Series following council officers. Environmental health officers battle to protect the public from food poisoning when evidence of mice is found in a takeaway.
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From waste and recycling to pest control and trading standards,
the taxes we pay 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 front line 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.
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.
Council officers battle to protect the public
when mice move into a takeaway...
Britain's got a mouse problem. They need to resolve that first.
They come from outside, not from inside.
..get elbow-deep in rubbish looking for the culprit of a botched Italian recycling job...
It's not me.
Are you sure? I'll check on the CCTV!
..and respond when residents call the council for help to keep warm.
The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, as they say,
or in the heating!
There are 433 local authorities in the UK,
employing over two million people.
Tameside Council and its dedicated staff stands proudly
at the heart of the Greater Manchester Borough it serves.
Be it food hygiene, pest control, health or waste manage management,
like town halls nationwide, council officers here work tirelessly
on behalf of their residents,
especially when they call the council.
Environmental services, Bev Hursthouse speaking.
Across the UK, local council officers like Bev Hursthouse
protect us all from the hidden horrors of food-borne germs and disease.
Hygiene, I would definitely say, is more important
than what colour the wallpaper is, more important than what colour
your seating area is,
because the colour of your wallpaper or your array of seats
isn't really going to make anybody poorly
but behind closed doors, there's so many risks there.
The most recent survey suggests that around a million people
in the UK suffer from food poisoning each year.
By law, all food outlets in the country have to be inspected
and their standards of food hygiene rated from zero to five
by officers like Bev.
The rating gives the public the chance to see behind the closed doors
and if the businesses are doing well and they get a good four or five,
they're proud to display that.
But businesses don't have to display their ratings
and rarely do when they've been scored as low as zero.
A one-star rating to a business is indicating that major improvement is required.
It could be a number of things, going back to something structural,
it could be staff training, it could be cleaning issues. It could be a number of things.
It's usually a few things when it's a one -
it's usually a couple of items that need addressing.
These ratings are invaluable for us customers,
but council officers also categorise food businesses
to decide how frequently they need to carry out inspections.
Decisions are based on the businesses' compliance
with the code of practice laid down by the Food Standards Agency
and the subsequent risk they pose to public health.
A 'C' rated business is classed as low risk
and will be inspected every 18 months.
A 'B' every 12,
but risky 'A'-rated premises will be visited every six months.
Today, together with Sian Dyer, Bev is making a visit to a takeaway
serving everything from pizza and chips to curries and kebabs.
Is it OK if we come through?
This business was rated as a C, low risk, but when Bev made her routine inspection a week ago,
she had some serious concerns about its backyard.
It was filthy and attractive to rodents.
On my last inspection, there was quite a lot of build up out here
so we asked for the area to be cleaned and any food items
such as the oil to be covered,
they've done a really good job, actually - they've cleaned this really, really well.
But they've missed one vital spot.
They need to pest-proof this door, there's quite a large gap under there
which is potentially an area that any vermin could get into.
This crack is an open invitation to disease-ridden vermin
who have food waiting for them in the cellar.
And it looks like they've found it.
Have you had any problem with mice at all?
-Have you found any mice?
-We found some droppings.
That's why we've called this guy in tomorrow, innit?
All rodents carry diseases that pose a serious risk to public health.
They spread bacterial infections, like salmonella and leptospirosis
by contaminating work surfaces with their faeces.
What's good is you have your contractor guy coming in tomorrow,
but we need to realise is we've got a mouse problem today.
Britain's got a mouse problem, rat problem. They need to resolve that first.
They've come from outside, not from inside.
If I could just have my say, the business owner's got a duty
to make sure he's protecting his business
and the people coming in to buy food from his business.
So filling in holes, having a pest contract, doing your visual checks,
making sure you haven't got mouse droppings,
is the responsibility of the business owner.
If there are mice in the restaurant's cellar,
it's highly likely others have made their way into its kitchen.
Bev and Sian act quickly, hunting out any telltale signs.
Just seeing if we've got any more droppings in this area.
What mice like to do is run round the edges,
that's why you tend to not see them visually,
but you always look for the signs, which are the droppings
and that generally shows you where they're running.
All that needs to be sealed completely.
And you can see it goes all the way along there.
-That needs to be sealed.
This is where have the problem, this is where we've found the mouse droppings.
Having found a wealth of evidence to suggest a serious rodent infestation,
Bev and Sian are forced into immediate action
to safeguard the public's health.
-We need to look at closing the premise.
-We need to close.
-You know how hard it is, to support a family nowadays?
If I could just say, we don't want businesses to close either.
But right now, there's people buying products from your shop.
But you haven't found no mouse droppings on the surfaces or anything, have you?
But, you haven't got...
Have you found any droppings on the surfaces?
Not on the surfaces.
Doesn't matter. There's mice. There's mice.
Eventually, the management agree to close the takeaway for 24 hours.
They'll use the time to deep-clean the kitchen
and make sure the mice can't access it or the cellar again.
I couldn't walk away from a business
knowing that something's not right here
and there's a potential risk to consumers or to people
that are going into that business. We have to stop it.
With their duty to the taxpaying public in mind,
Bev and Sian will return.
They'll only allow the takeaway to trade again
when the serious threat to public health has been removed.
Officers like Sian and Bev respond to requests
and complaints passed to them from the Council's call centre.
Welcome to Tameside Council. How can I help?
Staff here do their best to direct residents' queries to the right officer,
but not all calls are easy to pass on.
Yes, we deal with that here.
We've had quite a few funny calls over the years, we really have.
That's the thing I like about the job.
Thank you. Your address, please?
'I had a lady on the telephone,'
I was quite agitated, because she was agitated,
she was very upset, she said she had asylum seekers living in her loft.
I was a little bit... You hear of these things,
and I was thinking, we have to get the police involved,
do this and do that...
Then she said, "Do you know what they do during the night?"
I said, "What's that?" She said, "They come down and they paint my radiators pink."
And they polish my shoes.
At that point I stopped panicking and thinking I should get in touch with the police
and I phoned one of our social services sections.
The one that's made me smile recently was a dog fouling,
as daft as that might sound. Somebody rang us up,
and said they wanted to report some dog fouling.
When I asked where it was, he said his shoe.
Well, I found it very difficult at that point to maintain the professionalism, but I did!
Britain's local councils are battling ever-decreasing budgets,
but even when times are tough, they endeavour to help those most in need.
Thanks to some additional Government funds,
Councils across the country have been piloting a boiler scrappage scheme
aimed at residents on low incomes.
James Mallion runs the scheme in Tameside,
which reduces energy consumption and carbon emissions by installing free
energy efficient boilers.
We've got funding for about 180-200 boilers
depending on the individual costs per job, which can vary.
There are two main objectives - we're helping people in that situation
so they can have more cost-effective heating
and heat their homes more affordably and hopefully, in some cases,
bring them out of fuel poverty.
But also, we're looking at the carbon emissions from that, as well.
It's estimated that nearly 2.4 million English households
are in fuel poverty, meaning they spend more than 10% of their income
on fuel to maintain a satisfactory level of warmth in their home.
I know it's recently been announced in the North West,
it's the worst region in terms of the number of households
that are in fuel poverty. It is an increasing problem, really.
One of the residents who called his council
and qualified for a new boiler is 77-year-old pensioner Derek Southall.
His old-fashioned gas fire is outdated and inefficient.
It's quite old. We've had it a long time.
The radiators were put in 1972.
The boiler's usually all right, though it does go wrong sometimes.
It's always been quite efficient,
but they tell me it's not very efficient nowadays,
it's using too much energy.
It was put in when my wife was alive
so obviously, it'll take some memories,
but they tell me the new one will be better, so I hope they're right.
James and private contractor Darren Lewis arrive
to check Derek's house ahead of the installation.
DOOR BELL RINGS
-Hi, Mr Southall.
-I'm James from the council. This is Darren.
-Hi, Mr Southall.
-Please go in.
We will put in your new central heating system,
replacing your old boiler which is 60% efficient,
-and we're putting in a new combination boiler which is 91% efficient.
We'll be putting all new radiators in. And I'll just need to check a few things with you.
-OK. Just go where you want to go.
-All right, thanks.
Experts suggest that during UK winters, 24,000 older people
could die from cold weather.
The times we're in, it's very difficult for everyone to afford to heat their homes,
and particularly the most vulnerable people in the community.
It is only a one-off scheme, so it's not long term,
it's not available to a lot of people
and it's not available in all areas either, so it's a challenge.
It's very frustrating for a lot of households,
they are struggling in terms of falling into debt with high energy bills.
They might feel like they can't afford to put the heating on
so then they end up with health problems.
It's really nice to be able to do something that does help people.
I think sometimes the council does get a bit of a bad reputation
because a lot of the work we do is indirectly helping people,
whereas fortunately for me,
it's a nice position to be in, where you are directly helping people.
Without further ado, the builders begin the job of replacing Mr Southall's 40-year-old boiler.
They came on time.
They started straightaway.
They seem to be working very hard, and they know what they're doing,
so, just leave them to it.
Mr Southall's is one of over 100,000 new boilers installed nationwide.
When the house is back to normal, it'll be warmer,
and I'll save money on gas and heating.
Should be all right.
It is good to be able to do this kind of work that is very visible,
it is very proactive.
Only time will tell if this successful pilot scheme
will turn into a permanent enterprise.
For now, many local authorities do offer advice
on how to make your house energy efficient,
so if you have any questions you could call the council.
Yes, I am pleased with it.
The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, as they say -
or in the heating!
On the other side of town,
Bev and Sian have the enforcement bit between their teeth.
We're from Environmental Services again, just to do your re-visit.
They're back at the takeaway that closed down after
evidence of mice was discovered in its cellars and kitchens.
Do you know how hard it is, love, to support a family nowadays?
Today it's D-day for the business.
The thing is with mice in a food establishment is,
they don't just stay on the floor, they tend to wait till you've closed
the business and then go and urinate all over your worktops
and your pans and your cutlery.
They're not shy, they'll come out and do the business
when your business is closed, so to speak.
So, potentially, there's a risk there of eating contaminated food.
-Can we start in the cellar?
-You could do, yeah.
-Is that OK?
Only Bev and Sian can give them permission to reopen and they
have to be convinced that any risk to public health has been removed.
When we was here last, there was
a number of holes that needed to be filled -
obviously access for vermin.
We've spotted some droppings in the corner.
There were some holes in the ceiling, structurally,
but the work seems to have been carried out.
But the mice's main route into the takeaway was through a large
gap under the back door.
It's a big improvement that with the back door.
With doors altered and holes filled there has been an improvement,
but is it enough for Sian and Bev to let the business resume trading?
As you know, these were really emergency jobs, to get done,
so you could reopen.
As we've said, the work is temporary,
so you've done a temporary repair job.
That's not going to remain in place for ever.
We're happy for you to open.
We'll sign off to say that we're happy for you to open.
Continue with the cleaning, don't just open the shutters,
you've got to give it a really good wipe down, OK?
The takeaway has rectified it's pest problem,
but having found issues,
Bev downgrades it from a category C to B,
meaning more regular inspections to make sure the problems don't return.
I do like to work with the businesses,
I don't go in all guns blazing.
We do have guidelines and legislation that we have to follow
and I hopefully do go in and make this clear to businesses.
It's good news, but still a bit of work to do and everything,
so hopefully we'll be able to trade soon.
Hopefully, step in the right direction, and we're open tonight,
so that's a good thing.
From now on, Bev will inspect the business every 12 months,
to check it stays clean and mouse-free.
In this way she can make sure customers are safe.
OK. Thank you.
Every year, 177 million tonnes of waste
are generated in England alone.
Because it costs us all millions to get rid of,
the country's local authorities are battling
to utilise their resources more effectively
and encouraging us to reduce, re-use and recycle.
But campaigners say while some areas of England are reaching recycling
rates nearing 70%, others areas are only achieving 15%.
So recycling is a contentious issue that splits opinion across the country.
One of the good points, for me, is their recycling policy.
I know a lot of people think that it's a pain -
why do we have to have so many bins?
The fact is, we can't keep on filling land up with rubbish.
The council could do more on approaching
the people proper to recycle.
It becomes wrong when they just impose upon you and say,
"As from next week, you'll put this stuff in that bin,
"that stuff in that bin." It will not work.
You can't make people recycle.
People now should recycle, it's come to that way of life.
It's not a hard thing to do.
They give you a letter when you first start.
I've actually got it pinned up in me kitchen.
They also give you a paper that says what goes in what,
so really, at the end of the day, it's up to you to do it, isn't it?
I do try me hardest,
but sometimes it's a bit hard - just throw it in the bin.
If we persistently refuse or fail to put the right rubbish
in the right bin, it's the council that gets called.
Environmental enforcement officers Louise Ashton
and Sharon Campbell have received a complaint from the bin men
about a local restaurant where general waste isn't being
separated from rubbish that could be recycled.
-Pagliacci Ristorante. Pizzeria.
Before going in they brush up on the lingo.
How do you say that? Paglia...
Pagliacci. I don't know how you pronounce the double C.
Yeah, cheek. Pagliacci. Pagliacci. Yeah.
I'll have to have a go at it.
-I'm from Tameside Council. My name's Louise.
-Nice to meet you.
I wonder if we could go somewhere
and have a quick word about your recycling bins.
-Yes, please. If you could fit us in. No problem. Thank you.
Quite often we'll go out to bins
and there'll be a blue bin, which is paper and cardboard,
and somebody's filled it with general rubbish or they've filled it
half full of plastics and it's contaminated now.
It can't go in to that recycling stream
because it will ruin the whole load.
The problem we're having is we're getting reports off
the lads that the actual recycling bins are contaminated.
You can see they are. We've got glass in there. We've got ash.
We've got cans.
The council provides a free collection service
for recycled waste.
If waste isn't separated the whole bin full has to go to landfill.
This costs Tameside Council £300 per tonne to dispose of.
Unnecessary costs like these divert our money from other essential
council services, and fines can be issued if the problem persists.
But restaurant owner Dom say's he isn't contaminating the bins
and begins his own investigation to find out who is.
-It's not me.
Last night they were full. This morning, this. I don't know.
-It must be somebody else.
-Are you sure? I check on the CCTV.
The chefs blame Manager Fabrizio but he has a different theory.
It's no member of staff make this kind of mistake
because we learn every member of staff working here
in the kitchen, the KP, every night,
divide to the bin, plastic or bottle.
I believe it's somebody else.
If this isn't an inside job, Louise and Sharon must identify the actual
culprits who could face fines of up to £2,500.
The only way to do this is by getting their hands dirty.
This is a bag of general waste.
That's not ours because we would have used this.
-Somebody was around here.
-In the restaurant we wouldn't use stuff like that.
We have to root through the rubbish to get to get the evidence we need.
I can tell you a lot about a person's lifestyle from the rubbish, you know.
Even if we don't actually get evidence,
I can tell you what the shopping patterns are...
and all the rest of it.
As the saying goes, it's a dirty job but somebody has to do it.
Looks like beauty therapy stuff.
It looks like it's from a beauty therapy.
On the back, there's something that says...
I saw a telephone number.
Do you know how many times I catch people who just abandon
the bin bag outside here.
We don't want to have that.
-There's no address on this. But there is a name.
-Telephone number as well.
Yeah, there's a name of a clinic, so I'll look into that.
They may have found the culprit, but Dom's not stopping there.
For two or three weeks, there has been carton box there, they abandon.
Passionate about his neighbourhood,
-he has a proposition for Sharon and Louise.
-With your help...
That's something we can address with the council.
I'm going to give you my phone number now and then you
and I will stay in touch and I'll get one of the project officers,
between us we'll sort something.
Dom's a very vibrant character. Very outspoken. Lovely man.
-Wash my hands now.
I like characters like that, it makes your day.
It just breaks up the sort of bland, rooting through rubbish
to sort of meeting someone who's quite a nice person.
The UK's council officers who are keeping our streets safe
and fighting to make best use of our taxes,
face fresh challenges every day.
Working as a team is one way to conquer them.
Me and Louise, we work well together. We're a good team.
I think we're better together than apart.
It's just something that we've always done and we work really well.
We have our ups and downs, laughs and jokes.
I can think of one that's quite funny.
Where Sharon managed to run me over.
Yeah, Sharon ran me over at a fly tipping job.
She hadn't put her handbrake on properly.
Carried me up the backside and tipped me headfirst into the rubbish.
That's not very nice, is it? That's not what you call a friend.
It's a good job she had her rigger boots on.
Health and safety, always health and safety,
otherwise she might have been a bit, uh...
worse for wear.
Another dynamic duo working together today is pest control officer
Brian Wheelan and his colleague Danny.
A landlord's called the council to a vacant property with a cellar
full of rubbish and possible rodent activity.
We've got a void property that's got reports of rats in the cellar.
I believe there's a trap door underneath the stairs,
so I'll have a look around.
Bit of luck, we might see a bit of live activity.
Enjoyable for you, fella. Seeing as you've not seen any.
Normally Danny works as a grave-digger in Tameside's cemeteries
but has swapped pick axe for pest control poison
and is joining Brian on today's rat hunt.
And it looks like Brian has another new recruit with a nose for rodents.
The house has only been empty for a few weeks but it's been longer
since anyone was brave enough to venture into the cellar.
Right, according to this there's a trap door under the stairs or something.
Here we go. Bingo. Cheers.
Are you ready with your torch?
Urgh, God. Look at that.
If rats are present,
Brian's experienced nose will be able to sniff them out.
Oh, it stinks, man. Urgh.
-It's nice down here, though.
Look at the state of this, man.
As a grave-digger, Danny's used to being six foot under
but this might be a step too far.
I've got a step machine, there.
Fighting their way through the rubbish,
it's not long before the first signs of telltale signs of rats emerge.
There's a very, very strong smell of wee in here.
There's rat droppings.
Oh, some fresh ones.
On the bed, there. Here you are, Dan. Them ones, there.
THUD! You all right, mate? Be careful!
Just went through it!
-Just watch yourself. You all right?
-Yeah, I'm all right.
See them there? They're your fresh droppings. You can see 'em shining.
So it's not been...too long since it's been and had a...a poo.
Rats can squeeze through spaces just 1cm wide,
so it could have been prevented from entering by access holes
being sealed and attractive bedding and food sources being removed.
Now it's obvious rats are in residence,
but Brian and Danny haven't actually spotted any...yet.
-That's a toilet area there.
I just heard them underneath here.
Cos we've walked across here and sort of compacted a few things down.
You could hear 'em running,
all scattering through underneath here, but I mean,
they'll be deep down and have only come out here, used this as a toilet.
All this is gorgeous here for them. It's like, er...
Cancun in Mexico, this, for them.
I mean, they've got everything. Beautiful.
It'd be nice if they came out, like, but...
All right, mate, what we'll do is bait it up first.
-Get 'em eating the poison.
So I've put quite a bit of bait down, yeah?
Put some on there, mate.
Give us some. Put some down here, mate.
Open it like a bag of crisps.
And then...fold it over.
So what we'll do now is we've put the bait down, we leave it a week,
we'll come back, check the bait.
If it's been taken, put more bait down.
So we'll have to see how it goes.
Poison laid, this brave pair will return to face the perils of
the cellar in a few days and see if they've managed to remove any rats.
In 2012, local authorities received 150,000 complaints
from their residents about their local environment
and spent over £6 billion on environmental services.
Today, enforcement officer, Pete Grimes,
is investigating after a resident called the council
to complain about smoke coming from a neighbour's chimney.
We received a complaint regarding smoke and odours from a chimney.
The complainant says that
she couldn't have the window open,
she suffers from chest problems and they were getting
ash fallout on the window ledges.
Under the Clean Air Act, the UK's local authorities can declare
all or part of their district a smoke control area.
Offenders failing to burn an approved smokeless fuel
and emitting smoke from a chimney, furnace or fixed boiler
can be fined up to £1,000.
The complaint has been made against resident Andy Chipman,
who's recently installed a wood burner.
We holidayed in Cornwall and, er, in the cottage, there was a log burner
and it was ever so nice to sit there of an evening with the fire going
and my wife got really excited about it and, er,
we spoke about having one ourselves.
Anyone wanting to burn fuel that's not approved by DEFRA -
the government's Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs -
can only do so using a DEFRA-approved appliance.
-Mr Chipman? Hiya. Pete Grimes of the environmental health.
-We spoke the other day on the phone regarding the appliance?
-Come on in.
Pete wants to find out if Andy's burner,
and the fuel he's using, meet the regulations.
Tameside is a smoke-controlled area and we don't want
people burning coals and wood as a main source of fuel,
cos you end up back to the '50s and '60s,
with all the smogs and smoke.
Any appliance you buy, it's got to be DEFRA-approved.
-That is not DEFRA-approved to burn...
-I've just found that out.
'Unfortunately, a lot of people see these log-burning stoves advertised
'and they don't do... They don't work properly.'
They just see this appliance and go and buy it and get it fitted.
And then, someone complains and we go out and say, "Unfortunately,
"you've bought one, but it's not the correct one for Tameside."
Then they end up with all the heartache of either ripping it out
and reinstalling it and buying the right one.
Because Andy's wood burner isn't approved by DEFRA,
he should only be burning smokeless fuel.
From my point of view, the fire's OK,
as long as you only use smokeless fuel.
That was another question I was going to ask.
That means no burning of wood as your main source of fuel.
-Wood kindling to get it going.
And then thereafter smokeless fuel.
-OK, Mr Chipman.
-Thanks for your time.
-If you need any more information,
give me a ring, you've got my number.
I'll have a chat with you again, not a problem.
-Thanks a lot.
Thanks to Pete, Andy agrees to obey the law,
but is left with a woodshed full of fuel he can't use.
I knew about smokeless regulations, from the old days
of smokeless zones and things like that, but I wasn't aware
that they were strictly attached to, er, these log-burning fires.
I mean, I thought it wasn't gas. We were just burning wood.
I just thought a log burner was a log burner.
DEFRA's website has a list of appliances and approved fuels
that anyone thinking about buying a new fire or wood burner can access.
And if you're not sure whether you live in a smoke-free area,
you should call your council.
Unfortunately, he's just been misled by his supplier. He's bought it
with the understanding that it was a DEFRA-approved appliance.
I am quite satisfied that, er, he will cease burning logs
as his main source of fuel and go on to smokeless fuels.
Back in Ashton, dynamic duo Brian and trainee pest control officer
Danny have returned to remove rubbish from a rat-infested cellar.
We're wearing it because obviously the stuff we'll be touching's
going to be contaminated with rat urine, er, and faeces,
so we don't want to get all that on us.
It'll be dusty enough. And a bit murky down there.
Brian's suited and booted
and Danny's armed, but not very dangerous.
-Oh, very big little thing, that.
-It's all I could find.
On his last visit, Brian left poison for the rats to feed on.
Right, come on, then.
But there may still be live rodents down below.
This won't worry Brian, though,
because, after 17 years in pest control, he's seen and heard it all.
'You do get the stigma of rats, the size of rats,'
when people say to you, they turn round and say to you,
"Well, it was that big and it was running off with a bone."
Very pungent smell of rat urine.
The biggest rat I've ever had is probably about so big.
I just heard a squeak, in there somewhere.
But you always get people who say
that they're massive and huge, like you think they're going to eat you,
but it's never as big as they make out, honest to God.
I just thought I'd play it a bit safe at the moment.
Cos what we don't want to do is transfer any live ones up there,
then that gives us another issue.
The cellar's full of a human family's belongings.
But Brian's found a place that the rats like to call home.
Oh, that'll be there.
It's where they've been nesting and chewing.
See where they've chewed the insulation?
But is anybody in?
LOUD SQUEAK Ooh!
Having found the nest, Brian's closing in on his prey.
But will he ever get close enough?
Everyone turns around and says, "Yeah,
"but you're no further than five foot away from a rat." Yeah, you're right.
Give us light.
But the papers make it sound more... The media make it sound like
five foot that way, five foot that way, five foot that way.
But if you think, and just step back a little bit,
what's five foot below us?
The sewers. And where do the rats come from? The sewers.
With the cellar almost clear, Brian's still not seen a rat...
..but finds yet more evidence that they've been living here.
Yeah, that's all there.
And that is one big massive one. There and there.
There's another one.
Down the sides of here.
You get people turning round saying to us, "The rat's behind the cooker"
or "the rat's here," and when you get there, there's nothing there.
I do think they smell a pest control officer coming
and it is quite funny, actually, sometimes.
Thanks to Brian and Danny, the rats have fled.
And after six hours' hard graft,
the boys have finally reached the end of a very dirty job.
With jobs like this, I'd definitely buy an extra line on the lottery.
I do the house lottery, I do the national lottery.
Well, do everything.
Just sometimes, you think to yourself...
..is it worth doing sometimes?
But it's all right. You just get stuck in.
But, yeah, I think I do wish my numbers were coming up.
With the cellar clear of rubbish,
and anything that could harbour rats,
Danny and Brian fill the van and hit the road.
Across town, having consulted with the council
about the amount of litter blighting his neighbourhood,
Italian restaurant owner Domenico has rallied his community,
and enforcement officer Louise, into a communal clear up.
We bit while the... While he was keen
and I put him in touch with one of my colleagues
and they've got together a brilliant turn out.
And it's various members of the local community
and we're going to have two hours of, er,
litter picking and just generally tidying up the area.
I'm hoping it'll be like a rolling stone, it'll start to gather
a bit of momentum and people will get involved.
We're hoping this will just be the start of something for them.
England is a beautiful country, but the people don't take much care
and much, much, er, pride - that's the big problem.
-I follow him. He looks like a trouble causer.
Is very, very important to be proud of this town,
because it's a nice town and nice people.
Litter things up!
Dom is very passionate about where he works
and where he has his business and the area.
He refers to it as "the village", which really tickles me that.
Right, where we off, then? Where's my...? Oh, I've lost my black bag.
Louise and the troops have two hours
to collect as much rubbish as they can.
I find it quite scary. We've just walked, what,
60-70 foot from where we started
and we've well over half filled the bags.
I feel like a little troll under this bridge,
just waiting and picking up rubbish.
Louise has spent over 35 years working for the council,
but is still shocked by people's
apparent disregard for their community.
I think most people dump stuff, because they're too lazy
to actually do something about it, and take responsibility for it.
It's not rocket science.
And a lot of that stuff that Dom's just pulled out of there,
and put into these bags, I would say, what,
40% of it was stuff you could recycle.
I had a choice, you know, between the GPO, as it was then,
British Telecom, and this.
Still, GPO doesn't exist any more, does it? So...
SHE LAUGHS: Perhaps it wasn't a bad choice after all, that!
-And they was full as well.
-And they was full to the brim.
-In two hours, you cannot have a miracle. We've done the best we can.
The hard work starts from today.
Today's just the aperitif. The starter! The appetite!
Rubbish removed, time for a fully deserved alfresco dinner.
Prego. That's all vegetarian.
LOUISE: It's just a nice way of saying thank you.
And he's taken time out of a very busy schedule to do that, really.
He's definitely stepped up to the plate and he's got out there,
got his hands dirty, come in and washed them
and then sorted himself out with the pizzas for all of us
and I think, again, we feel like we've made some new friends today.
Can I go for that one, then?
I'm hope this is just the start of getting the message
to everybody else to start to do something about,
because, on your own, you cannot win the war.
You need the support of everybody else.
Today, we were only 40 people. I hope next time we'll be 100.
Because with 100, we can cover more area.
It's been another successful shift for Britain's local heroes.
They've helped keep residents' homes warm and wallets healthy.
Yes, I am pleased with it.
The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, as they say,
or in the heating!
They leapt at the offer of a community clean up and free pizza.
Nothing like a good walk all over the town centre
and picking up rubbish to work up an appetite.
And acted fast when the public's health was in jeopardy.
-The business owner's got a duty...
-..to make sure that he is protecting his business...
..and the people that are coming in to buy food from his business.
And all this when we call the council.
It's nice to see a conclusion, cos you don't always see conclusions.
Cos some of these problems just come back week after week
after month after month and if you do get one that is just...
If you can make it a one-off by action that you've taken,
that makes you feel good about yourself.
Environmental health officers battle to protect the public from food poisoning when evidence of mice is found in a takeaway. The waste management team get elbow deep in rubbish trying to solve a recycling conundrum, and the council do their bit in the battle against fuel poverty.