Series following council officers. Officers respond when residents call the council about the rotting rubbish filling up their alleyways, and they catch a fly tipper red-handed.
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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.
Coming up in today's programme, the council respond to residents
whose alleyways are full of rotting rubbish.
When I moved in, it was beautiful.
An officer gets a scare when helping a householder with a rat problem.
And the local authority helps a small business with big ambitions.
I enjoy it. I want to earn money from it,
and hopefully, eventually earn a living from it.
The UK's 433 local councils
are all tasked with spending the public's money
efficiently and effectively.
Meeting the needs of taxpayers in Tameside are this
Greater Manchester Borough's 2,300 staff and enforcement officers,
who are all ready to respond
when their residents call the council.
Environmental services. I'll try the number for you. Just bear with me.
But it takes a special kind of person to be a council officer.
The main quality you need to do this job is a thick skin.
People are sometimes angry and annoyed.
You've got to let them have their say
and try not to take it too personally.
Some do mean it personally, but you've just got to shake it off.
Let it go.
Today, Louise is going to need all of her diplomatic skills
because some residents are not happy.
There is a lot of rubbish on the street.
Right outside my back gate gets a lot.
I don't know what's wrong with that space,
but loads of people come along and just dump rubbish there.
A small percentage of people in Tameside are causing
a big problem for their neighbours.
It's disgusting. I've seen people throwing sofas, mattresses,
-bits of wardrobe. Fridges.
-We've had rats. There's maggots.
The smell is horrendous. And you cannot go out.
These people, they've got no respect for anybody. Not even themselves.
They're just lazy. Lazy, bone-idle people that can't be bothered
to put it in the bin.
And it's not the first time residents in this,
the Holy Trinity area, have called the council.
The Holy Trinity area of Ashton, which is a series
of terraced streets with communal backs,
over the years I've worked for Tameside, has traditionally been
quite a difficult area to keep tidy,
with lots of rubbish being dumped around on street corners
and very low performing on recycling.
In 2013, the UK's local councils dealt with
over 700,000 cases of fly-tipping. Nearly 70% of these involved
household waste, and it cost us all
over £36 million to deal with.
But it's not just outsiders causing the mess here.
Some locals are failing to use the free bins given to them
by the council,
and dumping all kinds of rubbish in all the wrong places.
The more responsible residents have had enough
and have called the council.
When it was covered in snow I took pictures
of the full lot and sent them into the council.
Right. We understand that you get a big back like that,
and you've got probably 80% that are fine. 80% are decent people
doing their own thing and minding their own business,
and 20% mess it up for you.
-What's going on with it?
-We're going to do everything we can to try
-and change it for you.
-We don't get magic wands, unfortunately.
But it's not all bad. Over the past month, Louise
and her colleague Sharon have been working with residents
who share one alley in the area and have made significant progress.
Oh, look at that. Brilliant. Good news all round.
What is it, about three weeks? Four weeks?
-Yeah, about four weeks.
-Four weeks? I'm very impressed.
Gotcha. That's a big dog. I don't like leaving it there.
You get used to doing this when you've got dogs.
One of the residents who helped clean this alley up is Phil Sowter.
Hiya. It was just to say, brilliant. It's still clear, isn't it?
-If you look in the bin, you'll see it all.
-Slowly working down.
I'll just keep going round in a circle.
We just wanted to say thanks again, for all the hard work
you and the lads put in.
-I'm keeping on top of it.
But even here, there's room for improvement.
A contaminated green bin.
It is contaminated, but it's nearly there. It's so nearly there!
A contaminated bin is waste that's not put in the correct bin.
It'll probably mean that the wrong type of plastic's been put in.
We don't actually recycle these egg boxes.
The way that we look at it is, if it's had liquid in it,
it goes in the green bin. If it's not, that actually has to go
in your landfill bin
rather than your recycling bin.
-Put them in there.
-It could also mean that they've used the recycling bins
just for a general waste bin.
So they've not bothered to recycle.
But until you lift that lid, you don't know whether it's contaminated
by the wrong plastic, or contaminated by other things.
Contaminated bins cost the council up to £300 per tonne to dispose of,
and just one wagon, fully loaded with contaminated waste,
costs £3,000 to send to landfill.
-So to help and encourage residents to clean up the rest of
this problem area and recycle properly,
Sharon and Louise are launching a day of education and action.
We will supply the tools, the litter pickers, the black bags,
we'll get the rubbish taken away. The schools are involved,
and people can come and talk to us, and if they've got any problems,
we'll try and address them.
And we just have a good day and make sure everything
is left clean and tidy for them.
But first, they've got to park the van.
Anybody who knows me would not dream of putting me in charge of a caravan.
I can drive my car, I've a nice, clean licence.
I've had it for many, many years. Nice and shiny and clean.
No speeding tickets, no nothing.
But that's probably because I stay away from towing caravans!
Sensibly, Louise leaves parking up
and putting out the various recycling bins
to her council colleagues.
They've got to look attractive, you see.
Hopefully someone will take them away.
Right. Let's get this show on the road.
Recently, some councils have started to charge residents
who call them for a new wheelie bin. But Louise has ordered a truckload
of free ones and some food caddies for locals here to collect.
It's first come, first served
and the demand is taking Louise by surprise.
I don't know where I'm up to!
People just appeared from everywhere.
But I like that. That's keen. I like people who are keen to recycle.
So you know when to put it out?
If somebody else asks me a question, I think I'm going to pop.
-OK? You have to hold it by that.
-All right, thank you.
I may just climb into this bin and stay there.
I'll have to put you on a list for the blue, cos we've run out.
Hang on a minute.
Right. We are officially out of bins.
With the area cleaned up and bins distributed,
the residents should have no excuses when it comes to recycling properly
and keeping their streets rubbish-free.
-Give me a big smile.
We want this to be a clean, safe, attractive borough
that people want to live in, want to visit.
And all that comes from it being clean and attractive.
I've got high hopes for the whole area.
Coming up, Louise is shocked into action as one resident
threatens to undo all her hard work.
Oi, oi, oi! Excuse me, love. You can't do that.
While Louise and her colleagues are out on the road,
like councils across the country, a dedicated team is on hand
at the town hall to help residents any way they can.
Good morning, customer services. Cassie speaking.
Council call centres nationwide deal with over 50 million calls a year,
but sometimes residents who call the council
expect a little more of it than perhaps they should.
'You get asked obscure things,'
and you think, "Why are you asking the council?"
It's one of those things, isn't it?
People think the council deals with everything
cos they pay their council tax.
Unfortunately, it's not everything that we deal with.
We don't deal with the train times, we don't deal with the bus times.
You know, I don't know why your Sky dish isn't working.
I haven't got a clue, I'm sorry.
OK, what seems to be the problem?
'When I first started, this lady phoned. She wanted pest control,'
'so I was asking her the questions.'
Where are the noises coming from? What are you hearing?
What do you think it is?
She was a bit reluctant to tell me
what she actually thought the pest was. So I asked her again,
and she tells me that she thinks the house is haunted.
'So I say, "You are aware you're asking for pest control?"
'And she goes, "I really don't know who else to ring."'
It's pest control, you know? It's a chargeable service.
I can send a job through but you're not going to get the result
that you want here. I think you need to speak to somebody else.
But, yeah, it put a smile on my face.
Estimates suggest that there are around 10 million rats in the UK
and in recent years, with winters getting warmer
and people getting more careless with their waste,
reports of rodents near our homes have been on the rise.
I'll put you through to the pest control department. Thank you.
Tameside Council alone
deals with over 1,500 pest-related calls every year,
and it's pest control officer Brian Wheelan's job to deal with them.
-See you later.
-See you later, Brian.
It doesn't matter whether it's a mouse, whether it's a rat,
it doesn't matter to me. Or a squirrel. It doesn't matter to me.
I'll be the winner in the end.
Today, Brian and his assistant Geoff Dale are responding to a cry
for help from a worried resident.
Rats have moved into her row of bungalows
and she's called the council.
Right. Today we've got three properties here. They've got
a rat problem in the loft.
So we'll have a look, do some baiting, Geoff will...
Will you get the ladders out, mate, as well?
And I'll get the bag with the torch.
Rats are a major hazard to public health.
They carry infectious diseases
like listeria and salmonella,
which can be seriously harmful to humans. And as their numbers grow,
pest control officers like Brian
are facing an uphill battle to control them.
Right, this chap said he'd seen a rat dropping down from here.
-Seen a rat there?
-If you look, it does make sense,
-cos it would just go straight back up into the loft.
Broken fascias like this and other gaps in walls should be sealed,
because they offer rats an easy route into the warmth
of your house and loft.
Using drains, downpipes and gutters as climbing frames,
they can squeeze through spaces just two centimetres wide.
Brian needs to get inside the loft quickly,
and search for further signs of rodent activity.
I can't see any live ones at the moment.
I'll have to get in and have a look even more.
Just like rats, Brian's also acquired the skill
of squeezing into the smallest of spaces.
I am a tallish lad. Problem is, I won't give up,
I'll do my best to get in anywhere for anybody,
try and help them out. At the end of the day they've got a problem,
and it needs sorting.
Brian's looking for any telltale signs. Brown spindly rat droppings,
which can be up to two centimetres long.
Rats, when they get into the cavity of the wall,
they normally head to the loft because it's warm.
There's insulation there. They're not stupid. They're not daft.
They're quite clever animals.
Sometimes you have to think like them and work it out.
You can see how all the insulation has been ragged
and chucked up. Virtually all over this loft, they've done it.
There's a dropping there.
Can you throw us up six bags and the Neosorexa, Geoff, please?
-Brian's using a ready-made mix of food and poison.
-You're a gent.
It's the most effective way
of ridding a property like this of rats.
Once they eat the mixture, the rats will die within ten days.
The problem you have, cos the loft, even though you've got
the insulation of the loft and everything, they get underneath.
And it sounds like they've got hobnail boots on
when they're scurrying around.
But it echoes because it's hollow in the loft as well.
And you try and explain it, and no matter what you say,
when people are frightened, they're frightened.
You can have a laugh and a joke with them,
but it's still in their mind and it's still a problem.
Poison laid, it won't be long before this rat meets its maker.
But there are others outside.
I'm concerned about this area here.
If Brian can locate the rats' food source,
he'll have a better chance of catching his prey.
It makes sense that they're going for the food there.
So he follows his nose.
Let's have another look in this bin.
The rat's been dining on leftovers,
but now it's trapped, it looks like it might have had its last supper.
I tell you what, hold that. Hold that.
I'm just going to nip to the back of my van.
Time for Brian to do the job he's trained for.
I wouldn't say it was satisfying to kill it.
It's more of a joy that you've got it, and it's killed.
I mean, cos you'll always get some people saying that it's wrong.
You know, "Why are you killing it?" and all that.
But at the end of the day, they're vermin and they spread diseases.
Put that back in the van, mate.
'We all do a job,
'and at the end of it, there's an end result.'
And there always will be an end result. And that is death.
Rats reproduce quickly.
They can have as many as seven litters of up to 12 babies a year.
That's a maximum of 84 inside 12 months.
So Brian may never eliminate the rat population of Tameside,
but today, at least, he's relieved one resident's worry and gone
some way to controlling the spread of disease in this neighbourhood.
It's been six weeks since Louise and Sharon spent a day,
and some of the council's valuable resources,
helping residents clean up their streets and alley ways.
They've returned today to see if the area has stayed clean.
-Oh, dear. I'm really disappointed, that's terrible.
Communities don't take responsibility
for their own rubbish.
I think it's the climate that we live in at the moment.
Someone will come out and just dump a bag
in the middle of the road and think that that's acceptable.
I think it's a generic thing, it's an education thing.
We have a small minority that will come out
and they'll just think it's the council's responsibility,
or somebody else's responsibility, to clear that area up.
Despite the council's help and advice, some residents have chosen
to dump their waste in the shared alleyway.
The rotting rubbish is smelly, unsightly
and a risk to public health.
It's a haven for disease-ridden rats
and could harbour hazardous materials.
Well, we're out of options now.
We're gonna have to use the Public Health Act 1936.
Section 78 of that act allows us
to give notice to everybody that the work needs doing,
that the area needs cleaning up.
And to give them notice to do it within seven days,
with the intention that if they don't do it, we will,
and we'll split the cost been the number of properties
that actually have access onto this common area.
In 2012, local authorities carried out over 425,000
enforcement actions against fly-tippers,
costing us taxpayers an estimated £15 million.
It's been an ongoing problem in this area, and it's not the first time
residents like Diane have needed the council's help.
-Isn't it a mess?
I've worked here now 36 years, and I must have been here 20 times.
I'm fed up with it. When I moved in, it was beautiful.
And the thing is, as you say, it WAS beautiful. And it's one of those,
-that we don't come and dump it here.
Although illegal dumping of waste is one of the most visible
of crimes, it's rare that anyone is caught red-handed.
Oi, oi, oi! Excuse me, love, you can't do that.
You cannot do that. Which property are you from? Excuse me.
The culprit's disregard for her neighbours and the law
shocks Sharon and Louise into action.
In all the time I've done the job, that's probably only the third time
I've actually caught somebody red-handed.
Much to Louise's delight.
I thought she was going to have a heart attack!
-Hiya. I'm from Tameside Council.
-I'm an enforcement officer.
We're looking at the problem with the rubbish at the back of the house.
This lady, she's just tipping it out, loose waste, into the back.
Obviously that's not acceptable behaviour,
not at all, under any circumstances.
I mean, that actually could be classed as fly-tipping.
-It's what we're trying to stop.
-You are 100% right.
WOMAN SPEAKS IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE
She said there was nothing in the bag,
just small pieces of sweets.
Myself, my colleague, actually witnessed it when it happened,
so I'm afraid it's beyond denial.
With the woman denying being a fly-tipper,
it's up to Sharon and Louise to find evidence to prove it.
The cheeky mare! She actually denied it!
It just makes me more determined to find something now.
With the help of resident Diane, the officers need to trawl
the trash for any rubbish with names or addresses on.
-There you go.
-Oh, thank you.
This will help them prove
precisely who's responsible for causing all the mess.
I've never caught anyone in the act. Never.
In all the years I've been doing it, I've never actually been stood there
when somebody's done that.
I feel my northern coming out then, "Hey up!"
Thank you, love.
To avoid us putting our hands in we always wear touch gloves.
To help us with that, we use big screwdrivers, long screwdrivers,
and rip the rubbish apart with those.
And use those really as finger extensions,
and sort things out from there.
If you can stop your husband from pinching them off you
every five minutes! I'm always having to go and root for them again.
Sharon. I need you to photograph this. And there's one here.
From next door.
We'll take photographs of stuff. If it's filthy, we won't keep it.
Because we used to get told off
for leaving evidence drying on tops of radiators,
and stinking the office out.
What's all this food waste?
It's like a supermarket for rats. All this food is recyclable.
What's this? Half the address. It's just got the postcode on that.
It is a grim job. But I like the investigation side of things.
I like finding out why people have done what they've done.
God, I hate spiders!
I don't like them at all. I'll do it, because I have to be brave.
Somebody has to be brave.
But I don't like doing it. It's just papers, that.
But again, that can all go in recycling.
But that's a needle, from some sort of medication.
For ourselves, the people that end up clearing this,
in default, it's dangerous.
Is there any label on it? Let's move it over a bit.
Any hard evidence proves difficult to find,
and a thorough search is ultimately fruitless.
I was a bit disappointed that there was no evidence
from the house that the Asian lady was witnessed tipping from.
Nothing hard and fast. I saw her tipping out the contents of a bag
but I didn't actually see what it was. And because I can't identify it
in amongst that waste and say, "I saw this lady deposit this,
"and this and this and this," as red-handed as she was,
we've got to be proportionate in the action that we take.
I need to get rid of it,
especially with there being medical waste there.
I think it needs to go sooner rather than later.
So that'll be something that I'll do as a priority
when I get back to the office.
Now it's up to the council to clear the waste that should have been
recycled or taken to the tip. But the bill will be sent to all of the
residents who back onto the alley, whether they use, or abuse it.
As well as keeping us, the public,
free from food poisoning by enforcing high standards
across the nation's restaurants and takeaways,
local councils like to support residents
who want to better themselves.
Wendi Przewoznik wants to join the self-employment revolution.
360,000 people became their own boss in the last five years,
taking the UK's total to 4.2 million.
I've been a hairdresser for 38 years now,
and I think as I'm getting older, it's getting harder,
and it's really for younger people.
And I'm thinking of a change of direction. My passion is baking.
And I would like to go more into that.
Wendi sells her home-made cakes at the local market,
but dreams of something bigger.
I've started doing a stall on Sundays,
and I want to expand my business.
I don't want to just sell a slice of cake, and just say "Enjoy it."
I want to earn money from it,
and, hopefully, eventually earn a living from it.
Wendi's called council officer Simon Ashton and told him about her plans.
Even small businesses operating from home need to fulfil
stringent guidelines, and resolving any issues at this early stage
will save the council time and the public money in the long run.
Simon's task is to assess Wendi's kitchen, working practices
and understanding of food safety to give her a hygiene rating
from zero to five.
The national food hygiene ratings scheme was brought in
several years ago, and it's there really to allow customers
to make informed choices about where they shop.
In terms of food safety, really.
Businesses that are operating to a good standard,
have got good practices in place,
are complying with food safety legislation,
they're likely to be getting maybe a four or a five,
and then the ones that are not so good,
where things might be significant problems,
they could be picking up a zero rating, a one or a two.
-Simon Ashton from Environmental Health.
I've been expecting you. Nice to meet you. I'm Wendi.
-Would you like to come through?
'What it doesn't tell you is about the quality of the food,
'that's a completely separate issue.'
We're not Gordon Ramsays going in there,
telling them how to cook food or anything.
It's purely about food safety.
A good rating for Wendi will be the perfect kick-start
to her business, instilling confidence in prospective customers.
Right. OK. So...
-So, this is the kitchen.
-This is where I put the flour, the sugar.
Right. And it's all kept in containers, out of the packaging.
-That's fine. That's the thing. You don't want to be leaving
-There's always the danger of a creepy-crawly
making its way in there. I've seen that in the past.
I think first of all, some people are surprised
that you can run a commercial food business from a domestic house,
a domestic property.
You can do and obviously there are guidelines that they must follow,
but the things I'm looking at there... What's the chances of
maybe something dropping into the food? Foreign body contamination.
-OK. Do you have any pets or anything?
-So there's no dogs
running in here or cats walking across worktops
-or anything like that?
-No? OK. That's fine.
I've been to businesses where they're busy telling you,
"Everything's wonderful here," and then you turn around
and there's a cat walking across the worktop. I've seen that before.
I'm happy with the kitchen facilities.
What I would like to see now is you actually making cakes
in the kitchen.
The kitchen's passed Simon's test,
but now he needs to see Wendi's hygiene regime in practice.
OK. So, what are we making today, then?
-Today, it's vanilla sponge.
-Like a Victoria sponge...
..with Madagascan vanilla and home-made jam.
I might pick up some tips here actually. I'm not very good in the kitchen.
I can wash up and do beans on toast, but that's about it, really.
'I do some cooking, but not a lot, to be honest.'
I can do the basics.
So, that's flour, butter...
I take it you've been watching The Great British Bake Off?
I have, but it's a bit scary, isn't it, all that pressure?
I'd rather just make it and people love it.
-My wife's been watching it.
-Has she? Is she a good cook?
Oh, yes. Definitely. Got to say that, haven't I?
-There would be trouble.
Both working for Tameside Council.
-20 years ago now, we actually met at a leaving do.
-Oh, did you?
-He was dancing with a colleague of mine...
..and she was fed up of him, so she palmed him off on me,
cos he'd had a few.
-That's the truth.
And the rest, they say, is history.
I know what you saw in me. Well, it's a few years ago.
Will you stop it? You're getting me embarrassed now.
-I'm outgoing, he isn't.
-I'm generous, he isn't.
-No, that's true.
He's bald, I'm not.
I don't know. No, we do have a lot in common, really, don't we?
-The same values, really.
I'm going to make a noise.
We're still married. We've not killed each other.
Right, Simon. That's going to be about 40 minutes now.
Would you like a slice with a coffee when it's ready?
-Can't you have any?
-No, we never do.
-We always get offered cups of tea and stuff like that
and we always say no. Because of the job we do, really, we never take...
-What, you're not allowed to put weight on?
-Well, I've put enough on already!
With sponge in the oven, Simon gets down to Wendi's hygiene rating.
While a good score could help launch her business,
a bad one might put a dent in her dreams.
Don't know. Still a bit nervous, really. I hope it went well.
I did everything that I do whether Simon was here or not so...
If I haven't got five, then I'd like to aim for five,
but I don't want any less.
I want to do it properly and I want to do it well.
OK. I've done the paperwork now for the inspection.
It's that time. I'll just go through it with you.
-You've never had a food hygiene inspection before, have you?
-It is a bit nerve-racking.
-New to all of this.
-I'm not sure what happens.
There's these three areas. We look at the practices, we look at structure
and we look at confidence in management. Are we confident that
-you can produce a safe product?
-I've scored you very well, actually.
-Your overall rating after today is a five, which is the best.
So, all I need you to do now is to sign my inspection form and date it.
That would be great.
'I'm elated. I did what I always do
'and I've got the highest points for it'
and I'm doing exactly what I do every time I make a cake,
so it's wonderful. Lovely feeling.
I'm pleased and I hope it goes really well.
-Let's hope it takes off...
-..and you have lots of customers.
-OK, then. Thank you very much.
-Bye-bye. You're welcome. Goodbye.
I'm pleased with that. It was a good inspection.
It is nice when you see businesses setting up
and you help them to get going and you see them
actually go on to do really well.
It's nice to see that, really.
-What's your kitchen like?
It would be a lot better if Louise didn't keep messing it up.
-When she cooks something, she has to get
every pot and pan out.
Then somebody's got to clean those items and it's down to me normally.
Do you know...?! He has a nerve.
Then we've got a daughter who makes herself a sandwich
-and just leaves everything out, doesn't she?
-I agree with him on that.
He's got a nerve. We have a dishwasher.
-We have a dishwasher.
No, you're too tight to put the dishwasher on.
The UK's taxpaying residents rely on their local councils
for many of their most essential services.
So it's vital that council officers know their way around
and can respond to their residents' cries for help quickly.
I'm really good at finding places, cos for years I've used the A-Z.
If I'm going anywhere, I look in the A-Z and I go,
"Ah, yeah, I can cut across here, cut across there."
A concerned resident has called the council about a rat
in her garden shed.
If Brian's going to catch it, he needs to get to there fast.
I don't have a sat nav cos it's only a little area.
Well, it's not a little area. You've got Tameside and, to be honest with you,
the old-fashioned way is just look in this and look at the A-Z,
find the grid reference and then I'm on my way.
I just swear that the old-fashioned way's the best and as it happens...
I can't find this address in here!
It's doing my head in now.
Frustrated and late, it's not long before Luddite Brian
surrenders his principles.
"Maps would like to use your current location."
No. Can't find it.
Even modern technology...
I'll just have to ring her.
Hi, darling. It's Brian from Tameside pest control.
Can you tell me whereabouts in Longdendale you are, cos I can't find you on the map?
Right. And turn right after the hairdresser's?
No problem. No problem.
Bye. Bye. See? Don't need sat nav.
Communication with the customer has got me there,
so I'll head that way now. See, you don't need a sat nav.
I'll get us there in 15 minutes. No problem.
Half an hour later, Brian still hasn't found his destination...
..and decides to continue his journey on foot.
She says you have to walk down a lane.
Let's go back up. See if it's back up that way.
She told me here and then she said, "Ring me when you get here
"and I'll come and meet you."
Easier said than done when there's no signal on your phone.
Eventually, Brian strikes lucky.
Am I good?!
But a 15-minute journey has taken him 45.
With the location found, Brian prepares for his latest rat hunt.
I'm going to go in and see whether there's any knocking about...
..we might see some live ones.
Oh, it's going to be one of them days.
Brian needs all his specialist equipment to ensure
he's prepared for any eventuality.
This is what the lady was cleaning up at the weekend in there.
The rats had made a nest...
..in this trolley.
You can see the remains of it there in the head.
There. Part of its nest.
The rat's nest might have been removed from the shed,
but the rodent itself could still be lurking inside.
As you can see...
..a rat would get under there no problem.
even brave Brian gets a fright ferreting for rats...
Whoa! See all the droppings?
On the other side of the borough, officer Sharon Campbell is back
on territory that's become far too familiar.
She's returned to the rubbish-filled alley, scene of the latest battle
in her personal war on waste.
I think the thing with waste and what makes me passionate about it,
I don't like to walk down the street, I don't like to see
waste and rubbish. Neither does the general public.
The council tax is there. What do I pay my council tax for?
For front-line services.
You pay it for your bins to be emptied and streets to be cleaned,
so by me doing what I do,
I hopefully get quite a bit of that waste off the street
without other people and members of the public
having to actually walk past it and see it.
As well as regular weekly or fortnightly collections,
most councils offer a free service for picking up bulky waste.
But residents here haven't called their council to request one.
Instead, they've left it to fester
with other rubbish in their own back alleys.
We can't afford to keep going in and clearing areas
when we're not getting co-operation from residents.
We can't afford to clear everywhere up.
We've got financial restraints on us and we just can't possibly do it.
It's down to refuse collectors Ian and Milko to clear up.
I come out and I do the investigation.
But ultimately, removal of the stuff is the lads
and they come into the same place time and time again.
It's not fair to expect the council to come out and keep clearing up
after people just because they can't be bothered to use the correct bins.
I did this place two years ago. Exactly the same spot.
Kept clean for a while, hasn't it?
When you see something in a communal area
and it's full of waste for the first time, it sort of makes me wonder
how people have lived with it as long as they have.
The smell is horrendous.
It's all rotted down food, but with the weather and the elements,
it always makes it break down just that little bit more.
That's something else that the lads have got to look forward to,
as well as going through and finding the little needles
that we found when we were going through for evidence.
To let it get in such a state and not work together
with your neighbours, I can't...
I can't understand why they let it get so bad.
It's not bad cleaning it up,
but it shouldn't be here in the first place, should it?
Especially outside somebody's house. I wouldn't have it outside my house.
That's the problem. But mind you, this is just one of many, this.
My gut feeling is that it won't last long,
but it's one of them areas that we've passed to our
clean and safe neighbourhood officers.
They're going to be going out on a regular basis, to speak to residents
and get a residents' association together to keep that area clean.
With the waste gone, residents like Diane and her neighbours
have a clean and safe alley once again.
It's absolutely great. We're coming up to summertime.
It's nice to be able to think, "Well, I can sit out in the back,
"I can hang my washing out. It doesn't smell.
"I'm not going to have flies coming in," stuff like this. It's great.
We'll only now get involved should it get as bad again
that we need to serve any form of notice.
If that's the case, we're looking at the same again.
We're looking at a back alley full of putrescible waste.
We're looking at residents that have not been bothered
and that's where we'll come in again.
We're hoping that the residents' association will keep on top of it.
If I could solve this problem, I'd be a millionaire
and I don't look like a millionaire.
Across town, Brian's on the hunt for a rat
reported to be hiding in an old outhouse.
Even though it's all been disturbed, there's every chance we might hear
a bit of rustling on the floor.
She said there's still a big one knocking about.
Another whack up here.
Whoa! See all the droppings?
As you can see, that's ideal nesting material. It was kept up on top here.
..Ratty's disappeared. He's not in here.
He doesn't want to play ball.
I'll put some bait in that shed.
Chances are, he'll probably return.
Just to give the lady peace of mind as well.
I'm going to use two external bait boxes.
Rat goes into through that hole, eats the poison and then it goes off.
The lid on top protects it from non-target species.
If I slip that behind the wood like that...
Right. That's done.
Bait laid, this rat's day's are numbered.
Shame there wasn't one running around.
Brian and his council colleagues nationwide have been doing
their best for their residents once again.
They've wrestled with rats...
There's one. At the end of the day,
they're vermin and they spread diseases.
..they've supported small businesses...
I scored you very well, so your overall rating after today
-is a five, which is the best.
..and rid the streets of wrong-doers...
-Oi, oi, oi!
-Excuse me, love. You can't do that.
That's not acceptable behaviour, not at all.
..and all when WE called the council...
It's nice to be able to go to work and think,
"Today, I changed something for somebody."
That makes you feel good about yourself.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media
Heroic council officers respond when residents call the council about the rotting rubbish filling up their alleyways, catch a fly tipper red-handed and help a small business with big ambitions.