Episode 4 Call the Council


Episode 4

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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Transcript


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From waste and recycling to pest control and Trading Standards,

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the taxes that we pay to our local councils are used to provide

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many of our most essential services.

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I like people who are keen to recycle.

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In this series, we follow the frontline staff

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working behind the walls of Tameside Town Hall in Greater Manchester.

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Like council officers across the country, these local heroes

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are waging war on those blighting our communities.

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Oi, oi, oi! Excuse me, love, you can't do that.

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They're protecting us from hidden dangers...

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If there's rodent activity in your kitchen, you won't be opening

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tonight. It's that simple.

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..making sure our cash is spent on those who need it most.

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I'm at a loose end. I do not know where to turn.

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And responding to their residents when they call the council.

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Coming up in today's programme, the council respond to residents

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whose alleyways are full of rotting rubbish.

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When I moved in, it was beautiful.

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An officer gets a scare when helping a householder with a rat problem.

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And the local authority helps a small business with big ambitions.

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I enjoy it. I want to earn money from it,

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and hopefully, eventually earn a living from it.

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The UK's 433 local councils

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are all tasked with spending the public's money

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efficiently and effectively.

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Meeting the needs of taxpayers in Tameside are this

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Greater Manchester Borough's 2,300 staff and enforcement officers,

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who are all ready to respond

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when their residents call the council.

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Environmental services. I'll try the number for you. Just bear with me.

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But it takes a special kind of person to be a council officer.

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The main quality you need to do this job is a thick skin.

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People are sometimes angry and annoyed.

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You've got to let them have their say

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and try not to take it too personally.

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Some do mean it personally, but you've just got to shake it off.

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Let it go.

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Today, Louise is going to need all of her diplomatic skills

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because some residents are not happy.

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There is a lot of rubbish on the street.

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Right outside my back gate gets a lot.

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I don't know what's wrong with that space,

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but loads of people come along and just dump rubbish there.

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A small percentage of people in Tameside are causing

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a big problem for their neighbours.

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It's disgusting. I've seen people throwing sofas, mattresses,

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-bits of wardrobe. Fridges.

-We've had rats. There's maggots.

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The smell is horrendous. And you cannot go out.

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These people, they've got no respect for anybody. Not even themselves.

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They're just lazy. Lazy, bone-idle people that can't be bothered

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to put it in the bin.

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And it's not the first time residents in this,

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the Holy Trinity area, have called the council.

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The Holy Trinity area of Ashton, which is a series

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of terraced streets with communal backs,

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over the years I've worked for Tameside, has traditionally been

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quite a difficult area to keep tidy,

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with lots of rubbish being dumped around on street corners

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and very low performing on recycling.

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In 2013, the UK's local councils dealt with

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over 700,000 cases of fly-tipping. Nearly 70% of these involved

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household waste, and it cost us all

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over £36 million to deal with.

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But it's not just outsiders causing the mess here.

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Some locals are failing to use the free bins given to them

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by the council,

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and dumping all kinds of rubbish in all the wrong places.

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The more responsible residents have had enough

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and have called the council.

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When it was covered in snow I took pictures

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of the full lot and sent them into the council.

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Right. We understand that you get a big back like that,

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and you've got probably 80% that are fine. 80% are decent people

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doing their own thing and minding their own business,

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and 20% mess it up for you.

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-What's going on with it?

-We're going to do everything we can to try

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-and change it for you.

-Thank you.

-We don't get magic wands, unfortunately.

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But it's not all bad. Over the past month, Louise

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and her colleague Sharon have been working with residents

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who share one alley in the area and have made significant progress.

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Oh, look at that. Brilliant. Good news all round.

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What is it, about three weeks? Four weeks?

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-Yeah, about four weeks.

-Four weeks? I'm very impressed.

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Gotcha. That's a big dog. I don't like leaving it there.

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You get used to doing this when you've got dogs.

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One of the residents who helped clean this alley up is Phil Sowter.

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Hiya. It was just to say, brilliant. It's still clear, isn't it?

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-If you look in the bin, you'll see it all.

-Yeah.

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-Slowly working down.

-Yeah.

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I'll just keep going round in a circle.

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We just wanted to say thanks again, for all the hard work

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you and the lads put in.

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-I'm keeping on top of it.

-Yeah. Okey-dokey.

-Thank you.

-Ta-ra.

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But even here, there's room for improvement.

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A contaminated green bin.

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It is contaminated, but it's nearly there. It's so nearly there!

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A contaminated bin is waste that's not put in the correct bin.

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It'll probably mean that the wrong type of plastic's been put in.

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We don't actually recycle these egg boxes.

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The way that we look at it is, if it's had liquid in it,

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it goes in the green bin. If it's not, that actually has to go

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in your landfill bin

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rather than your recycling bin.

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-Put them in there.

-It could also mean that they've used the recycling bins

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just for a general waste bin.

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So they've not bothered to recycle.

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But until you lift that lid, you don't know whether it's contaminated

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by the wrong plastic, or contaminated by other things.

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Contaminated bins cost the council up to £300 per tonne to dispose of,

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and just one wagon, fully loaded with contaminated waste,

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costs £3,000 to send to landfill.

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-Right.

-So to help and encourage residents to clean up the rest of

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this problem area and recycle properly,

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Sharon and Louise are launching a day of education and action.

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We will supply the tools, the litter pickers, the black bags,

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we'll get the rubbish taken away. The schools are involved,

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and people can come and talk to us, and if they've got any problems,

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we'll try and address them.

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And we just have a good day and make sure everything

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is left clean and tidy for them.

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But first, they've got to park the van.

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Anybody who knows me would not dream of putting me in charge of a caravan.

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I can drive my car, I've a nice, clean licence.

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I've had it for many, many years. Nice and shiny and clean.

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No speeding tickets, no nothing.

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But that's probably because I stay away from towing caravans!

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Sensibly, Louise leaves parking up

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and putting out the various recycling bins

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to her council colleagues.

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They've got to look attractive, you see.

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Hopefully someone will take them away.

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Right. Let's get this show on the road.

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Recently, some councils have started to charge residents

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who call them for a new wheelie bin. But Louise has ordered a truckload

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of free ones and some food caddies for locals here to collect.

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It's first come, first served

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and the demand is taking Louise by surprise.

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I don't know where I'm up to!

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People just appeared from everywhere.

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But I like that. That's keen. I like people who are keen to recycle.

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So you know when to put it out?

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If somebody else asks me a question, I think I'm going to pop.

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-OK? You have to hold it by that.

-All right, thank you.

-Bye.

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I may just climb into this bin and stay there.

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I'll have to put you on a list for the blue, cos we've run out.

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Hang on a minute.

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Right. We are officially out of bins.

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With the area cleaned up and bins distributed,

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the residents should have no excuses when it comes to recycling properly

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and keeping their streets rubbish-free.

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-Give me a big smile.

-ALL: Cheese!

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Excellent.

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We want this to be a clean, safe, attractive borough

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that people want to live in, want to visit.

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And all that comes from it being clean and attractive.

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I've got high hopes for the whole area.

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Coming up, Louise is shocked into action as one resident

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threatens to undo all her hard work.

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Oi, oi, oi! Excuse me, love. You can't do that.

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While Louise and her colleagues are out on the road,

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like councils across the country, a dedicated team is on hand

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at the town hall to help residents any way they can.

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Good morning, customer services. Cassie speaking.

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Council call centres nationwide deal with over 50 million calls a year,

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but sometimes residents who call the council

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expect a little more of it than perhaps they should.

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'You get asked obscure things,'

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and you think, "Why are you asking the council?"

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It's one of those things, isn't it?

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People think the council deals with everything

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cos they pay their council tax.

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Unfortunately, it's not everything that we deal with.

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We don't deal with the train times, we don't deal with the bus times.

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You know, I don't know why your Sky dish isn't working.

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I haven't got a clue, I'm sorry.

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OK, what seems to be the problem?

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'When I first started, this lady phoned. She wanted pest control,'

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'so I was asking her the questions.'

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Where are the noises coming from? What are you hearing?

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What do you think it is?

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She was a bit reluctant to tell me

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what she actually thought the pest was. So I asked her again,

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and she tells me that she thinks the house is haunted.

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'So I say, "You are aware you're asking for pest control?"

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'And she goes, "I really don't know who else to ring."'

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It's pest control, you know? It's a chargeable service.

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I can send a job through but you're not going to get the result

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that you want here. I think you need to speak to somebody else.

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But, yeah, it put a smile on my face.

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Estimates suggest that there are around 10 million rats in the UK

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and in recent years, with winters getting warmer

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and people getting more careless with their waste,

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reports of rodents near our homes have been on the rise.

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I'll put you through to the pest control department. Thank you.

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Tameside Council alone

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deals with over 1,500 pest-related calls every year,

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and it's pest control officer Brian Wheelan's job to deal with them.

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-See you later.

-See you later, Brian.

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It doesn't matter whether it's a mouse, whether it's a rat,

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it doesn't matter to me. Or a squirrel. It doesn't matter to me.

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I'll be the winner in the end.

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Today, Brian and his assistant Geoff Dale are responding to a cry

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for help from a worried resident.

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Rats have moved into her row of bungalows

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and she's called the council.

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Right. Today we've got three properties here. They've got

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a rat problem in the loft.

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So we'll have a look, do some baiting, Geoff will...

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Will you get the ladders out, mate, as well?

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And I'll get the bag with the torch.

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Rats are a major hazard to public health.

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They carry infectious diseases

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like listeria and salmonella,

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which can be seriously harmful to humans. And as their numbers grow,

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pest control officers like Brian

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are facing an uphill battle to control them.

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Right, this chap said he'd seen a rat dropping down from here.

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-Seen a rat there?

-If you look, it does make sense,

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-cos it would just go straight back up into the loft.

-Yeah.

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Broken fascias like this and other gaps in walls should be sealed,

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because they offer rats an easy route into the warmth

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of your house and loft.

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Using drains, downpipes and gutters as climbing frames,

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they can squeeze through spaces just two centimetres wide.

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Brian needs to get inside the loft quickly,

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and search for further signs of rodent activity.

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I can't see any live ones at the moment.

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I'll have to get in and have a look even more.

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Just like rats, Brian's also acquired the skill

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of squeezing into the smallest of spaces.

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I am a tallish lad. Problem is, I won't give up,

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I'll do my best to get in anywhere for anybody,

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try and help them out. At the end of the day they've got a problem,

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and it needs sorting.

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Brian's looking for any telltale signs. Brown spindly rat droppings,

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which can be up to two centimetres long.

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Rats, when they get into the cavity of the wall,

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they normally head to the loft because it's warm.

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There's insulation there. They're not stupid. They're not daft.

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They're quite clever animals.

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Sometimes you have to think like them and work it out.

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You can see how all the insulation has been ragged

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and chucked up. Virtually all over this loft, they've done it.

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There's a dropping there.

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Can you throw us up six bags and the Neosorexa, Geoff, please?

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Yeah, Brian.

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-Brian's using a ready-made mix of food and poison.

-You're a gent.

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It's the most effective way

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of ridding a property like this of rats.

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Once they eat the mixture, the rats will die within ten days.

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The problem you have, cos the loft, even though you've got

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the insulation of the loft and everything, they get underneath.

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And it sounds like they've got hobnail boots on

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when they're scurrying around.

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But it echoes because it's hollow in the loft as well.

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And you try and explain it, and no matter what you say,

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when people are frightened, they're frightened.

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You can have a laugh and a joke with them,

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but it's still in their mind and it's still a problem.

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Poison laid, it won't be long before this rat meets its maker.

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But there are others outside.

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I'm concerned about this area here.

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If Brian can locate the rats' food source,

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he'll have a better chance of catching his prey.

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It makes sense that they're going for the food there.

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So he follows his nose.

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Let's have another look in this bin.

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There's one!

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The rat's been dining on leftovers,

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but now it's trapped, it looks like it might have had its last supper.

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I tell you what, hold that. Hold that.

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I'm just going to nip to the back of my van.

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Time for Brian to do the job he's trained for.

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I wouldn't say it was satisfying to kill it.

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It's more of a joy that you've got it, and it's killed.

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I mean, cos you'll always get some people saying that it's wrong.

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You know, "Why are you killing it?" and all that.

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But at the end of the day, they're vermin and they spread diseases.

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Put that back in the van, mate.

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'We all do a job,

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'and at the end of it, there's an end result.'

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And there always will be an end result. And that is death.

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Simple as.

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Rats reproduce quickly.

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They can have as many as seven litters of up to 12 babies a year.

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That's a maximum of 84 inside 12 months.

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So Brian may never eliminate the rat population of Tameside,

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but today, at least, he's relieved one resident's worry and gone

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some way to controlling the spread of disease in this neighbourhood.

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It's been six weeks since Louise and Sharon spent a day,

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and some of the council's valuable resources,

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helping residents clean up their streets and alley ways.

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They've returned today to see if the area has stayed clean.

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-Oh.

-Oh, dear. I'm really disappointed, that's terrible.

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Communities don't take responsibility

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for their own rubbish.

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I think it's the climate that we live in at the moment.

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Someone will come out and just dump a bag

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in the middle of the road and think that that's acceptable.

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I think it's a generic thing, it's an education thing.

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We have a small minority that will come out

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and they'll just think it's the council's responsibility,

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or somebody else's responsibility, to clear that area up.

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Despite the council's help and advice, some residents have chosen

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to dump their waste in the shared alleyway.

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The rotting rubbish is smelly, unsightly

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and a risk to public health.

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It's a haven for disease-ridden rats

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and could harbour hazardous materials.

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Well, we're out of options now.

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We're gonna have to use the Public Health Act 1936.

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Section 78 of that act allows us

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to give notice to everybody that the work needs doing,

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that the area needs cleaning up.

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And to give them notice to do it within seven days,

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with the intention that if they don't do it, we will,

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and we'll split the cost been the number of properties

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that actually have access onto this common area.

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In 2012, local authorities carried out over 425,000

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enforcement actions against fly-tippers,

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costing us taxpayers an estimated £15 million.

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It's been an ongoing problem in this area, and it's not the first time

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residents like Diane have needed the council's help.

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-Isn't it a mess?

-Yeah.

-It's unbelievable.

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I've worked here now 36 years, and I must have been here 20 times.

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I'm fed up with it. When I moved in, it was beautiful.

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And the thing is, as you say, it WAS beautiful. And it's one of those,

0:18:580:19:03

-that we don't come and dump it here.

-I don't.

-No.

0:19:030:19:07

Although illegal dumping of waste is one of the most visible

0:19:070:19:10

of crimes, it's rare that anyone is caught red-handed.

0:19:100:19:14

Oi, oi, oi! Excuse me, love, you can't do that.

0:19:150:19:18

You cannot do that. Which property are you from? Excuse me.

0:19:180:19:22

The culprit's disregard for her neighbours and the law

0:19:230:19:26

shocks Sharon and Louise into action.

0:19:260:19:29

In all the time I've done the job, that's probably only the third time

0:19:290:19:32

I've actually caught somebody red-handed.

0:19:320:19:35

Much to Louise's delight.

0:19:350:19:38

I thought she was going to have a heart attack!

0:19:390:19:41

-Hiya. I'm from Tameside Council.

-OK.

-I'm an enforcement officer.

0:19:410:19:46

We're looking at the problem with the rubbish at the back of the house.

0:19:460:19:50

This lady, she's just tipping it out, loose waste, into the back.

0:19:500:19:55

Obviously that's not acceptable behaviour,

0:19:550:19:57

not at all, under any circumstances.

0:19:570:19:59

I mean, that actually could be classed as fly-tipping.

0:19:590:20:03

-It's what we're trying to stop.

-You are 100% right.

0:20:030:20:06

WOMAN SPEAKS IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE

0:20:060:20:09

She said there was nothing in the bag,

0:20:090:20:12

just small pieces of sweets.

0:20:120:20:14

Myself, my colleague, actually witnessed it when it happened,

0:20:140:20:17

so I'm afraid it's beyond denial.

0:20:170:20:19

With the woman denying being a fly-tipper,

0:20:190:20:22

it's up to Sharon and Louise to find evidence to prove it.

0:20:220:20:25

The cheeky mare! She actually denied it!

0:20:250:20:28

It just makes me more determined to find something now.

0:20:280:20:31

With the help of resident Diane, the officers need to trawl

0:20:320:20:36

the trash for any rubbish with names or addresses on.

0:20:360:20:39

-There you go.

-Oh, thank you.

0:20:390:20:43

This will help them prove

0:20:430:20:44

precisely who's responsible for causing all the mess.

0:20:440:20:47

I've never caught anyone in the act. Never.

0:20:470:20:51

In all the years I've been doing it, I've never actually been stood there

0:20:510:20:55

when somebody's done that.

0:20:550:20:57

I feel my northern coming out then, "Hey up!"

0:20:580:21:02

Thank you, love.

0:21:020:21:03

To avoid us putting our hands in we always wear touch gloves.

0:21:040:21:09

To help us with that, we use big screwdrivers, long screwdrivers,

0:21:090:21:13

and rip the rubbish apart with those.

0:21:130:21:16

And use those really as finger extensions,

0:21:160:21:19

and sort things out from there.

0:21:190:21:21

If you can stop your husband from pinching them off you

0:21:210:21:24

every five minutes! I'm always having to go and root for them again.

0:21:240:21:27

Sharon. I need you to photograph this. And there's one here.

0:21:270:21:32

From next door.

0:21:320:21:33

We'll take photographs of stuff. If it's filthy, we won't keep it.

0:21:330:21:38

Because we used to get told off

0:21:380:21:39

for leaving evidence drying on tops of radiators,

0:21:390:21:42

and stinking the office out.

0:21:420:21:44

What's all this food waste?

0:21:440:21:45

It's like a supermarket for rats. All this food is recyclable.

0:21:470:21:53

What's this? Half the address. It's just got the postcode on that.

0:21:540:22:01

It is a grim job. But I like the investigation side of things.

0:22:010:22:05

I like finding out why people have done what they've done.

0:22:050:22:08

God, I hate spiders!

0:22:080:22:10

I don't like them at all. I'll do it, because I have to be brave.

0:22:120:22:18

Somebody has to be brave.

0:22:180:22:21

But I don't like doing it. It's just papers, that.

0:22:210:22:24

But again, that can all go in recycling.

0:22:240:22:28

But that's a needle, from some sort of medication.

0:22:280:22:33

For ourselves, the people that end up clearing this,

0:22:330:22:36

in default, it's dangerous.

0:22:360:22:38

Is there any label on it? Let's move it over a bit.

0:22:380:22:42

Any hard evidence proves difficult to find,

0:22:430:22:46

and a thorough search is ultimately fruitless.

0:22:460:22:49

I was a bit disappointed that there was no evidence

0:22:490:22:53

from the house that the Asian lady was witnessed tipping from.

0:22:530:22:59

Nothing hard and fast. I saw her tipping out the contents of a bag

0:22:590:23:03

but I didn't actually see what it was. And because I can't identify it

0:23:030:23:08

in amongst that waste and say, "I saw this lady deposit this,

0:23:080:23:13

"and this and this and this," as red-handed as she was,

0:23:130:23:17

we've got to be proportionate in the action that we take.

0:23:170:23:22

I need to get rid of it,

0:23:250:23:26

especially with there being medical waste there.

0:23:260:23:29

I think it needs to go sooner rather than later.

0:23:290:23:32

So that'll be something that I'll do as a priority

0:23:320:23:34

when I get back to the office.

0:23:340:23:36

Now it's up to the council to clear the waste that should have been

0:23:360:23:39

recycled or taken to the tip. But the bill will be sent to all of the

0:23:390:23:43

residents who back onto the alley, whether they use, or abuse it.

0:23:430:23:47

As well as keeping us, the public,

0:23:570:23:59

free from food poisoning by enforcing high standards

0:23:590:24:03

across the nation's restaurants and takeaways,

0:24:030:24:05

local councils like to support residents

0:24:050:24:08

who want to better themselves.

0:24:080:24:10

Wendi Przewoznik wants to join the self-employment revolution.

0:24:100:24:14

360,000 people became their own boss in the last five years,

0:24:140:24:19

taking the UK's total to 4.2 million.

0:24:190:24:22

I've been a hairdresser for 38 years now,

0:24:220:24:26

and I think as I'm getting older, it's getting harder,

0:24:260:24:29

and it's really for younger people.

0:24:290:24:31

And I'm thinking of a change of direction. My passion is baking.

0:24:310:24:38

And I would like to go more into that.

0:24:380:24:41

Wendi sells her home-made cakes at the local market,

0:24:410:24:44

but dreams of something bigger.

0:24:440:24:47

I've started doing a stall on Sundays,

0:24:470:24:50

and I want to expand my business.

0:24:500:24:53

I don't want to just sell a slice of cake, and just say "Enjoy it."

0:24:530:24:57

I want to earn money from it,

0:24:570:24:59

and, hopefully, eventually earn a living from it.

0:24:590:25:02

Wendi's called council officer Simon Ashton and told him about her plans.

0:25:020:25:07

Even small businesses operating from home need to fulfil

0:25:070:25:10

stringent guidelines, and resolving any issues at this early stage

0:25:100:25:14

will save the council time and the public money in the long run.

0:25:140:25:18

Simon's task is to assess Wendi's kitchen, working practices

0:25:180:25:22

and understanding of food safety to give her a hygiene rating

0:25:220:25:26

from zero to five.

0:25:260:25:28

The national food hygiene ratings scheme was brought in

0:25:280:25:32

several years ago, and it's there really to allow customers

0:25:320:25:34

to make informed choices about where they shop.

0:25:340:25:37

In terms of food safety, really.

0:25:370:25:39

Businesses that are operating to a good standard,

0:25:390:25:42

have got good practices in place,

0:25:420:25:44

are complying with food safety legislation,

0:25:440:25:46

they're likely to be getting maybe a four or a five,

0:25:460:25:49

and then the ones that are not so good,

0:25:490:25:50

where things might be significant problems,

0:25:500:25:53

they could be picking up a zero rating, a one or a two.

0:25:530:25:56

-Hello.

-Simon Ashton from Environmental Health.

-Hi, Simon.

0:25:560:25:59

I've been expecting you. Nice to meet you. I'm Wendi.

0:25:590:26:02

-Hello.

-Would you like to come through?

-Yes, certainly.

0:26:020:26:05

'What it doesn't tell you is about the quality of the food,

0:26:050:26:07

'that's a completely separate issue.'

0:26:070:26:09

We're not Gordon Ramsays going in there,

0:26:090:26:11

telling them how to cook food or anything.

0:26:110:26:14

It's purely about food safety.

0:26:140:26:16

A good rating for Wendi will be the perfect kick-start

0:26:160:26:19

to her business, instilling confidence in prospective customers.

0:26:190:26:23

Right. OK. So...

0:26:260:26:28

-So, this is the kitchen.

-Yep.

-This is where I put the flour, the sugar.

0:26:280:26:32

Right. And it's all kept in containers, out of the packaging.

0:26:320:26:36

-Yes.

-That's fine. That's the thing. You don't want to be leaving

0:26:360:26:39

-packets open.

-No.

-There's always the danger of a creepy-crawly

0:26:390:26:42

making its way in there. I've seen that in the past.

0:26:420:26:45

I think first of all, some people are surprised

0:26:450:26:47

that you can run a commercial food business from a domestic house,

0:26:470:26:50

a domestic property.

0:26:500:26:52

You can do and obviously there are guidelines that they must follow,

0:26:520:26:56

but the things I'm looking at there... What's the chances of

0:26:560:26:59

maybe something dropping into the food? Foreign body contamination.

0:26:590:27:03

-OK. Do you have any pets or anything?

-No.

-So there's no dogs

0:27:030:27:06

running in here or cats walking across worktops

0:27:060:27:09

-or anything like that?

-No.

-No? OK. That's fine.

0:27:090:27:11

I've been to businesses where they're busy telling you,

0:27:110:27:16

"Everything's wonderful here," and then you turn around

0:27:160:27:19

and there's a cat walking across the worktop. I've seen that before.

0:27:190:27:22

I'm happy with the kitchen facilities.

0:27:220:27:24

What I would like to see now is you actually making cakes

0:27:240:27:28

in the kitchen.

0:27:280:27:30

The kitchen's passed Simon's test,

0:27:300:27:32

but now he needs to see Wendi's hygiene regime in practice.

0:27:320:27:36

OK. So, what are we making today, then?

0:27:360:27:38

-Today, it's vanilla sponge.

-Right.

-Like a Victoria sponge...

-Right.

0:27:380:27:43

..with Madagascan vanilla and home-made jam.

0:27:430:27:45

I might pick up some tips here actually. I'm not very good in the kitchen.

0:27:450:27:50

I can wash up and do beans on toast, but that's about it, really.

0:27:500:27:54

'I do some cooking, but not a lot, to be honest.'

0:27:540:27:57

I can do the basics.

0:27:570:27:59

So, that's flour, butter...

0:27:590:28:01

I take it you've been watching The Great British Bake Off?

0:28:040:28:07

I have, but it's a bit scary, isn't it, all that pressure?

0:28:070:28:11

I'd rather just make it and people love it.

0:28:110:28:14

-My wife's been watching it.

-Has she? Is she a good cook?

0:28:140:28:18

Oh, yes. Definitely. Got to say that, haven't I?

0:28:180:28:21

-There would be trouble.

-Yeah.

0:28:210:28:24

Both working for Tameside Council.

0:28:250:28:28

-Oh, right?

-20 years ago now, we actually met at a leaving do.

0:28:280:28:32

-Oh, did you?

-Yeah.

-Gosh.

0:28:320:28:34

-He was dancing with a colleague of mine...

-Was I?

-Yes.

0:28:340:28:40

..and she was fed up of him, so she palmed him off on me,

0:28:400:28:44

cos he'd had a few.

0:28:440:28:45

-Thanks.

-That's the truth.

0:28:470:28:49

And the rest, they say, is history.

0:28:500:28:53

I know what you saw in me. Well, it's a few years ago.

0:28:550:28:59

HE LAUGHS

0:28:590:29:01

Will you stop it? You're getting me embarrassed now.

0:29:010:29:04

-I'm outgoing, he isn't.

-Rubbish!

0:29:060:29:10

-I'm generous, he isn't.

-No, that's true.

0:29:120:29:15

He's bald, I'm not.

0:29:190:29:21

I don't know. No, we do have a lot in common, really, don't we?

0:29:210:29:24

-Yeah.

-The same values, really.

-Yeah.

0:29:240:29:28

I'm going to make a noise.

0:29:280:29:30

We're still married. We've not killed each other.

0:29:330:29:38

Right, Simon. That's going to be about 40 minutes now.

0:29:380:29:40

Would you like a slice with a coffee when it's ready?

0:29:400:29:43

-No.

-Can't you have any?

-No, we never do.

0:29:430:29:47

-Why?

-We always get offered cups of tea and stuff like that

0:29:470:29:49

and we always say no. Because of the job we do, really, we never take...

0:29:490:29:53

-What, you're not allowed to put weight on?

-Well, I've put enough on already!

0:29:530:29:57

With sponge in the oven, Simon gets down to Wendi's hygiene rating.

0:29:590:30:04

While a good score could help launch her business,

0:30:040:30:07

a bad one might put a dent in her dreams.

0:30:070:30:10

Don't know. Still a bit nervous, really. I hope it went well.

0:30:110:30:16

I did everything that I do whether Simon was here or not so...

0:30:160:30:21

If I haven't got five, then I'd like to aim for five,

0:30:210:30:25

but I don't want any less.

0:30:250:30:28

I want to do it properly and I want to do it well.

0:30:280:30:30

OK. I've done the paperwork now for the inspection.

0:30:320:30:36

It's that time. I'll just go through it with you.

0:30:360:30:39

-You've never had a food hygiene inspection before, have you?

-No.

0:30:390:30:42

-It is a bit nerve-racking.

-New to all of this.

-I'm not sure what happens.

-Don't worry.

0:30:420:30:46

There's these three areas. We look at the practices, we look at structure

0:30:460:30:49

and we look at confidence in management. Are we confident that

0:30:490:30:52

-you can produce a safe product?

-Right.

-I've scored you very well, actually.

0:30:520:30:56

-Your overall rating after today is a five, which is the best.

-Thank you.

0:30:560:31:01

So, all I need you to do now is to sign my inspection form and date it.

0:31:010:31:04

That would be great.

0:31:040:31:05

'I'm elated. I did what I always do

0:31:050:31:09

'and I've got the highest points for it'

0:31:090:31:11

and I'm doing exactly what I do every time I make a cake,

0:31:110:31:15

so it's wonderful. Lovely feeling.

0:31:150:31:17

I'm pleased and I hope it goes really well.

0:31:170:31:19

-Thank you.

-Let's hope it takes off...

-We'll see!

-..and you have lots of customers.

0:31:190:31:23

All right.

0:31:230:31:25

-OK, then. Thank you very much.

-Bye-bye. You're welcome. Goodbye.

0:31:250:31:28

I'm pleased with that. It was a good inspection.

0:31:310:31:33

It is nice when you see businesses setting up

0:31:330:31:36

and you help them to get going and you see them

0:31:360:31:38

actually go on to do really well.

0:31:380:31:41

It's nice to see that, really.

0:31:410:31:43

-What's your kitchen like?

-It's OK.

0:31:450:31:49

It would be a lot better if Louise didn't keep messing it up.

0:31:490:31:53

-He's cheeky.

-When she cooks something, she has to get

0:31:530:31:55

every pot and pan out.

0:31:550:31:58

Then somebody's got to clean those items and it's down to me normally.

0:31:580:32:03

Do you know...?! He has a nerve.

0:32:030:32:07

Then we've got a daughter who makes herself a sandwich

0:32:070:32:09

-and just leaves everything out, doesn't she?

-I agree with him on that.

0:32:090:32:13

He's got a nerve. We have a dishwasher.

0:32:130:32:16

-We have a dishwasher.

-That's me.

0:32:160:32:17

No, you're too tight to put the dishwasher on.

0:32:170:32:20

The UK's taxpaying residents rely on their local councils

0:32:260:32:30

for many of their most essential services.

0:32:300:32:33

So it's vital that council officers know their way around

0:32:330:32:36

and can respond to their residents' cries for help quickly.

0:32:360:32:40

I'm really good at finding places, cos for years I've used the A-Z.

0:32:410:32:44

If I'm going anywhere, I look in the A-Z and I go,

0:32:440:32:47

"Ah, yeah, I can cut across here, cut across there."

0:32:470:32:51

A concerned resident has called the council about a rat

0:32:510:32:54

in her garden shed.

0:32:540:32:55

If Brian's going to catch it, he needs to get to there fast.

0:32:550:32:59

I don't have a sat nav cos it's only a little area.

0:32:590:33:02

Well, it's not a little area. You've got Tameside and, to be honest with you,

0:33:020:33:06

the old-fashioned way is just look in this and look at the A-Z,

0:33:060:33:09

find the grid reference and then I'm on my way.

0:33:090:33:13

I just swear that the old-fashioned way's the best and as it happens...

0:33:130:33:16

I can't find this address in here!

0:33:160:33:18

It's doing my head in now.

0:33:180:33:20

Frustrated and late, it's not long before Luddite Brian

0:33:200:33:25

surrenders his principles.

0:33:250:33:27

"Maps would like to use your current location."

0:33:270:33:31

Bobbins.

0:33:310:33:33

No. Can't find it.

0:33:340:33:36

Even modern technology...

0:33:360:33:38

I'll just have to ring her.

0:33:380:33:39

Hi, darling. It's Brian from Tameside pest control.

0:33:420:33:46

Can you tell me whereabouts in Longdendale you are, cos I can't find you on the map?

0:33:460:33:51

Right. And turn right after the hairdresser's?

0:33:510:33:54

No problem. No problem.

0:33:540:33:56

Bye. Bye. See? Don't need sat nav.

0:33:560:34:01

Communication with the customer has got me there,

0:34:010:34:04

so I'll head that way now. See, you don't need a sat nav.

0:34:040:34:08

I'll get us there in 15 minutes. No problem.

0:34:080:34:11

Half an hour later, Brian still hasn't found his destination...

0:34:180:34:22

..and decides to continue his journey on foot.

0:34:250:34:28

She says you have to walk down a lane.

0:34:280:34:31

Let's go back up. See if it's back up that way.

0:34:310:34:34

She told me here and then she said, "Ring me when you get here

0:34:340:34:37

"and I'll come and meet you."

0:34:370:34:40

Easier said than done when there's no signal on your phone.

0:34:400:34:43

Eventually, Brian strikes lucky.

0:34:440:34:47

Am I good?!

0:34:470:34:49

But a 15-minute journey has taken him 45.

0:34:520:34:54

With the location found, Brian prepares for his latest rat hunt.

0:34:570:35:01

I'm going to go in and see whether there's any knocking about...

0:35:040:35:08

and hopefully...

0:35:080:35:10

..we might see some live ones.

0:35:130:35:15

Oh, it's going to be one of them days.

0:35:200:35:23

Brian needs all his specialist equipment to ensure

0:35:230:35:26

he's prepared for any eventuality.

0:35:260:35:28

This is what the lady was cleaning up at the weekend in there.

0:35:320:35:37

The rats had made a nest...

0:35:370:35:39

..in this trolley.

0:35:430:35:45

You can see the remains of it there in the head.

0:35:490:35:51

There. Part of its nest.

0:35:520:35:55

The rat's nest might have been removed from the shed,

0:35:560:35:59

but the rodent itself could still be lurking inside.

0:35:590:36:03

As you can see...

0:36:030:36:05

..a rat would get under there no problem.

0:36:050:36:07

Coming up...

0:36:090:36:11

even brave Brian gets a fright ferreting for rats...

0:36:110:36:15

Whoa! See all the droppings?

0:36:160:36:18

On the other side of the borough, officer Sharon Campbell is back

0:36:230:36:27

on territory that's become far too familiar.

0:36:270:36:30

She's returned to the rubbish-filled alley, scene of the latest battle

0:36:300:36:34

in her personal war on waste.

0:36:340:36:36

I think the thing with waste and what makes me passionate about it,

0:36:360:36:40

I don't like to walk down the street, I don't like to see

0:36:400:36:43

waste and rubbish. Neither does the general public.

0:36:430:36:46

The council tax is there. What do I pay my council tax for?

0:36:460:36:49

For front-line services.

0:36:490:36:50

You pay it for your bins to be emptied and streets to be cleaned,

0:36:500:36:53

so by me doing what I do,

0:36:530:36:55

I hopefully get quite a bit of that waste off the street

0:36:550:36:58

without other people and members of the public

0:36:580:37:00

having to actually walk past it and see it.

0:37:000:37:03

As well as regular weekly or fortnightly collections,

0:37:050:37:08

most councils offer a free service for picking up bulky waste.

0:37:080:37:12

But residents here haven't called their council to request one.

0:37:120:37:15

Instead, they've left it to fester

0:37:150:37:18

with other rubbish in their own back alleys.

0:37:180:37:21

We can't afford to keep going in and clearing areas

0:37:210:37:23

when we're not getting co-operation from residents.

0:37:230:37:26

We can't afford to clear everywhere up.

0:37:260:37:28

We've got financial restraints on us and we just can't possibly do it.

0:37:280:37:32

It's down to refuse collectors Ian and Milko to clear up.

0:37:320:37:37

I come out and I do the investigation.

0:37:370:37:40

But ultimately, removal of the stuff is the lads

0:37:400:37:43

and they come into the same place time and time again.

0:37:430:37:46

It's not fair to expect the council to come out and keep clearing up

0:37:460:37:51

after people just because they can't be bothered to use the correct bins.

0:37:510:37:54

I did this place two years ago. Exactly the same spot.

0:37:540:37:58

Kept clean for a while, hasn't it?

0:38:000:38:02

When you see something in a communal area

0:38:020:38:04

and it's full of waste for the first time, it sort of makes me wonder

0:38:040:38:08

how people have lived with it as long as they have.

0:38:080:38:10

The smell is horrendous.

0:38:100:38:12

It's all rotted down food, but with the weather and the elements,

0:38:120:38:15

it always makes it break down just that little bit more.

0:38:150:38:18

That's something else that the lads have got to look forward to,

0:38:180:38:21

as well as going through and finding the little needles

0:38:210:38:24

that we found when we were going through for evidence.

0:38:240:38:27

To let it get in such a state and not work together

0:38:270:38:29

with your neighbours, I can't...

0:38:290:38:32

I can't understand why they let it get so bad.

0:38:320:38:35

It's not bad cleaning it up,

0:38:390:38:40

but it shouldn't be here in the first place, should it?

0:38:400:38:44

Especially outside somebody's house. I wouldn't have it outside my house.

0:38:450:38:49

That's the problem. But mind you, this is just one of many, this.

0:38:500:38:54

My gut feeling is that it won't last long,

0:38:560:38:59

but it's one of them areas that we've passed to our

0:38:590:39:01

clean and safe neighbourhood officers.

0:39:010:39:03

They're going to be going out on a regular basis, to speak to residents

0:39:030:39:07

and get a residents' association together to keep that area clean.

0:39:070:39:11

With the waste gone, residents like Diane and her neighbours

0:39:110:39:15

have a clean and safe alley once again.

0:39:150:39:17

It's absolutely great. We're coming up to summertime.

0:39:170:39:21

It's nice to be able to think, "Well, I can sit out in the back,

0:39:210:39:24

"I can hang my washing out. It doesn't smell.

0:39:240:39:28

"I'm not going to have flies coming in," stuff like this. It's great.

0:39:280:39:33

We'll only now get involved should it get as bad again

0:39:330:39:36

that we need to serve any form of notice.

0:39:360:39:39

If that's the case, we're looking at the same again.

0:39:390:39:42

We're looking at a back alley full of putrescible waste.

0:39:420:39:44

We're looking at residents that have not been bothered

0:39:440:39:47

and that's where we'll come in again.

0:39:470:39:49

We're hoping that the residents' association will keep on top of it.

0:39:490:39:54

If I could solve this problem, I'd be a millionaire

0:39:540:39:57

and I don't look like a millionaire.

0:39:570:39:59

Across town, Brian's on the hunt for a rat

0:40:110:40:13

reported to be hiding in an old outhouse.

0:40:130:40:16

Even though it's all been disturbed, there's every chance we might hear

0:40:160:40:20

a bit of rustling on the floor.

0:40:200:40:22

She said there's still a big one knocking about.

0:40:310:40:34

Another whack up here.

0:40:440:40:47

Whoa! See all the droppings?

0:40:490:40:52

Rat droppings.

0:40:520:40:54

As you can see, that's ideal nesting material. It was kept up on top here.

0:41:240:41:28

No, unfortunately...

0:41:300:41:32

..Ratty's disappeared. He's not in here.

0:41:360:41:39

He doesn't want to play ball.

0:41:390:41:41

I'll put some bait in that shed.

0:41:410:41:43

Chances are, he'll probably return.

0:41:440:41:46

Just to give the lady peace of mind as well.

0:41:500:41:53

I'm going to use two external bait boxes.

0:41:560:41:58

Rat goes into through that hole, eats the poison and then it goes off.

0:41:590:42:03

The lid on top protects it from non-target species.

0:42:030:42:07

If I slip that behind the wood like that...

0:42:070:42:10

it's safe.

0:42:100:42:12

Right. That's done.

0:42:140:42:15

Bait laid, this rat's day's are numbered.

0:42:160:42:19

Shame there wasn't one running around.

0:42:200:42:23

Brian and his council colleagues nationwide have been doing

0:42:250:42:28

their best for their residents once again.

0:42:280:42:30

They've wrestled with rats...

0:42:300:42:33

There's one. At the end of the day,

0:42:330:42:34

they're vermin and they spread diseases.

0:42:340:42:36

..they've supported small businesses...

0:42:360:42:39

I scored you very well, so your overall rating after today

0:42:390:42:42

-is a five, which is the best.

-Thank you.

0:42:420:42:45

..and rid the streets of wrong-doers...

0:42:450:42:47

-Oi, oi, oi!

-Excuse me.

-Excuse me, love. You can't do that.

0:42:470:42:50

That's not acceptable behaviour, not at all.

0:42:500:42:53

..and all when WE called the council...

0:42:530:42:56

It's nice to be able to go to work and think,

0:42:560:43:00

"Today, I changed something for somebody."

0:43:000:43:04

That makes you feel good about yourself.

0:43:040:43:06

Subtitles by Red Bee Media

0:43:150:43:17

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.


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