Series following council officers. The council's Trading Standards team crack down on sales of illegal and potentially lethal alcohol.
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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 front-line staff
working behind the walls of Tameside Town Hall in Greater Manchester.
Like council officers across the country,
these local heroes are waging war on those blighting our communities.
Oi, oi, oi! Excuse me, love, you can't do that!
They're protecting us from hidden dangers...
If there's rodent activity in your kitchen,
you won't be opening tonight, 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...
Coming up on today's programme:
This is Milo.
The council cracks down on sales
of illegal and potentially lethal alcohol...
Illicit vodka, it would appear.
..gets tough with a business that's rubbish at recycling.
-I don't want to keep coming down here and doing these visits.
I want it sorting, though.
And even put their bodies on the line
to rid the region's houses of fleas.
A food source comes along and, bang, they'll bounce around,
looking for that bite to get the blood.
There are over 400 local councils in the UK,
employing nearly two million people.
Accountable to the residents they serve,
their collective goal is to provide
our most essential services effectively and efficiently.
From pest control and parking to noise abatement and food hygiene,
officers at Tameside Council in Greater Manchester
are dedicated to providing their residents value for money.
Good afternoon, Tameside Council, can I help?
I'll try the line for Trading Standards,
just hold the line one moment.
At the council HQ, after a number of calls from worried residents
and some secret intelligence gathering,
Carl Jones and the Trading Standards team
are gearing up for a major operation.
Ultimately, I think I'm there to protect the public
in one way or another. It might sound a bit like a Superman-type statement,
but I react to any situations that come up within those spheres
whether it be Trading Standards, or environmental health.
Across the country, Trading Standards officers like Carl
ensure the goods and services we pay for are safe and legitimate.
They investigate complaints and prosecute those that break the law.
Trading Standards and police, mate, just on a routine visit, is that OK?
Today, Carl and the team are joining forces with the police
to crack down on the sale of illegal cigarettes and alcohol.
What I am going to do is have it tested to see if it's counterfeit.
The aim is to rid the borough of booze and tobacco
that's not just illegal, but also potentially lethal.
At the moment, there's more illicit tobacco out there on the streets
and marketplaces and small shops, and it's a growing problem.
We've seized vodkas that contain chloroform and cleaning fluid,
can cause people to lose their sight temporarily.
I know there was a case in Manchester where a lady drank
some dangerous vodka and ended up in hospital -
her kidneys failed, she lost her sight.
I think she survived, but it's no laughing matter.
But illegal alcohol also hits us taxpayers in the pocket.
In the last five years, it's been estimated that almost £29 billion
of tax revenue has been lost in the UK to illegal trade.
People tend to see it as a victimless crime, they say,
"Well, the only person who's losing out is the Treasury."
That is not the case.
Very often, you've got organised crime behind these sorts of things.
And they are the main profiteers.
Obviously as that monster grows bigger things like this fuel it.
With profit margins currently being squeezed,
reports suggest that the number of people looking to make a fast buck
from illegal booze is growing, something Trading Standards Officer
Tracey Jones Lacey knows all too well.
At the moment, with the current financial situation,
there's more incentive for businesses or individuals
to stretch the law.
Since 2005, nearly 15 million litres of illegally produced alcohol
has been seized in the UK.
Hello there. Trading Standards and police just on a routine check.
Today Carl and the team are on the lookout for bottles
with fake barcodes, misprinted labels and items without UK duty stamps.
It's not long before they spot some suspect spirits.
Illicit vodka, it would appear. That's smuggled stock.
Basically there's various things on the labelling of the bottle itself
that highlight that. I don't think it's all illicit,
but some certainly is.
Smuggled stock is less likely to be harmful to health, but anyone
selling it will have avoided paying tax, and this is a criminal offence.
But the shop assistant in this store claims the vodka was all bought from a legitimate wholesaler.
The owner bought it on the, um... The date is somewhere.
There is some proper Glen's vodka, but when we contact the owner
we'll ask him to bring that in with him, so if you could keep that safe.
If the shop owners aren't guilty, the person who sold them the vodka
could be liable to a fine of up to £5,000
and a prison sentence of up to two years.
That's per offence, could be per item, you know,
so at the end of the day it's obviously quite serious.
Carl seizes the vodka for further investigation
and the early signs are that today's operation is a success.
I don't really see that war is the right word, but certainly
we see it as something that we have to win, yeah.
That we have to get control of.
If I can walk down a high street or through a market place,
and not see counterfeit and illicit goods openly being offered for sale, then I'm winning.
Coming up, the storeowner's day goes from bad to worse.
You won't be able to sell alcohol. All this can't be offered for sale.
And the council unleashes a powerful weapon to make a major breakthrough
-in its war on illegal sales.
Well done, Ossie!
Local council officers up and down the country work tirelessly
to protect the cash in our pockets and keep our communities
free from danger, whatever form it takes.
No two days are the same. And one of the reasons I came into,
you know, the wonderful world of environmental health
and environmental services, is because it is so varied.
There's so much to do. Today I'm dealing with a mouldy pork pie.
This afternoon I'm going to a farm visit to look at the dairies.
This evening I'm going to a paintballing place, so, you know,
who can say that their day is, you know, is as varied as that?
So, I love it.
But first, Council Enforcement Officer Bev Hursthouse
is scheduled to inspect a cafe and a sandwich shop that a resident has complained about.
But en route, ever vigilant, Bev spots a charity collection
-and wants to check it out.
-Is Carl there?
Just a bit concerned these collectors that are collecting for a charity
are not as legitimate as perhaps they should be.
Collection for the Philippines!
There's two elements here that I'm concerned about.
One is obviously you're stood there with a bucket with money in.
-Yeah? And we've got sort of people walking past who think,
-"Oh, actually, I'm going to take that money from you."
And the other issue is, is obviously in my view I believe
it's supposed to be in a sealed sort of container with a licence.
You're dead right. The reason we're breaking the protocol -
-I've talked to a couple of policemen passing by...
And because it's such a spontaneous thing,
and as far as I'm concerned, the need overrules
-the protocol of everything.
Bev's concerned because, despite there being over 180,000 registered charities in England,
in one year alone over £147 million of our donations were lost to fraud.
Council officers have the authority to enforce regulations
set out by the Fundraising Standards Board.
It states that collection boxes should be sealed
and collectors should wear ID badges.
My concern is you, really. I'm just looking after your safety, OK?
Yeah, I know what you mean, but as far as I was concerned,
I can't afford to wait to send letters and wait for replies.
-By that time, people have starved.
-And so I have broke protocol,
-but I just think the disaster's more important.
-Good for you.
Today's fundraisers are legitimate
and Bev sees no reason to stop them collecting.
Collection for the Philippine disaster!
As the gentlemen said, he is going against protocol. He is...
He should have applied 28 days, sort of, ago but I think we can kind of
trust the gentleman, so I think on this occasion
we may just have to, you know, let this one go.
For Bev, making a professional judgment like this
is all part and parcel of keeping our communities, and our cash, safe.
Local councils across Britain are battling budget cuts and making
difficult decisions about how to manage their shrinking resources.
Afternoon. Tameside Council, can I help?
Yeah, I'll try pest control. Just bear with me just one moment.
Tameside Council is one of the few to keep a pest control department.
-Today their fearless Pest Control Officer, Brian Whelan,
-is responding to a call from a landlord with some unwelcome tenants - fleas.
It could be the person that's just moved out has had a cat or a dog
in these empty properties. And unfortunately, they've left
some pleasant little creatures behind for the next tenant, so we go in.
We'll go and spray for them. I'm looking for 22.
It's there? Cheers.
That's a big fella, innit?
Brave Brian's equipment may look like a giant thermos flask,
but instead of tea, it contains something much more powerful.
This is insecticidal spray, eh, for flea treatment. It will kill.
Fleas can lay dormant in a property such as this for anything up to a year.
They become active when they sense heat or food.
They can be anywhere, hiding. Carpet, material, or in nooks and crannies.
A food source comes along and bang, they'll bounce around
looking for that bite to get the blood.
There you go. And there's one moving.
They won't be getting a feed off me, cos I'll get rid of them.
Right. That's everywhere.
I want to get out of here.
Right, that's done. On to the next one.
Touch wood, I've never took anything home. I've never took any fleas home
or anything on me. I've had them on me when I've come out of the house,
you know, little bits will be on my legs and things like that,
but I flick them off and wipe myself down and everything, you know.
It's part of the job. But touch wood, I've never, ever took anything home.
Hopefully he's on me! HE LAUGHS
While Brian's fighting fleas, council enforcement officer
Simon Ashton is fighting for our money.
He's investigating a complaint made by the council's
refuse collection team about a food wholesaler who isn't separating
his plastic waste from his cardboard.
The initial complaint, really, was the bins. They say they were
putting plastic packaging into the cardboard only bins.
So we'll have a quick look in those.
England alone generates over 170 million tonnes of waste every year.
And in the UK it costs us all over £4 billion a year
to dispose of it.
To help reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill and save us money,
Tameside Council provides a free recycling collection service,
but this business owner is abusing it.
If that cardboard has to go to landfill because it's contaminated
with plastics, I think the figure is something like
£300 a tonne for waste going to landfill.
So the council have got to pick that bill up, because somebody
couldn't be bothered to separate the plastic from the cardboard.
It's quite annoying, really.
Simon's job is to stop businesses like this wasting our cash.
But this is his second visit
and the owner hasn't paid any attention to his earlier warnings.
I can say that, you know, it's...
It's creating more work for the council. When they come and collect,
there's a chance the actual lads on the collection will just say,
"We're not collecting it anyway." But even if they do,
if it does go off for recycling, say this stuff, you don't...
it shouldn't be in there. OK? And it's a free service we're providing,
so I'm really disappointed they haven't sort of taken on board
what I said last week.
Making matters worse, waste is also littering
other areas in the wholesaler's yard.
The thing is with something like sofas and that,
it shouldn't be there. It's a car park.
It provides harbourage for pests. Well, this is a food business.
So once you get a problem with pests in this area, the next thing
is they're going to try and get into the actual premises.
Then they run the risk of having an actual pest infestation.
It's really annoying because we try and take a gradual approach with businesses.
You want to try and help them. But if they're not going to take on board what we're saying
we're probably looking at a stage where we'll have to start
serving enforcement notices to actually get them to do things.
After two visits without seeing any vast improvements,
Simon's about to get tough.
Right, I came down last week, didn't I, about the complaints about the bins.
I've had a quick look in that yard. It's still not looking -
it's looking a little bit better, but there's still problems in there.
-Yeah. Come on, let's have a look.
-I took everything from there.
There was a problem with you putting plastic packaging
in the cardboard-only bins.
Now, I have just had another look and you are still doing it.
-It is quite clear. There is paper and cardboard.
I'm going to address this from today. I'll make sure we...
-But I told you this a week ago.
-Yeah, I know, but... as you can see...
Well, it is a bit better, but it is still not great, is it?
I mean, you've still got to get this...
-And I was hoping today that that would have gone.
-They will be gone.
They will be gone tomorrow.
Because somebody is going to come and take them away.
Simon is forced to explain the importance of disposing
of waste properly once again.
-What you are doing, you're putting it in there, aren't you?
-Well, they are being taken away.
I'm not going to lie to you, they are being taken away with the cardboard.
But it's not...
these bins are not for taking plastic packaging.
Yeah... Well, now we know, so we'll make sure we don't.
So what are you going to do with it, then?
I'm going to go tomorrow and get the bin from the council for the waste.
I'll be honest with you,
I don't want to keep coming down here and doing these visits.
-I want it sorted now.
Tomorrow morning, like I said, I'm going to get that shifted for you.
I might not be able to go to the council tomorrow,
but Monday I'm going to go and get a big wheelie bin from them.
If you don't do it by sort of early next week,
-and if you have not got arrangements in place...
What I will do then is serve an enforcement notice...
We will make sure.
..which will give you a certain amount of time to show you have adequate arrangements in place.
If you don't comply with that notice then you can end up with a £300 fixed penalty notice.
-Oh, no, no.
-So you don't want...
With the threat of a heavy fine if there aren't drastic improvements
before Simon's next visit, will the business owner finally take heed?
As well as fighting to make the best use of our taxes,
Britain's council officers are fighting to keep us healthy.
Last year in the UK, over four million of us
fell ill from food we ate in restaurants and takeaways.
Striving to get those figures down is
the council's Environmental Health team.
They have the power to close any premises that aren't up to scratch.
It's not ideal to close somewhere down.
It is not a pleasant experience,
but what the job-rewarding side of things is, is knowing that
that business is not in a position to cause anybody any harm.
Every pub, cafe, restaurant
and supermarket that serves food is rated by council officers like Bev.
Five is the highest rating awarded
and any premises with two or below are likely to be served
notices to improve and are inspected more frequently.
I am a huge fan of the risk rating.
I think it kind of gives the opportunity
for the public to see behind the doors.
Give them our eyes for a while.
Because you can go into some businesses and front of shop
looks glamorous and great and really,
our concern is not really how lovely the tablecloths look at
the front of house, our concern is really what is going on at the back.
That is the bit that can potentially make people unwell.
First on her inspection list is a Market Hall cafe.
She has inspected Mr Rudolph's place before but he doesn't know
she's coming to do another spot check today.
Couple of issues last time.
We had some problems with documentation,
some training issues, a few cleaning issues...
He was not best pleased because he was on a rating of three stars
and he was hoping for more.
So now it is routine food hygiene inspection again,
sort of 18 months on.
Hopefully, I mean really, the potential is there
that it could be a five-star business, so hopefully
he will do all right and we will get that result for him today.
Hi, I'm from environmental health,
here to do your routine food hygiene inspection.
Before I come in and put my whites on, have you got your paperwork to hand?
All food businesses need to keep and present up-to-date records
of their procedures, training, and hygiene checks.
If they don't,
the businesses won't get anything higher than a satisfactory rating.
-Pest control still with Tameside, isn't it?
-Yeah, that's good.
-That's great. And you are doing your four weekly checks.
-Just done it this morning.
-so, how are you finding the pack now, all right?
-Once it is implemented, it is really quite straightforward, isn't it?
-No problem at all.
My satisfaction is providing the advice, really.
Making sure people are clear on good practices,
making sure that what they are doing is safe.
With paperwork in place, Bev gives the cafe a thorough inspection.
-All your meat is bought in cooked? Ready cooked, your meats?
-And the only raw still is your bacon, is that right?
So, based on today's inspection,
-you are going to get your full five stars. Which is good.
-So your full five stars.
-That has gone up.
-Gone up. Yeah.
To the highest standard which is good.
So keep on top of what you are doing. Don't change anything.
-If we keep just the same, we will be all right?
-So all we do now is...
-Keep as you are doing.
There was a couple of issues, nothing really bad.
But, er, no, it's better. better.
Thank you very much. See you soon, take care. Thanks, ladies. Bye!
Mr Rudolph might be underplaying it but it is great news for his cafe.
Five is the highest rating that Bev could have awarded.
Next on Bev's hit list is a local sandwich shop.
This business has a three-star rating but Bev's following up
a complaint from a customer who called the council about staff hygiene.
We have received a complaint.
A member of the public thinks there is not enough hand-washing going on.
I'm here from environmental health. Is the owner of the business around?
I have got the owner of the business is Kevin. Is that yourself? Yeah?
-That's right, yes.
-So no change in ownership, Kevin?
And your last inspection...
was carried out back in 2010, so it is just routine.
Dirty hands pass on diseases fast.
Not washing them, especially before handling food,
means infections like diarrhoea and the flu virus can spread.
Two reasons, as I said to you before, why we are here.
One is that your food hygiene inspection is due anyway
but we had a call, somebody was concerned
some of your members of staff are going out for a smoke break.
It needs to be visibly clear that they are hand-washing
when they come back in.
All food businesses must have hot water
and soap on hand for all employees to use.
Bev has to take the owner's word that procedures are being
followed as she continues her inspection.
I do like to work with the businesses.
I don't go in all guns blazing
and I do find that I like to remain approachable
because I would like to help them to help themselves, really.
OK. So, how often do you do your checks, Kevin?
Usually sometime mid-morning and then later on in the afternoon.
OK, so you are doing them twice a day. And what ones are you checking?
-Freezers and fridges, mainly.
-The hot counter as well?
What temperature are you looking for on your hot counter?
-Over 63 on that one.
-And the fridges?
Below eight is legal, but we like to go below that, below five, really.
Good. So you are giving me all the right answers. That's good!
-That has prepped up nicely, there.
That has come up and as you rightly said, it needs to be above that 63.
We have procedures to follow.
We have guidance there so there is in a way a tick box
and they have to meet the tick boxes.
Hopefully, I do go in and make this clear to businesses.
Owner Kevin clearly knows his stuff which is good news for Bev.
Everything here is really good.
You are running a good ship, so to speak.
Have a chat with your staff about the smoking.
-So based on that, you are going to get five stars today.
Two inspections done
and both business have gone from a three to a five-star hygiene rating.
-Thanks very much.
That is what you strive for, isn't it?
You can't get better than five-star, can you?
I'm generous with my fives today, they must be working hard,
these businesses in Tameside, to get their fives.
Thanks! See you now.
Bev and her colleagues back at the council's HQ try their best
to resolve any issues residents have with local businesses.
But when residents call the council it's not always with thank you in mind.
A lot of people don't appreciate what it is that we do.
The amount of stick we have to take sometimes.
I have been called all sorts on the phone. Some people...
I've seen some of the girls in the office crying
because it is upsetting on occasions.
Me, it just makes me laugh.
I can't say that I've had many thank you cards in my time,
but when you get the occasional one, you realise that maybe somebody
else appreciated it, that you have gone to a little more trouble
than they expected you to, just to give them that level of service.
I would like to think that people turn around and go, hey,
get Brian, phone the council. Get Brian, he does a good job.
He will look after you, he will sort it. Cos at the end of the day,
I want to go home at night and think to myself... Sit there,
maybe there are some guys out there who would think, you're mad.
I like to think to myself, I can sleep tonight.
Everyone is happy with what I've done.
But you are not going to please everybody.
Back on the streets, the council's operation to rid
the borough of illegal and potentially life-threatening
alcohol and tobacco is gathering momentum.
Having seized a consignment of smuggled vodka,
Carl has called in the council's licensing officer David Smith, who's
spotted another infringement of the shop's licence to sell alcohol.
Is it Massah Hussain?
Hi, I am David Smith. That is my ID, just so you know who I am.
I think people do try and cut corners where they can.
'But ultimately, if they get found out doing it,'
then it's them that suffer.
To sell alcohol, you need a licence. This shop's licence also
stipulates that it must have a fully operational CCTV system which
can protect customers and shopkeepers alike.
OK. In relation to your CCTV system...
-Can you operate that?
You can burn footage off, you can search through data on a system?
Can you show us this time yesterday?
No, not yesterday.
-So you can't operate the system?
-No, not check it.
So you can't operate the system? Is that what we are saying?
I have asked you if you can work the system. You have said yes.
I don't think you can. And from what you are telling me now, I don't think you can.
'The CCTV is a good tool for the detecting crime, preventing crime.'
And whilst it is expensive
and some shop owners don't see the requirement of having it...
And they might not be, they might not have been the victim of a crime,
but there are a lot of licensed premises where people come in trying
to steal from a shop, or steal money from the till, things like that.
And that CCTV can prove crucial later down the line
when the police catch these offenders.
Dave has the power to stop a store selling alcohol
if their CCTV isn't working properly.
From our point of view, you have obviously got illicit alcohol on your shelves.
The condition put on your licence by the court is not being adhered to.
You won't be able to sell alcohol until we come back and have signed your CCTV off.
-So all this...
-Can we just cover it, put a thingy over it?
Cover it, remove it, whatever you need to do.
-It cannot be offered for sale.
Left with thousands of pounds worth of stock they can't sell and
their licence suspended, the future of this store hangs in the balance.
Make sure you know how it's working.
Because when we come, it is going to be,
you are going to be asked to show us how it works.
And it needs to be working.
Otherwise you're not getting your licence. Does it make sense, that?
-Does that make sense?
-OK, no problem.
Coming up - with one source of illegal booze shut down
the council are stepping up their campaign to keep
counterfeit goods off the streets
and are about to unleash a potent weapon.
Well done, Ozzie.
Across town, council officer Simon Ashton is battling with
a business owner whose lax attitude to recycling has caused
the council's refuse collectors to complain.
He's given him a verbal warning.
And continued failure to sort plastic waste from cardboard
will result in formal proceedings.
Simon's fighting to save us, the taxpayer, £300 per tonne
of unsorted waste and the cost of these unnecessary visits.
Because today, Simon's making his third inspection of the yard.
So there's just a bit in there. I've got lots... Look at that.
It's annoying, really,
when you're having to go back to the same sort of complaints.
You want to see progress, you want to see lasting progress.
The sofa's gone, the bed's gone.
Looks like they've been out with a strimmer
cos they've been cutting back,
there's some litter on the floor but I'm sure they'll get that shifted
but, yeah, it's looking a lot, lot better.
So there is still a little bit of plastic packaging in there.
I think what it is,
it's like a cardboard tray with a bit of plastic around it,
so you need to have a chat with the lads in there, really,
just make sure that when they're putting any cardboard in there,
-there's no plastic. OK.
The yard is looking so much better now.
-Have you had the strimmer out?
-I've had the strimmer out!
-You've now got a contract set up for your general waste.
-So your bins are coming Tuesday or Wednesday next week?
-Tuesday or Wednesday.
I think that's the main thing, isn't it? You've now got this sorted.
It's taken three visits, hours of council time
and the delivery of nine free recycling bins
to get this business into shape.
Now, it's down to the owner to maintain it.
I'm really pleased but what I want to see now is,
-I want to see you keep it like this.
-Keep it like it, yes.
-I've been here before with complaints.
-We'll make sure.
-Can you make sure that it will be kept like this?
-Yeah. Then I can leave you alone, can't I?
-Thank you very much!
Always vans coming around here!
-All right, there's your paperwork.
-Thank you very much.
The business owner has avoided any penalties this time
but it's unlikely he'll fall off Simon's radar any time soon.
It's taken three visits to get this done
and really, I thought it could have been done in two.
Obviously we're really busy and you hope when you tell somebody,
when you come back a week later things will be right,
and I said to him I wasn't happy last week, so I thought, you know,
just need to push him along, really, and get it done
and he's obviously done that now and I'm really pleased.
Local councils across the country have a legal obligation
to collect our household waste, but waste dumped in communal areas
is not necessarily the council's responsibility.
These communal passage areas
and communal courtyards, there is a lot of confusion with that.
The council don't own or maintain them
so anything that happens there
is basically a responsibility of the people that live there.
People that actually live there have to bite the bullet
and take the responsibility for the area.
One Tameside resident trying to take responsibility for the area
behind his house is Gerry Webb.
His alleyway has become a dumping ground for local fly tippers.
I've lived in this property for 25 years
and obviously it's been a nice neighbourhood.
For the past couple of years, it's been totally getting out of hand.
Last year, October, I complained to the council
about fly tipping. They said it was being investigated.
They did clear it up, mind you,
and it's all started again.
I don't think the people who put the rubbish there have got any shame
whatsoever, because otherwise they wouldn't have put it there.
I'm really stressed out with this situation
because it's outside the side of my front door.
Gerry's been calling the council for help
because the rubbish isn't just a nuisance - it's also dangerous.
Now, all it takes is one child who plays in the community
in the area to fall on that and they could really injure themselves.
It all started out with three mattresses.
Now, it's building up
and the reason I will not move it is because it's creating more space
for the people to dump more rubbish, so I'm leaving it as it is.
We've got to make this a safer place.
This is a breeding ground for rats.
In 2013, local authorities in England dealt with over
700,000 incidents of fly tipping.
Over two-thirds of these
involved household waste.
The cost of clearance to us taxpayers was £36 million.
To try and encourage the public to keep their streets waste-free,
Tameside, like many other local councils, is promoting
a Clean and Safe initiative.
And today, Gerry's street is getting cleaned up
because the council agree the extent of the fly tipping
poses a risk to the public's health and safety.
Louise is wrapped up and ready for action.
Today is the day
that we will provide a bin wagon to take the rubbish away.
We've also provided tools, wheelbarrows, spades,
all sorts of tools on a temporary borrow basis,
and we've also got some of our Clean and Safe neighbourhood officers here
to physically help out, along with the volunteers
and we're going to try and clean the area up.
But to make today's initiative successful,
Louise, Gerry and the council team need to get other residents to help.
Nobody on this street.
We've been round the other side. They can't help neither.
What a disappointment.
Nobody's answering the door and nobody wants to come out.
I spoke to a lot of people about this decision
and they all said, "Yeah, we'll help,"
and these are the people, you can't even get in.
They've all had the letter, they've all had the leaflet,
-they've all had the door knock and nobody's interested.
It looks like you're it! And us.
Well, I'm glad you're here anyway.
Well, how can I put this?
Some people might be at work but for those people who are not working,
who are not coming out, I feel very disappointed.
It's their community, it's their area,
they're prepared to do nothing about it.
So I feel a bit dejected, in a sense.
Got to be careful!
I think some community spirit definitely has been lost
in areas like that. I think people are more insular now.
They used to... Nice weather, they'd all be out on the doorsteps
and chatting, and you used to go up and down there and you'd see
perhaps elderly residents with a kitchen chair on the front step
and they'd be out and they'd talk to the kids
and the kids would play in the street
and that sort of thing, and over the years, I've seen that change.
With a poor turnout from the locals so far, Louise presses on.
It could be tater hash or it could be poo. I'm not sure.
It's certainly not recyclable plastic and glass!
All of us, myself included, we are flogging
and nobody even offered us a cup of tea because, you know,
they'd sort of, "Oh, I'm glad to see you're doing something AT LAST."
So, hang on, it's been done several times.
And last time I checked, nobody from Tameside Council came round
dumping mattresses, you know, we're doing our bit
where we don't even need to,
so we just need people to help themselves a little bit.
After an hour of graft,
two of Gerry's neighbours arrive and offer their services.
-They were struggling to get out of the house.
-It's the first time
-the gate's been opened since they moved in because of this.
We do appreciate them coming out, particularly as new residents.
They want where they live to be nice.
And neighbours just meeting each other, that's a good thing,
that's a good start for a community project, isn't it?
Well, it's our backs, pure and simple, that's it,
and it needs to be somewhere nice, if they have grandchildren,
be nice for them to have somewhere nice in the summer that we could all
sit out with the neighbours
rather than just sitting in your own garden.
There's not a lot of community spirit around at all
anywhere any more, definitely not.
This would not have been like this when I was a little girl.
You really had to admire the residents that did help.
They really got stuck in, because they want it to be better.
With the communal area finally clear,
Gerry's got rid of his unwanted rubbish
and made some new friends along the way.
Very grateful and very happy with the result,
and a lovely set of people.
Everybody's mucked in, everybody's done their part
and you can't ask for no more, you can't ask for no more.
Like all local councils, Tameside do much more than collect our rubbish.
Council officers Carl Jones and Tracy Jones Lacy
are on a mission to protect the public from the hidden dangers
of counterfeit alcohol and tobacco.
So what we're going to do Is split up into two teams,
so it needs to be a TSO and a police officer,
and then we'll start in the opposite direction and work in the middle.
Smuggled vodka has already been found in one store
but criminals intent on selling illicit and illegal booze
and tobacco go to extreme lengths to hide their goods,
so Tracey and Carl have enlisted a very special weapon to sniff it out.
Ozzie is a rescue dog.
We got him about eight-months-old.
He's now three-years-old.
He's one of our more experienced tobacco dogs,
finds very well concealed tobacco.
Yeah, and he was in training for about four months
and then since then, yeah, he's been on searches
with government agencies, doing really well.
On Ozzie, Carl and Tracey's hit list is a shop
that has a history of selling counterfeit tobacco.
OK, is there any tobacco on the premises?
I know you've got some there.
-Is there any other cigarettes or tobacco on the premises?
What we'd like to do is shut the shop for ten minutes
while the dog has a look around. OK.
We do find that as time's gone on, they get more and more devious.
For example, we'll find tobacco,
we'll find it hidden in the footboards of shelving,
inside children's sweets, inside boxes of crisps.
'We have a good look around the shop
'and if there's a cellar, we go into the cellar.
'We recently found £20,000 of illicit alcohol
'in a concealed cellar.'
He was wholesaling to other traders in the area.
With lethal drugs like arsenic
and formaldehyde found in illegal packets, getting caught
selling counterfeit tobacco could lead to ten years in prison.
-Hey. Well done.
Well done, Ozzie.
There we go.
With the stash found, Tracy leads the questioning.
-Do you have to hide it?
-Why? Why would it be under there, then?
-I keep it there.
-So I just keep it there.
-Why would you keep it concealed?
-Because it's my personal smoke.
-So that's why.
-Right, well, I'm seizing it, OK?
-I'm seizing it.
You'd have to prove that it's personal,
that you got a receipt for it from a legitimate source, OK?
-So have you got a receipt
-from the person that you bought it from?
-I bought it from one guy.
What I am going to do is have it tested
to see if it's counterfeit, OK?
If it is, then you may be charged,
you'll be interviewed for possessing and possibly selling.
A person who breaks the law, it could be anybody.
I've had, "I didn't know", "I'm selling it on behalf of a friend",
"I didn't even know that false ceiling was there." We have it all.
You kind of take everybody's comments with a pinch of salt,
unfortunately. You become very cynical in this job.
But Tracy doesn't just rely on experience to decide
what's right and what's wrong.
What the companies do,
they install on the strip here
something very, very secret, which we don't know about,
which is detected by this machine
and it would tell us if it's genuine or not.
If it's a genuine product, it would turn green.
If it's a non-genuine product, it would turn red,
so this gives me enough suspicion now to seize it.
With illicit vodka and counterfeit tobacco seized,
hundreds of pounds' worth of potentially lethal goods
have been removed from the streets.
It's been a good day for Tracy, Carl, and even Ozzie.
And it's not just this triumphant trio celebrating today.
-There's your paperwork.
-Thank you very much.
Local council heroes up and down the country
have been fighting for our cash...
It could be tater hash or it could be poo. I'm not sure.
But it's certainly not recyclable plastic and glass!
..and making sure we're safe from hidden germs.
I'm generous with my fives today.
But wrongdoers intent on blighting our communities are a constant
threat, so it's good to know that officers like Tracy are ready
to respond whenever we call the council.
If you're a good guy and you're legitimate,
then yeah, we're the good guys.
If you're doing something wrong, kind of watch out,
because eventually we'll find you.
The store selling illicit vodka was issued with a written warning
and, after fixing its CCTV, had its licence returned.
The amount of counterfeit tobacco Ozzie found was not enough
to indicate non-personal use.
The man received a written warning about selling non-duty-paid tobacco.
The council's Trading Standards team crack down on sales of illegal and potentially lethal alcohol, get tough with a business that's rubbish at recycling and put their bodies on the line to rid the region's houses of fleas.