One down, one to go.
And within half an hour,
the car park's been cleared up and the concrete is loaded up,
ready to be disposed of properly.
This one's been a very easy one today,
it's been straightforward,
it's tipped on the hard surface of the tarmac.
Sometimes they tip it over the posts and into the trees, which makes life more difficult.
But Today it's been a nice easy one.
Easy or not, it's a job that should never have had to happen in the first place.
But now the car park's cleared,
and once again there's room for visitors to park up
and enjoy this lovely common.
Nice one, Arthur!
-Thank you very much.
-We'll see you on the next one.
-Not too soon I hope.
Well, we hope not. Thank you. Bye-bye.
Before we go today, an update on a couple of investigations.
In the Welsh valleys,
the man dumping waste in a field and setting fire to it
has put his hands up to his revolting actions
and is now waiting to hear his fate.
And Jonathan is also well on the case
with the person who did this...
Last time we were here at this spot, there was a fresh dump of tyres
in this particular spot.
As you can see, those tyres have now been burned
and all that remains are the wires that are contained within the tyres.
There was also correspondence
relating to a particular person and a particular address.
Those investigations are ongoing.
We have invited someone in for an interview,
they have failed to attend.
So our next step is we'll be visiting them in their home
to try and ascertain why their items were found in this location.
More good detective work,
and more proof that if you do this kind of thing,
you will be tracked down.
From builders' rubble to household waste, and everything in between.
There's a great British army of enforcers out there
working to keep our country tidy.
Join us next time,
when we'll be chasing down more Filthy Rotten Scoundrels.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
We hear about an undercover operation to catch fly-tippers who are using a Welsh forest as their own personal rubbish dump, and the modern-day Miss Marple who stopped the brazen and illegal burning of car parts in Sussex. Plus, how the National Trust is struggling to cope with the number of people dumping truck-loads of rubbish on their land.