Series following council officers. Officers stage a crackdown on rogue scrap metal traders and come to the assistance of a resident who calls for help with a noisy mill.
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From waste and recycling
to pest control and Trading Standards...
..the taxes that we pay to our local councils
are used to provide many of our most essential services.
I like people who are keen to recycle.
In this series we follow the frontline staff
working behind the walls of Tameside Town Hall
in Greater Manchester.
Like council officers across the country,
these local heroes are waging war
on those blighting our communities.
-Oi, oi, oi!
-Excuse me, love, you can't do that!
They're protecting us from hidden dangers...
If there's rodent activity in your kitchen
you won't be opening tonight. It's that simple.
..making sure our cash is spent on those who need it most...
I'm at a loose end.
I do not know where to turn.
..and responding to their residents when they call the council.
Tempers fray as the council enforces new regulations
aimed at clamping down on the illicit trade of scrap metal.
Yeah, I'm not happy about all these new licenses.
I think it's a load of BLEEP.
I think it's just robbing us...proper.
A council officer responds to calls from concerned locals
and rescues a disease-ridden dog in distress
found roaming the streets.
All his skin's split down the side of his face
and he's started to bleed.
And a resident calls the council
to complain about a neighbouring mill
that she believes is causing her endless sleepless nights.
The noise was very bad last night.
Like a "zzzz", like that. All the time.
And so I never get a full night's sleep.
Almost two million people in the UK work for one of our 433 councils.
Funded by the taxes we pay,
they work hard to stretch every penny of their budgets.
From refuse collections and road maintenance
to pest control and licensing businesses,
hard working officers like John Gregory
know that serving the public well is at the core of every task they do.
The primary purpose of the licensing department in any local authority
is to protect public safety.
We deal with that stuff that falls
just below the level of seriousness for the police
but still has quite a serious impact on public safety.
Like their council colleagues across the country,
John's team controls a variety of licensed businesses,
from pubs and clubs to off-licences and taxis.
Another trade that has recently been regulated is scrap metal.
The Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 2013 was established
to licence the trade and stamp out metal theft.
Today, John and his team are working with the police on Operation Alloy,
which aims ensure that local dealers are adhering to the new legislation.
The ones that want to operate legitimately
have applied to us for licences.
They will have a disc displayed in the vehicle
that says they're licensed with us.
Between April 2012 and March 2013
police in England and Wales recorded over 61,000 metal theft offences.
Nearly half of these involved removal of metal
from structures linked to essential services
like water, heating or electrical supplies,
railway cabling and even manhole covers.
42% of recorded offences
related to thefts from metal fences, gates and war memorials.
I'm sure we're all familiar with these people
who travel round your estates,
removing scrap metal off people's drives.
What we want to do
is filter out the known thieves from that.
So there is a process where they have to apply to us.
They have to produce a CRB Criminal Records check.
And we have to carry out a number of background checks on these people
to see that they're fit to do that.
And if they're not, they won't get a licence.
And if they carry on collecting scrap metal without a licence,
they commit an offence.
Until the new law came into effect in October 2013
anyone could trade in scrap metal without a licence.
But now mobile scrap metal collectors
must display a licence on their vehicle
and no dealers are allowed to buy scrap for cash.
Licensing officers like John, and colleague Dave Smith,
can revoke a dealer's licence at any time,
and impose fines of up to £5,000.
As part of today's operation
it's Dave's job to find dealers out on the streets,
so that their licence can be spot-checked.
It's not long before he sees some traders with a vanload of scrap.
All right, lads? How you doing?
I'm from licensing at Tameside.
Don't know if you know, we're running an operation today.
I'm not happy about this new licensing.
-I think it's a load of
I think it's robbing us proper.
Prices vary by region, but obtaining a licence can cost traders
over £300 and has to be renewed every three years.
I think there are people out there who like to bash the council.
And certainly from an enforcement side of things you see that quite a bit.
The trick is not to take it personally.
I don't take what they're saying personally.
It's one of those things that if it wasn't me doing it,
somebody else would be doing it.
It's a way of getting money out of you.
As part of today's operation,
the roadworthiness of each vehicle will also be checked.
Dave escorts them to the council's depot to further
inspect their truck and their paperwork.
These lads with the scrap they've got on the back of their wagon,
the tickets they've got should stipulate
they were all collected in Stockport.
If they collected waste in Tameside,
they need a licence to do so.
As the police and vehicle agency give the trucks a thorough
once over, this dealer's day is about to get a lot
worse as they discovers his tyres are very worn.
The tyres aren't roadworthy so they'll need replacing.
Every minute spent here is costing the dealers money.
Should be out earning for my family, providing but I came here
and let the police check and they told me I need two new tyres.
Because they're getting very low. Another hundred quid, if not more.
Again, for what? For these to have a little field day watching us all?
We done nowt wrong. We're all above board, paid all our taxes.
What more do you want off us? More money, I guess?
But their ordeal's not over,
because Dave wants to check that they're sticking to the conditions
of the new licence regime and not collecting scrap from Tameside.
Under the new legislative requirements you need to keep a
record of the waste that you get and where you got it.
There's a bit of an issue with this one
because we've got a load of scrap on the back.
He says it's from a certain place.
But we've got no verification it's from this place.
It could be, it might not be. I'm taking him at his word.
I don't think he's lying, to be honest with you.
But in terms of what's required legislatively he's not done
what he needs to do.
Dave has a difficult decision to make,
but because the laws are new the traders are cautioned
and warned that if they flout them in the future, council
licensing officers like Dave and John may not be quite so lenient.
Still to come, Operation Alloy continues to scour
the borough looking for rogue scrap metal.
Apparently he's put the scrap metal in the back to take
it for a ride around the block and he's taking it home again.
So we will deal with that appropriately.
Across the nation, council environmental services teams
deal with a plethora of problems blighting our day-to-day lives.
From fly tipping and pest control to graffiti and noise pollution.
Morning, Tameside council, can I help?
I'll try the line for environmental services for you.
Bear with me one moment.
Last year, there were 200,000 noise nuisance
complaints in England and Wales alone.
Tameside resident Sheila Hardy has lodged one of them.
She's called the council claiming that an apparently relentless
noise from a nearby mill
has led her to suffer six months of sleepless nights.
It's a constant very loud humming, buzzing noise.
I'm disturbed every night.
It's very stressful because nobody wants to be awake all night long.
As the noise is affecting Sheila's health and wellbeing,
if it can be substantiated, it will be classed as a statutory
nuisance, which could lead to prosecution.
Hello, environmental services. Rodgers speaking.
And it's the job of council officer Phil Rodgers to
attempt to find a swift and amicable solution for all concerned.
More often than not what tends to happen in regards to
industrial noise is there will be a new process put in place,
and they won't be aware that is causing a problem
to the nearby domestic premises. It can be a nightmare.
Phil's first task is to visit Sheila Hardy and establish
if the levels of noise are causing a statutory nuisance.
Hello, pleased to meet you.
I'm Phil Rodgers from TMBC, I've spoken to you on the phone.
As you know I've come to put recording equipment in.
Is that OK?
-Shall we go and put it in the bathroom?
Recording the noise will allow Phil to investigate Sheila's
complaint in more detail.
There's the mill.
Yeah, I've had a look how close it is.
We've measured it at 130m, I think.
If the noise levels are excessive, and a therefore a legal
nuisance, the council has the power to demand that the mill
restricts the activities that are creating the noise.
This is the activator which you'll press.
If noise levels are a nuisance, failure to put abatement measures
in place could ultimately lead to fines of up to £20,000.
So are you quite happy using that?
-Thank you very much.
With the equipment in place, the onus is now on Sheila to
capture evidence of the noise that's she's complaining about.
Recording now wouldn't do any good.
But when the surrounding noise levels drop there might be
a perceivable hum or they might change the process at night
when they do night work.
So what I'm asking Mrs Hardy to do is record that
when it affects her the most.
And we'll analyse the recordings
and look at the kind of levels she's having to put up with.
Hopefully the outcome of this will be that
I can get a good night's sleep again, with a bit of luck.
Controlling noise pollution is just one of the many tasks undertaken
by council officers across the country, who work tirelessly
behind the scenes to provide the essential services we all rely on.
Services that we sometimes take for granted.
My job is to collect any stray animals that are out
and about on the street. Good lad. It's mainly dogs, but we do do other
things, like cats, horses, donkeys, snakes, whatever comes along.
Today, Ian has responded to a call to the council
about a disease-ridden dog that has been found roaming the streets.
Got a little black terrier.
The dog's got a lot of its fur missing. It looks a bit scabby and a bit smelly.
I'll have a look to see if it needs immediate vet's treatment or
we'll take it to the dogs' home and treat it down there.
Ian's priority is to get the dog well enough to
improve its chances of being rehomed.
Every year, over 100,000 dogs are dumped or lost in the UK.
Every one of them poses a risk as they're much more likely to
carry infectious parasites or diseases.
Dealing with them cost £57 million last year. A bill
split between animal welfare charities
and local authorities, which means we help foot the bill.
With the skin condition I don't know what it is.
So I'm going to put these rubber gloves on to look at it.
That's if I can get the dog on a lead because it is a bit nervous
and a bit frightened.
If the skin condition's untreatable, the dog may have to be put down.
Last year, almost 1,000 stray dogs were put to sleep due to
ill health and over 2,000
because of behavioural problems or aggression.
Come on, we'll go for a walk.
We'll go for a walk. Come on. Don't want to come out now, do you?
Ian will do everything he can to reduce those figures, and the
cost to us taxpayers, by stopping this young dog becoming a statistic.
OK, I won't touch you then.
I won't touch you.
We'll go for a walk then.
Ian's ultimate aim is for the dog to be rehomed with a family who
will look after it properly. But that can only happen
if the dog is in good condition and poses no danger to the public.
For a chance for a dog to be rehomed it's got to be healthy.
It's obvious. It seems quite a lively dog, aren't you?
You look fit and healthy apart from the skin.
But if it's being aggressive with you all the time
and everything like that, you'll have to put it to sleep.
He's more frightened than anything at the moment.
You can tell that by the tail.
The tail's so far between his legs it's showing its fright.
The hard part is we have to get him in the van.
This dog has been so badly neglected it's reluctant to put
-its trust in anyone.
-I don't want to do this to you.
What the grasper does is it enables you to be able to control the dog.
If I just use this normal lead there's nothing to stop
the dog having a bite at me.
I've been doing the job nearly 15 years.
I've had the odd nips on my hands
and things like that. The odd nip on my ankle.
Come on then.
In getting the lead on and the grasper, I don't know
if I knocked a couple of scabs off or whatever
but all his skin split on the side of his face and he started to bleed.
Because there's bleeding involved, I'm going to take it to the vet's
rather than take it to the dog's home.
As only healthy animals can be rehomed, this dog needs
immediate treatment. Without it, its future is looking very bleak.
'I'd say 50/50.
'If we leave it any longer, the dog gets really uncomfortable'
and the dog's in pain. they're the ones that tend to get put to sleep.
The vet will be able to identify the dog's illness and determine
whether it's treatable.
Might have trouble getting him up on the table.
He doesn't want to be touched, basically.
Have to be quick.
No touching, is there?
A muzzle is fitted so the vet can carry out a thorough examination
without fear of being bitten. The dog is clearly terrified.
Calm down, laddie.
The vet suspects he's suffering from mange. A parasitic disease,
which can be contracted by humans and causes severe itching.
I'll see what I can do just to see if he has got mange or not.
They take skin samples to confirm his diagnosis.
The dog is kept in overnight for observation.
I'll come and see you tomorrow.
Thanks to the swift actions of Ian and his colleagues,
this young dog has a fighting chance of being saved.
There's absolutely no need for a dog to end up in that condition.
His claws are very long, he's very nervy.
Don't like being out in open spaces.
They've dumped it somewhere or given it to someone else to dump somewhere.
You can't understand why people do that.
Why get a dog in the first place if you're going to treat it like that?
Coming up, Ian returns to the vets and the test results are in.
But will the dog's condition be treatable, enabling him
to be rehomed?
Across the UK, road repairs, bin collections
and hygiene inspections are some of the day-to-day tasks facing
every local council. But responding to new challenges is
when our heroic council officers come into their own.
If you're finding anybody collecting scrap metal door to door without
a licence, they are committing an offence as of the 1st of December.
With the illegal trade of scrap metal on the rise,
local councils are responding by enforcing a new law that
requires all merchants to have a licence.
We are now responsible for licensing scrap metal dealers including
scrap metal collectors and yards.
So we're involved
because we have enforcement powers as well as the police.
And we've got the facilities to allow them to come
down and do a full enforcement.
The licensing team have joined forces with police to spot
check any traders carry scrap.
How are you, lads? All right?
In October 2013 the Scrap Metal Act was introduced requiring all
scrap metal collectors to display their trader's licence
on their vehicle and prove the source of their load.
Back at the council depot, the next trader can't do either.
Apparently he's put the scrap metal in the back to take it for
a ride around the block and he's taken it home again.
I suspect he's a scrap metal dealer and he's unlicensed.
We will deal with that appropriately.
His story might check out. It might be their waste.
People do have wagons and their own waste
but it just, on the face of it, looks like a collector.
It would have been different if we had seen them
roaming the streets collecting the scrap but we haven't.
They've been stopped
and there's no proof either way of who that belongs to.
Without proof that the scrap has been collected illegally,
the driver is given a warning.
This new Scrap Metal Dealers Act, as well as licensing
the individuals involved, it requires scrap metal dealers not to pay cash.
It makes it a lot more difficult, if you're a scrap metal thief,
it makes it more difficult to get rid of it.
The outlets for that scrap metal should be reduced down to a minimum.
Licensing officer Dave Smith heads back out onto the streets to
pull in another vehicle to spot check,
and he soon has another scrap-loaded truck in his sights.
How you doing? You all right? How's things? All right.
There's a force-wide operation going on today.
We're taking vehicles in, checking your documentation and whatnot.
Making sure you're not overweight.
-Doesn't look like it's overweight, does it?
-Have you applied to be a collector?
-Stockport and Tameside.
'Obviously we're still in the phase of issuing licences and whatnot
'so he's not been issued with his licence'
yet but his application is in the process of going through.
So we're going to take his vehicle in any way.
Make sure his vehicle is suitable
and we can check all his documents back at the depot.
As all scrap metal dealers move heavy
and potentially dangerous material, it's essential their vehicles
are roadworthy in accordance with the Road Traffic Act.
Put your indicator on this way.
If not their vehicle licence could be revoked.
Put your full lock on this way.
There's no real issues with it.
Looks like the vehicle is in good working order.
HMRC have dip sampled their fuel tank to make sure they're not using
There's a couple of outstanding things on their application
they need to provide as part of the legislation.
Once they do that we can issue them with their licence.
David is happy that this merchant is aware of the new regulations
and has applied for a new licence, so he's able get back to work.
The legitimate operators have been pretty good about it.
They can see that we have some additional enforcement powers
to deal with the unlicensed operators.
So if you're a legitimate operator
and you pay all your operating fees and your business rates and two
doors down from you is an unlicensed operator who isn't paying
any of that and can undercut you, they're happy that we have
the powers to deal with that unlicensed operator.
Close them down and stop them from operating again
and it protects their business.
Still to come, the operation widens its net as the licensing
team spot other potentially hazardous loads
that could be putting other road users at risk.
It's possible we're looking at a ban
if he's already got any points on his licence.
From nationwide operations clamping down on rogue traders,
-to stamping out noise and light pollution...
-Who's next, please?
..our local council officers will do everything in their power to
give us the best service they can, including helping us
get a good nights sleep.
Environmental Services Officer Phil Rogers is responding to
a call to the council from resident Sheila Hardy, who says she's
having trouble sleeping because of the noise from a nearby mill.
The noise was very bad last night. Like a 'zzzz,' you know,
a zedding noise like that. It's there all the time.
On his last visit, Phil installed recording equipment to track
the level of any noise.
-Hello, Mr Hardy.
Oh, something smells good.
Oh, it does.
I wanted to ask how it's been since I put it in on Wednesday?
-They were very bad last night.
I think I heard it quite a few times. It was quite bad last night.
I'll take it away and listen to the recordings and look at the levels.
-As far as you're aware nothing's changed?
Sheila is hoping the equipment has captured the noise from the nearby
mill, which she claims has been keeping her awake for over six months.
Yep, green light tells me everything's recording all right.
Recording levels seem to be OK.
So do you think you'll have enough on there...?
To examine. We'll have a look and see what we've got
-It's so peaceful now I can...
-You really notice a difference?
That's how it should be all the time, I'm sure.
Would you say the recordings you made are typical of the noises
that keep you awake?
-That's absolutely correct.
Phil heads back to council HQ to review the recording.
Alongside the level of the noise, Phil must consider a number of other
factors including the frequency and type of hum that's being created.
That's noise within the room.
It's generally accepted that any sounds
consistently reaching above
45 decibels can be classed as a nuisance.
That's nine o'clock at night.
There's a recording here, so we'll see if we can hear anything.
A single tone at that level. Something like hoovering.
I can't say what Mrs Hardy hears.
And I can only go off the levels she records when she's being disturbed.
You can hear an aircraft in the distance.
If it was of a level that satisfies such a nuisance then
I would intervene and cause the factory owner to do something
to annul those noises at night.
You can actually hear her going downstairs.
And we're down to 20db, which is really quite low.
There's been lots
and lots of research done by the World Health Organisation,
in particular, in relation to
what kind of sound levels at night keep people awake.
Anything below 30 is not going to wake anybody up.
So far Phil hasn't found anything that would legally constitute
a noise nuisance.
I can hear what I think it is she's trying to identify on that
particular one if that's what it is.
It's a pulsing noise.
But it's not very loud.
I doubt very much it would constitute being a statutory nuisance.
So we're left with contacting the company now and see
if there's any likelihood there's any nuisance there.
This leaves Phil with a dilemma.
Legally, he's unable to take any action against the mill.
His challenge now is to find another way to resolve the problem
and help Sheila get a good night's sleep.
From keeping our homes havens of peace and quiet,
to ensuring our streets are safely lit,
council officers across the UK are always looking for bright
ideas to save money that could be spent on other essential services.
Across the UK our seven million streetlights clock up an electricity
bill of more than £300 million each year and can account for as
much as 30% of a local authority's energy consumption.
Although this is one of our council's biggest single costs,
fewer than one million of the
country's street lamps are low energy.
In order to switch to LED lamps, the authorities will have to make
an initial investment
but that should be paid off in just five years,
as the LEDs could reduce an authority's electricity bill by up
to 80%, potentially saving the country up to £240 million a year.
Tameside Council has made the bold decision to trial the energy
saving lamps and it's the job of street lighting electrician
Simon Croot, to start changing over 120
of the borough's 25,000 lamps.
Do I know much about light bulbs?
I know the different flavours, yeah. You've got low pressure sodium.
Then the next flavour would be 90-watt.
And that would be used on side streets and housing estates.
Then you have the 135-watt for the really big long ones,
about that long.
They do go bigger than that, up to 1,000-watt but we don't use those.
Fitting these lamps for the first time makes this an exciting
day for Simon.
We're taking some old high pressure sodium lamps off
and we're going to fix some LED lanterns on the same columns.
It's a trial with a view to rolling it out over the borough in the future.
So this is a little bit of a test, really.
A normal high pressure sodium bulb,
for these type of street lights, will only last around four years.
The new LED bulbs can last over 20 years and means
that the council can spend less time and money maintaining them.
And that's not all.
Normal street lights burning at 90 watts.
We're going to put up nine LED lanterns today.
Burn wattage of 36 watts as opposed to 90 watts.
Saving 50 watts of energy per lantern per hour.
So it's quite a large saving for the authority.
That's it. We're here.
Then we crank it over.
Simon has located his first street lamp of the day.
Lamp's in there. Classic 70-watt small side street one.
Because the new lantern heads use less power
they also help to reduce the UK's carbon footprint.
Right. Want to have a guided tour around this fancy new one?
This is a completely different flavour of light, this.
We've not had one of these before in Tameside.
According to our engineer they're the best thing since sliced bread
and I have to agree with him.
This is the first one I've seen of these.
These are the LED driver units. Good bit of kit.
That's that wired up.
-The moment of truth.
-Charlie puts the fuse in there now.
Your lantern's now lit. That's our new flavour of LED.
That's the first one in Tameside.
A proud moment for a street lighting electrician.
One down, eight to go.
Thanks to the local council heroes making the brave move to
invest in LED lighting, the future is looking bright for Tameside.
The financial savings made by using the new bulbs
will benefit the whole community.
Alongside supporting change on a national scale,
councils also pride themselves on dealing with issues at ground
level, no matter how big or small.
For Tameside's animal warden Ian Millet, that means
caring for the borough's abandoned and mistreated pets.
Today he's returning to the local vets to check up on
a neglected dog, suffering with a serious skin condition.
I don't want to do this to you.
If the dog's health hasn't improved, it could be put down.
I don't think people, when they get the dog, realise the work involved.
It is like having another child in the house.
Ian is desperate to find out if the dog's skin condition is treatable.
If not, it faces a bleak future.
-What is it? Did he say?
Demodex, commonly known as mange,
is an infestation of mites in an animal's skin.
The mites live and feed off hair follicles and oil glands, causing
intense irritation, which is made significantly worse by scratching.
If infections take hold in the open wounds it can be fatal.
But demodex responds well to medication,
and in just 24 hours there's a marked improvement,
saving the dog from the threat of being put down.
Are you coming with me? I reckon he's not even two years old.
Big black eyes. Yeah.
And while it's still wary of unfamiliar surroundings,
it's well enough to be taken to the Dogs' Home
where it will be cared for until it can be rehomed.
He's looking a lot better today now he's had a bit of treatment.
And he seems to be calming down as well.
I hope when I say that I'm not going to get bit now.
This is the hard part.
But all this could have been prevented had the dog been
looked after properly by its owners.
I absolutely love dogs. I hate how some people treat dogs.
After being abandoned on the streets, a call to the
council from a concerned resident has enabled Ian to get this
young dog treated and keep him safe from further harm.
Come on, you. A little bit nervous, aren't you?
I love my job. People would kill for my job.
Dealing with all these animals and everything like that.
I still want to win the lottery and buy a big house in the country
and take them all home.
But it's just one of them dreams, isn't it?
If you find an animal that's been abandoned,
mistreated or is being aggressive call your council to
ensure that they are handled professionally and safely.
This work is just another example of the ways our councils help
residents both great and small.
Back at council HQ, Environmental Services officer Phil Rogers
has been working hard to bring an end to the sleepless nights
suffered by one resident
that she believes are being caused by a relentless hum near her home.
Although recordings of a neighbouring mill showed no evidence
of a noise level that constituted a legal nuisance, Phil is determined
to find a resolution for Sheila Hardy, and he's had a break through.
We have spoken to one of the managers at the factory.
He voluntarily agreed to undertake some processes to try
and eliminate any noise that would possibly be a nuisance.
A lot of the windows in the factory get broken
so we undertook to make sure all those windows were blocked
so that any sound escaping from those windows was abated.
He also undertook to put some extra lagging on some
of the machinery in order to dull any noise that was coming off them.
And he did all those things.
We've done absolutely everything we could do to satisfy
Mrs Hardy's complaint.
Thanks to Phil's efforts and the compliance of the mill owner,
Phil's found a solution to Sheila's sleeplessness.
And she's already feeling the benefits of his negotiations.
I personally think one of the machines needed a part
replacing and they've solved it now.
They fixed the machine, fixed the windows and everything
and it's sorted.
I wouldn't have been getting onto the environmental
if I wasn't being kept awake at night.
If you're not sleeping at night, you're not sleeping at night so...
I'm quite happy now.
It's solved and I'm sleeping in an evening and I'm happy with that.
It's a good result for this local council hero who's gone
out of his way to help a resident in need.
Sometimes we get some intransigent business owners
and sometimes we don't. On this occasion they were quite helpful.
And voluntarily offered to do some work, undertake some processes
that were likely to quieten whatever noise was being produced.
I'm quite pleased and it resolved
the situation to everybody's satisfaction.
Another example of the pro-active work being done by our council
officers is the initiative being adopted by licensing teams
up and down the country
to enforce new regulations to crack down on metal theft.
In Tameside, Operation Alloy is seeing the council's
licensing team join forces with the police and vehicle agencies.
They're spot-checking traders carrying scrap,
to ensure they're adhering to the new Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 2013.
Apparently he's put the scrap metal in the back to take
it for a ride around the block and he's taking it home again.
So we will deal with that appropriately.
Not all traders agree that the new licenses,
that cost upwards of £300 to obtain, are necessary.
I'm not happy about these new licences.
-I think it's a load of
I think it's robbing us proper.
Carrying out an operation of this scale allows the team to spot
check any other commercial vehicles that they think could be
posing a risk to road users.
Having spotted a pick-up truck carrying a large
consignment of heavy paving stones, police officers have brought
the driver in to check the roadworthiness of the vehicle.
I'm 3/4 of a tonne over weight.
-And a nice fine.
-He's being prosecuted for being overweight.
He's going to get three points and a fixed penalty notice.
He's looking at a ban if he has any points on his licence.
And there's going to be a recovery fee of a couple hundred quid
to get the vehicle back.
So not a good day at the office for this guy.
Just getting rid of our rubbish.
Out of the back garden.
It wouldn't be safe to allow it to drive out of here.
So it's on a recovery truck and back to the police compound.
Even though this truck isn't trading scrap,
officers are compelled to act.
And the result is another dangerous vehicle off Tameside's streets.
Hop out. Hop out.
-Could you not feel it?
The latest trader to be stopped is a builder,
whose van might be exceeding its acceptable weight.
A lot of the time this is what we get, the builder's van type vehicles.
It's not always the obvious pick-up full of scrap metal.
Until you get these in and have a look,
you don't know what they're doing.
You see how low down it is on the suspension and the tyres?
If he's not been weighed then we'll do that.
I nipped off the job to get some materials
so they'll be wondering where I am.
Overloading a vehicle puts undue pressure on its shock absorbers
It's a problem all too familiar to head engineer Dave.
Which adjusts the brakes' weight to the rear of the vehicle.
-That was under.
-Show you the defects right now.
It's all underneath so it's not something I was aware of.
If I was aware of it, I would have had it fixed.
If that goes off road today, I cease work.
Every vehicle has a legally acceptable weight,
which for this van is 2,205 kilograms.
Dave checks the weight
and the effect it's having on the van's braking system.
It's actually just in.
The limit is 2,205 and he's 2,128.
The axel weights are both 1,230. So it's fine.
The weights were all good, brakes were all good.
I think being here and working in this environment,
you have a much more balanced approach to enforcement.
We'll do a prosecution if we think it's necessary
but we have such a wide range of enforcement options open to us
and compliance options open to us, as well.
A lot of the time it's about helping people in businesses
operate legally. We offer so much support.
Most of the work we do is supporting businesses.
Got some defects they're taking it off road for the moment for.
Got to get a tow truck to take it to the garage to have the defects done.
Then it's back on the road again.
Been really good, excellent day. It's been a real mixed bag.
A lot more variety than we normally deal with.
To have the police here and seize uninsured vehicles
and get dangerous drivers off the road has been really good.
What's been good from the scrap metal perspective is we've had
a few of them in, all of them bar one have been correctly licensed.
Vehicles haven't been in particularly bad condition.
Back to base for debrief and cocktails.
Like their council colleagues nationwide, it's been another
successful shift for these heroic officers. They've saved
taxpayers thousands of pounds by introducing energy efficient
lighting to the borough.
We're going to put up nine LED
lanterns today. Wattage of 36 as opposed to 90 Watts.
Helped a resident get a peaceful night's sleep,
after negotiating with the bosses of a neighbouring mill.
Quite happy it's solved and I'm sleeping in an evening.
I'm happy with that.
And removed several hazardous trade vehicles from the road.
It's possible we're looking at a ban if he has any points on his licence.
But most importantly, they've worked tirelessly
to help their residents when they called the council.
Council officers stage a crackdown on rogue scrap metal traders, come to the assistance of a resident who calls the council for help with a noisy neighbouring mill and begin the unenviable task of fitting LED bulbs to the borough's many streetlamps.