Episode 9 Call the Council


Episode 9

Series following council officers. The council's Trading Standards team crack down on sales of illegal and potentially lethal alcohol.


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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

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to provide 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 front-line 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,

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these local heroes 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,

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you won't be opening 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...

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Coming up on today's programme:

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This is Milo.

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The council cracks down on sales

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of illegal and potentially lethal alcohol...

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Illicit vodka, it would appear.

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..gets tough with a business that's rubbish at recycling.

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-I don't want to keep coming down here and doing these visits.

-No, no.

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I want it sorting, though.

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And even put their bodies on the line

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to rid the region's houses of fleas.

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A food source comes along and, bang, they'll bounce around,

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looking for that bite to get the blood.

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There are over 400 local councils in the UK,

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employing nearly two million people.

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Accountable to the residents they serve,

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their collective goal is to provide

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our most essential services effectively and efficiently.

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From pest control and parking to noise abatement and food hygiene,

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officers at Tameside Council in Greater Manchester

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are dedicated to providing their residents value for money.

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Good afternoon, Tameside Council, can I help?

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I'll try the line for Trading Standards,

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just hold the line one moment.

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At the council HQ, after a number of calls from worried residents

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and some secret intelligence gathering,

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Carl Jones and the Trading Standards team

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are gearing up for a major operation.

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Ultimately, I think I'm there to protect the public

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in one way or another. It might sound a bit like a Superman-type statement,

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but I react to any situations that come up within those spheres

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whether it be Trading Standards, or environmental health.

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Across the country, Trading Standards officers like Carl

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ensure the goods and services we pay for are safe and legitimate.

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They investigate complaints and prosecute those that break the law.

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Trading Standards and police, mate, just on a routine visit, is that OK?

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Today, Carl and the team are joining forces with the police

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to crack down on the sale of illegal cigarettes and alcohol.

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What I am going to do is have it tested to see if it's counterfeit.

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The aim is to rid the borough of booze and tobacco

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that's not just illegal, but also potentially lethal.

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At the moment, there's more illicit tobacco out there on the streets

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and marketplaces and small shops, and it's a growing problem.

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We've seized vodkas that contain chloroform and cleaning fluid,

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can cause people to lose their sight temporarily.

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I know there was a case in Manchester where a lady drank

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some dangerous vodka and ended up in hospital -

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her kidneys failed, she lost her sight.

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I think she survived, but it's no laughing matter.

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But illegal alcohol also hits us taxpayers in the pocket.

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In the last five years, it's been estimated that almost £29 billion

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of tax revenue has been lost in the UK to illegal trade.

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People tend to see it as a victimless crime, they say,

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"Well, the only person who's losing out is the Treasury."

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That is not the case.

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Very often, you've got organised crime behind these sorts of things.

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And they are the main profiteers.

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Obviously as that monster grows bigger things like this fuel it.

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With profit margins currently being squeezed,

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reports suggest that the number of people looking to make a fast buck

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from illegal booze is growing, something Trading Standards Officer

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Tracey Jones Lacey knows all too well.

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At the moment, with the current financial situation,

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there's more incentive for businesses or individuals

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to stretch the law.

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Since 2005, nearly 15 million litres of illegally produced alcohol

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has been seized in the UK.

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Hello there. Trading Standards and police just on a routine check.

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Today Carl and the team are on the lookout for bottles

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with fake barcodes, misprinted labels and items without UK duty stamps.

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It's not long before they spot some suspect spirits.

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Illicit vodka, it would appear. That's smuggled stock.

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Basically there's various things on the labelling of the bottle itself

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that highlight that. I don't think it's all illicit,

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but some certainly is.

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Smuggled stock is less likely to be harmful to health, but anyone

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selling it will have avoided paying tax, and this is a criminal offence.

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But the shop assistant in this store claims the vodka was all bought from a legitimate wholesaler.

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The owner bought it on the, um... The date is somewhere.

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There is some proper Glen's vodka, but when we contact the owner

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we'll ask him to bring that in with him, so if you could keep that safe.

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If the shop owners aren't guilty, the person who sold them the vodka

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could be liable to a fine of up to £5,000

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and a prison sentence of up to two years.

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That's per offence, could be per item, you know,

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so at the end of the day it's obviously quite serious.

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Carl seizes the vodka for further investigation

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and the early signs are that today's operation is a success.

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I don't really see that war is the right word, but certainly

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we see it as something that we have to win, yeah.

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That we have to get control of.

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If I can walk down a high street or through a market place,

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and not see counterfeit and illicit goods openly being offered for sale, then I'm winning.

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Coming up, the storeowner's day goes from bad to worse.

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You won't be able to sell alcohol. All this can't be offered for sale.

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And the council unleashes a powerful weapon to make a major breakthrough

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-in its war on illegal sales.

-Tracey?

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Well done, Ossie!

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Local council officers up and down the country work tirelessly

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to protect the cash in our pockets and keep our communities

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free from danger, whatever form it takes.

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No two days are the same. And one of the reasons I came into,

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you know, the wonderful world of environmental health

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and environmental services, is because it is so varied.

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There's so much to do. Today I'm dealing with a mouldy pork pie.

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This afternoon I'm going to a farm visit to look at the dairies.

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This evening I'm going to a paintballing place, so, you know,

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who can say that their day is, you know, is as varied as that?

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So, I love it.

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But first, Council Enforcement Officer Bev Hursthouse

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is scheduled to inspect a cafe and a sandwich shop that a resident has complained about.

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But en route, ever vigilant, Bev spots a charity collection

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-and wants to check it out.

-Is Carl there?

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Just a bit concerned these collectors that are collecting for a charity

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are not as legitimate as perhaps they should be.

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Collection for the Philippines!

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There's two elements here that I'm concerned about.

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One is obviously you're stood there with a bucket with money in.

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-Yeah.

-Yeah? And we've got sort of people walking past who think,

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-"Oh, actually, I'm going to take that money from you."

-Right.

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And the other issue is, is obviously in my view I believe

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it's supposed to be in a sealed sort of container with a licence.

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You're dead right. The reason we're breaking the protocol -

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-I've talked to a couple of policemen passing by...

-OK.

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And because it's such a spontaneous thing,

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and as far as I'm concerned, the need overrules

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-the protocol of everything.

-OK.

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Bev's concerned because, despite there being over 180,000 registered charities in England,

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in one year alone over £147 million of our donations were lost to fraud.

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Council officers have the authority to enforce regulations

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set out by the Fundraising Standards Board.

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It states that collection boxes should be sealed

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and collectors should wear ID badges.

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My concern is you, really. I'm just looking after your safety, OK?

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Yeah, I know what you mean, but as far as I was concerned,

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I can't afford to wait to send letters and wait for replies.

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-By that time, people have starved.

-OK.

-And so I have broke protocol,

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-but I just think the disaster's more important.

-Good for you.

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Today's fundraisers are legitimate

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and Bev sees no reason to stop them collecting.

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Collection for the Philippine disaster!

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As the gentlemen said, he is going against protocol. He is...

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He should have applied 28 days, sort of, ago but I think we can kind of

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trust the gentleman, so I think on this occasion

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we may just have to, you know, let this one go.

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For Bev, making a professional judgment like this

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is all part and parcel of keeping our communities, and our cash, safe.

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Local councils across Britain are battling budget cuts and making

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difficult decisions about how to manage their shrinking resources.

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Afternoon. Tameside Council, can I help?

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Yeah, I'll try pest control. Just bear with me just one moment.

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Tameside Council is one of the few to keep a pest control department.

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-Number 22.

-Today their fearless Pest Control Officer, Brian Whelan,

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-is responding to a call from a landlord with some unwelcome tenants - fleas.

-Let's go.

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It could be the person that's just moved out has had a cat or a dog

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in these empty properties. And unfortunately, they've left

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some pleasant little creatures behind for the next tenant, so we go in.

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We'll go and spray for them. I'm looking for 22.

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It's there? Cheers.

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That's a big fella, innit?

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BRIAN LAUGHS

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Brave Brian's equipment may look like a giant thermos flask,

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but instead of tea, it contains something much more powerful.

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This is insecticidal spray, eh, for flea treatment. It will kill.

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Fleas can lay dormant in a property such as this for anything up to a year.

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They become active when they sense heat or food.

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They can be anywhere, hiding. Carpet, material, or in nooks and crannies.

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A food source comes along and bang, they'll bounce around

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looking for that bite to get the blood.

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There you go. And there's one moving.

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They won't be getting a feed off me, cos I'll get rid of them.

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Right. That's everywhere.

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I want to get out of here.

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Right, that's done. On to the next one.

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Touch wood, I've never took anything home. I've never took any fleas home

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or anything on me. I've had them on me when I've come out of the house,

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you know, little bits will be on my legs and things like that,

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but I flick them off and wipe myself down and everything, you know.

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It's part of the job. But touch wood, I've never, ever took anything home.

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Hopefully he's on me! HE LAUGHS

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While Brian's fighting fleas, council enforcement officer

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Simon Ashton is fighting for our money.

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He's investigating a complaint made by the council's

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refuse collection team about a food wholesaler who isn't separating

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his plastic waste from his cardboard.

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The initial complaint, really, was the bins. They say they were

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putting plastic packaging into the cardboard only bins.

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So we'll have a quick look in those.

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England alone generates over 170 million tonnes of waste every year.

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And in the UK it costs us all over £4 billion a year

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to dispose of it.

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To help reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill and save us money,

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Tameside Council provides a free recycling collection service,

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but this business owner is abusing it.

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If that cardboard has to go to landfill because it's contaminated

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with plastics, I think the figure is something like

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£300 a tonne for waste going to landfill.

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So the council have got to pick that bill up, because somebody

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couldn't be bothered to separate the plastic from the cardboard.

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It's quite annoying, really.

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Simon's job is to stop businesses like this wasting our cash.

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But this is his second visit

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and the owner hasn't paid any attention to his earlier warnings.

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I can say that, you know, it's...

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It's creating more work for the council. When they come and collect,

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there's a chance the actual lads on the collection will just say,

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"We're not collecting it anyway." But even if they do,

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if it does go off for recycling, say this stuff, you don't...

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it shouldn't be in there. OK? And it's a free service we're providing,

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so I'm really disappointed they haven't sort of taken on board

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what I said last week.

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Making matters worse, waste is also littering

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other areas in the wholesaler's yard.

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The thing is with something like sofas and that,

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it shouldn't be there. It's a car park.

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It provides harbourage for pests. Well, this is a food business.

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So once you get a problem with pests in this area, the next thing

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is they're going to try and get into the actual premises.

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Then they run the risk of having an actual pest infestation.

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It's really annoying because we try and take a gradual approach with businesses.

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You want to try and help them. But if they're not going to take on board what we're saying

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we're probably looking at a stage where we'll have to start

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serving enforcement notices to actually get them to do things.

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After two visits without seeing any vast improvements,

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Simon's about to get tough.

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Right, I came down last week, didn't I, about the complaints about the bins.

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I've had a quick look in that yard. It's still not looking -

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it's looking a little bit better, but there's still problems in there.

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-The yard?

-Yeah. Come on, let's have a look.

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-I took everything from there.

-Right...

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There was a problem with you putting plastic packaging

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in the cardboard-only bins.

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Now, I have just had another look and you are still doing it.

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-It is quite clear. There is paper and cardboard.

-Right.

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I'm going to address this from today. I'll make sure we...

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-But I told you this a week ago.

-Yeah, I know, but... as you can see...

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Well, it is a bit better, but it is still not great, is it?

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I mean, you've still got to get this...

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-And I was hoping today that that would have gone.

-They will be gone.

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They will be gone tomorrow.

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Because somebody is going to come and take them away.

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Simon is forced to explain the importance of disposing

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of waste properly once again.

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-What you are doing, you're putting it in there, aren't you?

-Well, they are being taken away.

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I'm not going to lie to you, they are being taken away with the cardboard.

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But it's not...

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these bins are not for taking plastic packaging.

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Yeah... Well, now we know, so we'll make sure we don't.

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So what are you going to do with it, then?

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I'm going to go tomorrow and get the bin from the council for the waste.

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I'll be honest with you,

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I don't want to keep coming down here and doing these visits.

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-I want it sorted now.

-No, no.

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Tomorrow morning, like I said, I'm going to get that shifted for you.

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I might not be able to go to the council tomorrow,

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but Monday I'm going to go and get a big wheelie bin from them.

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If you don't do it by sort of early next week,

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-and if you have not got arrangements in place...

-It's done.

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What I will do then is serve an enforcement notice...

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We will make sure.

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..which will give you a certain amount of time to show you have adequate arrangements in place.

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If you don't comply with that notice then you can end up with a £300 fixed penalty notice.

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-Oh, no, no.

-So you don't want...

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With the threat of a heavy fine if there aren't drastic improvements

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before Simon's next visit, will the business owner finally take heed?

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As well as fighting to make the best use of our taxes,

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Britain's council officers are fighting to keep us healthy.

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Last year in the UK, over four million of us

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fell ill from food we ate in restaurants and takeaways.

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Striving to get those figures down is

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the council's Environmental Health team.

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They have the power to close any premises that aren't up to scratch.

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It's not ideal to close somewhere down.

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It is not a pleasant experience,

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but what the job-rewarding side of things is, is knowing that

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that business is not in a position to cause anybody any harm.

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Every pub, cafe, restaurant

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and supermarket that serves food is rated by council officers like Bev.

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Five is the highest rating awarded

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and any premises with two or below are likely to be served

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notices to improve and are inspected more frequently.

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I am a huge fan of the risk rating.

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I think it kind of gives the opportunity

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for the public to see behind the doors.

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Give them our eyes for a while.

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Because you can go into some businesses and front of shop

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looks glamorous and great and really,

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our concern is not really how lovely the tablecloths look at

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the front of house, our concern is really what is going on at the back.

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That is the bit that can potentially make people unwell.

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First on her inspection list is a Market Hall cafe.

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She has inspected Mr Rudolph's place before but he doesn't know

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she's coming to do another spot check today.

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Couple of issues last time.

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We had some problems with documentation,

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some training issues, a few cleaning issues...

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He was not best pleased because he was on a rating of three stars

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and he was hoping for more.

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So now it is routine food hygiene inspection again,

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sort of 18 months on.

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Hopefully, I mean really, the potential is there

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that it could be a five-star business, so hopefully

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he will do all right and we will get that result for him today.

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Hi, I'm from environmental health,

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here to do your routine food hygiene inspection.

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Before I come in and put my whites on, have you got your paperwork to hand?

0:19:020:19:05

All food businesses need to keep and present up-to-date records

0:19:070:19:10

of their procedures, training, and hygiene checks.

0:19:100:19:14

If they don't,

0:19:140:19:16

the businesses won't get anything higher than a satisfactory rating.

0:19:160:19:20

-Pest control still with Tameside, isn't it?

-Yes.

-Yeah, that's good.

0:19:200:19:24

-That's great. And you are doing your four weekly checks.

-Just done it this morning.

-Brilliant. Good.

0:19:240:19:29

-so, how are you finding the pack now, all right?

-Yeah.

0:19:290:19:32

-Once it is implemented, it is really quite straightforward, isn't it?

-No problem at all.

0:19:320:19:36

My satisfaction is providing the advice, really.

0:19:360:19:41

Making sure people are clear on good practices,

0:19:410:19:44

making sure that what they are doing is safe.

0:19:440:19:47

With paperwork in place, Bev gives the cafe a thorough inspection.

0:19:470:19:51

-All your meat is bought in cooked? Ready cooked, your meats?

-Yeah.

0:19:540:20:00

-And the only raw still is your bacon, is that right?

-Yes.

0:20:000:20:03

So, based on today's inspection,

0:20:080:20:10

-you are going to get your full five stars. Which is good.

-Wheee!

0:20:100:20:15

-So your full five stars.

-That has gone up.

-Gone up. Yeah.

0:20:150:20:19

To the highest standard which is good.

0:20:190:20:22

So keep on top of what you are doing. Don't change anything.

0:20:220:20:24

-If we keep just the same, we will be all right?

-Yeah. Good.

0:20:240:20:27

-So all we do now is...

-Keep as you are doing.

-Yeah.

0:20:270:20:31

There was a couple of issues, nothing really bad.

0:20:310:20:35

But, er, no, it's better. better.

0:20:360:20:40

Thank you very much. See you soon, take care. Thanks, ladies. Bye!

0:20:400:20:45

Mr Rudolph might be underplaying it but it is great news for his cafe.

0:20:450:20:50

Five is the highest rating that Bev could have awarded.

0:20:500:20:53

Next on Bev's hit list is a local sandwich shop.

0:20:540:20:57

This business has a three-star rating but Bev's following up

0:20:570:21:01

a complaint from a customer who called the council about staff hygiene.

0:21:010:21:06

We have received a complaint.

0:21:060:21:07

A member of the public thinks there is not enough hand-washing going on.

0:21:070:21:11

I'm here from environmental health. Is the owner of the business around?

0:21:110:21:14

I have got the owner of the business is Kevin. Is that yourself? Yeah?

0:21:140:21:17

-That's right, yes.

-So no change in ownership, Kevin?

-No.

-OK.

0:21:170:21:21

And your last inspection...

0:21:210:21:23

was carried out back in 2010, so it is just routine.

0:21:230:21:28

Dirty hands pass on diseases fast.

0:21:280:21:31

Not washing them, especially before handling food,

0:21:310:21:34

means infections like diarrhoea and the flu virus can spread.

0:21:340:21:38

Two reasons, as I said to you before, why we are here.

0:21:380:21:40

One is that your food hygiene inspection is due anyway

0:21:400:21:43

but we had a call, somebody was concerned

0:21:430:21:46

some of your members of staff are going out for a smoke break.

0:21:460:21:50

It needs to be visibly clear that they are hand-washing

0:21:500:21:53

when they come back in.

0:21:530:21:54

All food businesses must have hot water

0:21:560:21:58

and soap on hand for all employees to use.

0:21:580:22:02

Bev has to take the owner's word that procedures are being

0:22:020:22:05

followed as she continues her inspection.

0:22:050:22:08

I do like to work with the businesses.

0:22:090:22:12

I don't go in all guns blazing

0:22:120:22:14

and I do find that I like to remain approachable

0:22:140:22:17

because I would like to help them to help themselves, really.

0:22:170:22:21

OK. So, how often do you do your checks, Kevin?

0:22:230:22:27

Usually sometime mid-morning and then later on in the afternoon.

0:22:270:22:31

OK, so you are doing them twice a day. And what ones are you checking?

0:22:310:22:35

-Freezers and fridges, mainly.

-The hot counter as well?

0:22:350:22:39

What temperature are you looking for on your hot counter?

0:22:390:22:42

-Over 63 on that one.

-And the fridges?

0:22:420:22:44

Below eight is legal, but we like to go below that, below five, really.

0:22:440:22:49

Good. So you are giving me all the right answers. That's good!

0:22:490:22:52

-That has prepped up nicely, there.

-Yes.

-OK.

0:22:520:22:55

That has come up and as you rightly said, it needs to be above that 63.

0:22:550:22:59

-That's great.

-Yeah.

0:22:590:23:01

We have procedures to follow.

0:23:010:23:03

We have guidance there so there is in a way a tick box

0:23:030:23:08

and they have to meet the tick boxes.

0:23:080:23:10

Hopefully, I do go in and make this clear to businesses.

0:23:100:23:13

Owner Kevin clearly knows his stuff which is good news for Bev.

0:23:130:23:17

Everything here is really good.

0:23:170:23:19

You are running a good ship, so to speak.

0:23:190:23:22

Have a chat with your staff about the smoking.

0:23:220:23:24

-So based on that, you are going to get five stars today.

-Oh.

-Yeah?

0:23:240:23:28

Good.

0:23:280:23:30

Two inspections done

0:23:300:23:31

and both business have gone from a three to a five-star hygiene rating.

0:23:310:23:35

-Thanks very much.

-Brilliant.

-Thanks, Kevin.

-No problem.

-Thanks.

0:23:350:23:39

That is what you strive for, isn't it?

0:23:390:23:42

You can't get better than five-star, can you?

0:23:420:23:45

I'm generous with my fives today, they must be working hard,

0:23:450:23:47

these businesses in Tameside, to get their fives.

0:23:470:23:50

Thanks! See you now.

0:23:500:23:52

Bev and her colleagues back at the council's HQ try their best

0:23:570:24:01

to resolve any issues residents have with local businesses.

0:24:010:24:04

But when residents call the council it's not always with thank you in mind.

0:24:050:24:10

A lot of people don't appreciate what it is that we do.

0:24:100:24:13

The amount of stick we have to take sometimes.

0:24:130:24:16

I have been called all sorts on the phone. Some people...

0:24:160:24:20

I've seen some of the girls in the office crying

0:24:200:24:22

because it is upsetting on occasions.

0:24:220:24:25

Me, it just makes me laugh.

0:24:250:24:26

I can't say that I've had many thank you cards in my time,

0:24:260:24:30

but when you get the occasional one, you realise that maybe somebody

0:24:300:24:33

else appreciated it, that you have gone to a little more trouble

0:24:330:24:37

than they expected you to, just to give them that level of service.

0:24:370:24:41

I would like to think that people turn around and go, hey,

0:24:410:24:44

get Brian, phone the council. Get Brian, he does a good job.

0:24:440:24:47

He will look after you, he will sort it. Cos at the end of the day,

0:24:470:24:50

I want to go home at night and think to myself... Sit there,

0:24:500:24:54

maybe there are some guys out there who would think, you're mad.

0:24:540:24:58

I like to think to myself, I can sleep tonight.

0:24:580:25:01

Everyone is happy with what I've done.

0:25:010:25:02

But you are not going to please everybody.

0:25:020:25:05

Back on the streets, the council's operation to rid

0:25:140:25:17

the borough of illegal and potentially life-threatening

0:25:170:25:20

alcohol and tobacco is gathering momentum.

0:25:200:25:23

Having seized a consignment of smuggled vodka,

0:25:230:25:25

Carl has called in the council's licensing officer David Smith, who's

0:25:250:25:30

spotted another infringement of the shop's licence to sell alcohol.

0:25:300:25:34

Is it Massah Hussain?

0:25:340:25:35

Hi, I am David Smith. That is my ID, just so you know who I am.

0:25:350:25:41

I think people do try and cut corners where they can.

0:25:410:25:44

'But ultimately, if they get found out doing it,'

0:25:440:25:48

then it's them that suffer.

0:25:480:25:50

To sell alcohol, you need a licence. This shop's licence also

0:25:500:25:54

stipulates that it must have a fully operational CCTV system which

0:25:540:25:58

can protect customers and shopkeepers alike.

0:25:580:26:02

OK. In relation to your CCTV system...

0:26:020:26:05

-Yeah?

-Can you operate that?

-Yeah.

0:26:050:26:08

You can burn footage off, you can search through data on a system?

0:26:080:26:11

MUFFLED SPEECH

0:26:110:26:14

Can you show us this time yesterday?

0:26:150:26:18

No, not yesterday.

0:26:180:26:21

-So you can't operate the system?

-No, not check it.

0:26:210:26:24

So you can't operate the system? Is that what we are saying?

0:26:240:26:28

I have asked you if you can work the system. You have said yes.

0:26:280:26:32

I don't think you can. And from what you are telling me now, I don't think you can.

0:26:320:26:35

'The CCTV is a good tool for the detecting crime, preventing crime.'

0:26:350:26:38

And whilst it is expensive

0:26:380:26:41

and some shop owners don't see the requirement of having it...

0:26:410:26:44

And they might not be, they might not have been the victim of a crime,

0:26:440:26:48

but there are a lot of licensed premises where people come in trying

0:26:480:26:52

to steal from a shop, or steal money from the till, things like that.

0:26:520:26:58

And that CCTV can prove crucial later down the line

0:26:580:27:01

when the police catch these offenders.

0:27:010:27:03

Dave has the power to stop a store selling alcohol

0:27:030:27:06

if their CCTV isn't working properly.

0:27:060:27:09

From our point of view, you have obviously got illicit alcohol on your shelves.

0:27:090:27:13

The condition put on your licence by the court is not being adhered to.

0:27:130:27:17

You won't be able to sell alcohol until we come back and have signed your CCTV off.

0:27:170:27:21

-So all this...

-Can we just cover it, put a thingy over it?

0:27:210:27:26

Cover it, remove it, whatever you need to do.

0:27:260:27:29

-It cannot be offered for sale.

-OK.

-OK.

0:27:290:27:33

Left with thousands of pounds worth of stock they can't sell and

0:27:330:27:36

their licence suspended, the future of this store hangs in the balance.

0:27:360:27:41

Make sure you know how it's working.

0:27:410:27:44

Because when we come, it is going to be,

0:27:440:27:46

you are going to be asked to show us how it works.

0:27:460:27:49

And it needs to be working.

0:27:490:27:51

Otherwise you're not getting your licence. Does it make sense, that?

0:27:510:27:55

-Does that make sense?

-OK, no problem.

0:27:550:27:59

Coming up - with one source of illegal booze shut down

0:28:020:28:05

the council are stepping up their campaign to keep

0:28:050:28:08

counterfeit goods off the streets

0:28:080:28:10

and are about to unleash a potent weapon.

0:28:100:28:12

Well done, Ozzie.

0:28:140:28:16

Across town, council officer Simon Ashton is battling with

0:28:270:28:30

a business owner whose lax attitude to recycling has caused

0:28:300:28:34

the council's refuse collectors to complain.

0:28:340:28:36

He's given him a verbal warning.

0:28:380:28:40

And continued failure to sort plastic waste from cardboard

0:28:400:28:43

will result in formal proceedings.

0:28:430:28:45

Simon's fighting to save us, the taxpayer, £300 per tonne

0:28:460:28:51

of unsorted waste and the cost of these unnecessary visits.

0:28:510:28:55

Because today, Simon's making his third inspection of the yard.

0:28:550:28:59

So there's just a bit in there. I've got lots... Look at that.

0:29:000:29:03

It's annoying, really,

0:29:080:29:09

when you're having to go back to the same sort of complaints.

0:29:090:29:12

You want to see progress, you want to see lasting progress.

0:29:120:29:14

The sofa's gone, the bed's gone.

0:29:140:29:17

Looks like they've been out with a strimmer

0:29:170:29:19

cos they've been cutting back,

0:29:190:29:21

there's some litter on the floor but I'm sure they'll get that shifted

0:29:210:29:24

but, yeah, it's looking a lot, lot better.

0:29:240:29:27

So there is still a little bit of plastic packaging in there.

0:29:270:29:30

I think what it is,

0:29:300:29:31

it's like a cardboard tray with a bit of plastic around it,

0:29:310:29:34

so you need to have a chat with the lads in there, really,

0:29:340:29:36

just make sure that when they're putting any cardboard in there,

0:29:360:29:39

-there's no plastic. OK.

-No worries.

0:29:390:29:41

The yard is looking so much better now.

0:29:410:29:43

-Have you had the strimmer out?

-I've had the strimmer out!

0:29:430:29:46

-You've now got a contract set up for your general waste.

-Yeah.

0:29:460:29:49

-So your bins are coming Tuesday or Wednesday next week?

-Tuesday or Wednesday.

-That's good.

0:29:490:29:53

I think that's the main thing, isn't it? You've now got this sorted.

0:29:530:29:57

It's taken three visits, hours of council time

0:29:570:30:00

and the delivery of nine free recycling bins

0:30:000:30:03

to get this business into shape.

0:30:030:30:05

Now, it's down to the owner to maintain it.

0:30:050:30:09

I'm really pleased but what I want to see now is,

0:30:090:30:11

-I want to see you keep it like this.

-Keep it like it, yes.

-Cos obviously,

0:30:110:30:14

-I've been here before with complaints.

-We'll make sure.

0:30:140:30:16

-Can you make sure that it will be kept like this?

-Spot on.

0:30:160:30:19

-Yeah. Then I can leave you alone, can't I?

-Thank you very much!

0:30:190:30:23

Always vans coming around here!

0:30:230:30:25

-All right, there's your paperwork.

-Thank you very much.

0:30:250:30:27

The business owner has avoided any penalties this time

0:30:270:30:30

but it's unlikely he'll fall off Simon's radar any time soon.

0:30:300:30:34

It's taken three visits to get this done

0:30:340:30:36

and really, I thought it could have been done in two.

0:30:360:30:39

Obviously we're really busy and you hope when you tell somebody,

0:30:390:30:42

when you come back a week later things will be right,

0:30:420:30:45

and I said to him I wasn't happy last week, so I thought, you know,

0:30:450:30:48

just need to push him along, really, and get it done

0:30:480:30:50

and he's obviously done that now and I'm really pleased.

0:30:500:30:53

Local councils across the country have a legal obligation

0:31:050:31:09

to collect our household waste, but waste dumped in communal areas

0:31:090:31:13

is not necessarily the council's responsibility.

0:31:130:31:17

These communal passage areas

0:31:170:31:20

and communal courtyards, there is a lot of confusion with that.

0:31:200:31:24

The council don't own or maintain them

0:31:240:31:27

so anything that happens there

0:31:270:31:29

is basically a responsibility of the people that live there.

0:31:290:31:33

People that actually live there have to bite the bullet

0:31:330:31:36

and take the responsibility for the area.

0:31:360:31:39

One Tameside resident trying to take responsibility for the area

0:31:390:31:43

behind his house is Gerry Webb.

0:31:430:31:46

His alleyway has become a dumping ground for local fly tippers.

0:31:460:31:50

I've lived in this property for 25 years

0:31:500:31:53

and obviously it's been a nice neighbourhood.

0:31:530:31:56

For the past couple of years, it's been totally getting out of hand.

0:31:560:31:59

Last year, October, I complained to the council

0:32:010:32:04

about fly tipping. They said it was being investigated.

0:32:040:32:09

They did clear it up, mind you,

0:32:090:32:12

and it's all started again.

0:32:120:32:14

I don't think the people who put the rubbish there have got any shame

0:32:140:32:18

whatsoever, because otherwise they wouldn't have put it there.

0:32:180:32:21

I'm really stressed out with this situation

0:32:210:32:24

because it's outside the side of my front door.

0:32:240:32:26

Gerry's been calling the council for help

0:32:270:32:30

because the rubbish isn't just a nuisance - it's also dangerous.

0:32:300:32:34

Now, all it takes is one child who plays in the community

0:32:350:32:39

in the area to fall on that and they could really injure themselves.

0:32:390:32:43

It all started out with three mattresses.

0:32:430:32:47

Now, it's building up

0:32:470:32:49

and the reason I will not move it is because it's creating more space

0:32:490:32:54

for the people to dump more rubbish, so I'm leaving it as it is.

0:32:540:32:58

We've got to make this a safer place.

0:32:580:33:01

This is a breeding ground for rats.

0:33:010:33:04

In 2013, local authorities in England dealt with over

0:33:050:33:09

700,000 incidents of fly tipping.

0:33:090:33:12

Over two-thirds of these

0:33:120:33:13

involved household waste.

0:33:130:33:15

The cost of clearance to us taxpayers was £36 million.

0:33:150:33:19

To try and encourage the public to keep their streets waste-free,

0:33:240:33:28

Tameside, like many other local councils, is promoting

0:33:280:33:31

a Clean and Safe initiative.

0:33:310:33:33

And today, Gerry's street is getting cleaned up

0:33:330:33:36

because the council agree the extent of the fly tipping

0:33:360:33:40

poses a risk to the public's health and safety.

0:33:400:33:43

Louise is wrapped up and ready for action.

0:33:430:33:45

Today is the day

0:33:460:33:48

that we will provide a bin wagon to take the rubbish away.

0:33:480:33:53

We've also provided tools, wheelbarrows, spades,

0:33:530:33:57

all sorts of tools on a temporary borrow basis,

0:33:570:34:02

and we've also got some of our Clean and Safe neighbourhood officers here

0:34:020:34:07

to physically help out, along with the volunteers

0:34:070:34:10

and we're going to try and clean the area up.

0:34:100:34:13

But to make today's initiative successful,

0:34:140:34:16

Louise, Gerry and the council team need to get other residents to help.

0:34:160:34:21

Nobody on this street.

0:34:210:34:22

We've been round the other side. They can't help neither.

0:34:240:34:27

What a disappointment.

0:34:270:34:29

Nobody's answering the door and nobody wants to come out.

0:34:290:34:32

I spoke to a lot of people about this decision

0:34:320:34:36

and they all said, "Yeah, we'll help,"

0:34:360:34:38

and these are the people, you can't even get in.

0:34:380:34:40

They've all had the letter, they've all had the leaflet,

0:34:400:34:43

-they've all had the door knock and nobody's interested.

-No.

0:34:430:34:46

It looks like you're it! And us.

0:34:460:34:49

Well, I'm glad you're here anyway.

0:34:490:34:51

Well, how can I put this?

0:34:510:34:53

Some people might be at work but for those people who are not working,

0:34:530:34:58

who are not coming out, I feel very disappointed.

0:34:580:35:02

It's their community, it's their area,

0:35:020:35:04

they're prepared to do nothing about it.

0:35:040:35:07

So I feel a bit dejected, in a sense.

0:35:080:35:10

Got to be careful!

0:35:100:35:12

I think some community spirit definitely has been lost

0:35:140:35:17

in areas like that. I think people are more insular now.

0:35:170:35:21

They used to... Nice weather, they'd all be out on the doorsteps

0:35:210:35:26

and chatting, and you used to go up and down there and you'd see

0:35:260:35:30

perhaps elderly residents with a kitchen chair on the front step

0:35:300:35:34

and they'd be out and they'd talk to the kids

0:35:340:35:38

and the kids would play in the street

0:35:380:35:40

and that sort of thing, and over the years, I've seen that change.

0:35:400:35:44

With a poor turnout from the locals so far, Louise presses on.

0:35:460:35:50

It could be tater hash or it could be poo. I'm not sure.

0:35:540:35:57

It's certainly not recyclable plastic and glass!

0:35:570:35:59

All of us, myself included, we are flogging

0:36:010:36:03

and nobody even offered us a cup of tea because, you know,

0:36:030:36:06

they'd sort of, "Oh, I'm glad to see you're doing something AT LAST."

0:36:060:36:10

So, hang on, it's been done several times.

0:36:100:36:13

And last time I checked, nobody from Tameside Council came round

0:36:130:36:17

dumping mattresses, you know, we're doing our bit

0:36:170:36:20

where we don't even need to,

0:36:200:36:22

so we just need people to help themselves a little bit.

0:36:220:36:25

After an hour of graft,

0:36:270:36:29

two of Gerry's neighbours arrive and offer their services.

0:36:290:36:32

-They were struggling to get out of the house.

-It's the first time

0:36:320:36:36

-the gate's been opened since they moved in because of this.

-Yeah.

0:36:360:36:39

We do appreciate them coming out, particularly as new residents.

0:36:390:36:43

They want where they live to be nice.

0:36:430:36:46

And neighbours just meeting each other, that's a good thing,

0:36:460:36:49

that's a good start for a community project, isn't it?

0:36:490:36:52

Well, it's our backs, pure and simple, that's it,

0:36:520:36:56

and it needs to be somewhere nice, if they have grandchildren,

0:36:560:36:59

be nice for them to have somewhere nice in the summer that we could all

0:36:590:37:02

sit out with the neighbours

0:37:020:37:03

rather than just sitting in your own garden.

0:37:030:37:05

There's not a lot of community spirit around at all

0:37:050:37:08

anywhere any more, definitely not.

0:37:080:37:11

This would not have been like this when I was a little girl.

0:37:110:37:14

You really had to admire the residents that did help.

0:37:140:37:17

They really got stuck in, because they want it to be better.

0:37:170:37:21

With the communal area finally clear,

0:37:240:37:26

Gerry's got rid of his unwanted rubbish

0:37:260:37:28

and made some new friends along the way.

0:37:280:37:30

Very grateful and very happy with the result,

0:37:320:37:35

and a lovely set of people.

0:37:350:37:37

Everybody's mucked in, everybody's done their part

0:37:370:37:41

and you can't ask for no more, you can't ask for no more.

0:37:410:37:44

Like all local councils, Tameside do much more than collect our rubbish.

0:37:560:38:00

Council officers Carl Jones and Tracy Jones Lacy

0:38:030:38:06

are on a mission to protect the public from the hidden dangers

0:38:060:38:09

of counterfeit alcohol and tobacco.

0:38:090:38:12

So what we're going to do Is split up into two teams,

0:38:120:38:14

so it needs to be a TSO and a police officer,

0:38:140:38:17

and then we'll start in the opposite direction and work in the middle.

0:38:170:38:21

Smuggled vodka has already been found in one store

0:38:210:38:25

but criminals intent on selling illicit and illegal booze

0:38:250:38:29

and tobacco go to extreme lengths to hide their goods,

0:38:290:38:32

so Tracey and Carl have enlisted a very special weapon to sniff it out.

0:38:320:38:36

Ozzie is a rescue dog.

0:38:380:38:39

We got him about eight-months-old.

0:38:390:38:42

He's now three-years-old.

0:38:420:38:45

He's one of our more experienced tobacco dogs,

0:38:450:38:48

finds very well concealed tobacco.

0:38:480:38:50

Yeah, and he was in training for about four months

0:38:520:38:55

and then since then, yeah, he's been on searches

0:38:550:38:59

with government agencies, doing really well.

0:38:590:39:03

On Ozzie, Carl and Tracey's hit list is a shop

0:39:030:39:06

that has a history of selling counterfeit tobacco.

0:39:060:39:09

OK, is there any tobacco on the premises?

0:39:090:39:11

I know you've got some there.

0:39:110:39:13

-Is there any other cigarettes or tobacco on the premises?

-No.

-OK.

0:39:130:39:17

What we'd like to do is shut the shop for ten minutes

0:39:170:39:20

while the dog has a look around. OK.

0:39:200:39:22

We do find that as time's gone on, they get more and more devious.

0:39:220:39:26

For example, we'll find tobacco,

0:39:260:39:27

we'll find it hidden in the footboards of shelving,

0:39:270:39:30

inside children's sweets, inside boxes of crisps.

0:39:300:39:34

'We have a good look around the shop

0:39:340:39:35

'and if there's a cellar, we go into the cellar.

0:39:350:39:37

'We recently found £20,000 of illicit alcohol

0:39:370:39:40

'in a concealed cellar.'

0:39:400:39:41

He was wholesaling to other traders in the area.

0:39:410:39:44

With lethal drugs like arsenic

0:39:470:39:48

and formaldehyde found in illegal packets, getting caught

0:39:480:39:52

selling counterfeit tobacco could lead to ten years in prison.

0:39:520:39:55

Tracy.

0:39:570:39:58

-Hey. Well done.

-Well done.

0:40:010:40:03

Well done, Ozzie.

0:40:030:40:05

There we go.

0:40:060:40:08

With the stash found, Tracy leads the questioning.

0:40:100:40:13

-Do you have to hide it?

-No.

-Why? Why would it be under there, then?

0:40:140:40:18

-I keep it there.

-Why?

0:40:180:40:20

-So I just keep it there.

-Why?

0:40:200:40:22

-Why would you keep it concealed?

-Because it's my personal smoke.

0:40:240:40:28

-So that's why.

-Right, well, I'm seizing it, OK?

0:40:280:40:33

-I'm seizing it.

-It's personal.

0:40:330:40:34

You'd have to prove that it's personal,

0:40:340:40:36

that you got a receipt for it from a legitimate source, OK?

0:40:360:40:40

-All right.

-So have you got a receipt

0:40:400:40:42

-from the person that you bought it from?

-I bought it from one guy.

0:40:420:40:45

What I am going to do is have it tested

0:40:450:40:47

to see if it's counterfeit, OK?

0:40:470:40:50

If it is, then you may be charged,

0:40:500:40:53

you'll be interviewed for possessing and possibly selling.

0:40:530:40:58

A person who breaks the law, it could be anybody.

0:40:580:41:01

I've had, "I didn't know", "I'm selling it on behalf of a friend",

0:41:010:41:06

"I didn't even know that false ceiling was there." We have it all.

0:41:060:41:10

You kind of take everybody's comments with a pinch of salt,

0:41:100:41:15

unfortunately. You become very cynical in this job.

0:41:150:41:18

But Tracy doesn't just rely on experience to decide

0:41:180:41:21

what's right and what's wrong.

0:41:210:41:23

What the companies do,

0:41:230:41:25

they install on the strip here

0:41:250:41:29

something very, very secret, which we don't know about,

0:41:290:41:32

which is detected by this machine

0:41:320:41:34

and it would tell us if it's genuine or not.

0:41:340:41:37

If it's a genuine product, it would turn green.

0:41:370:41:39

If it's a non-genuine product, it would turn red,

0:41:410:41:44

so this gives me enough suspicion now to seize it.

0:41:440:41:48

With illicit vodka and counterfeit tobacco seized,

0:41:490:41:53

hundreds of pounds' worth of potentially lethal goods

0:41:530:41:55

have been removed from the streets.

0:41:550:41:58

It's been a good day for Tracy, Carl, and even Ozzie.

0:41:580:42:01

And it's not just this triumphant trio celebrating today.

0:42:040:42:07

-There's your paperwork.

-Thank you very much.

0:42:070:42:09

Local council heroes up and down the country

0:42:090:42:12

have been fighting for our cash...

0:42:120:42:14

It could be tater hash or it could be poo. I'm not sure.

0:42:140:42:17

But it's certainly not recyclable plastic and glass!

0:42:170:42:20

..and making sure we're safe from hidden germs.

0:42:200:42:23

I'm generous with my fives today.

0:42:230:42:25

But wrongdoers intent on blighting our communities are a constant

0:42:250:42:28

threat, so it's good to know that officers like Tracy are ready

0:42:280:42:32

to respond whenever we call the council.

0:42:320:42:34

If you're a good guy and you're legitimate,

0:42:340:42:40

then yeah, we're the good guys.

0:42:400:42:42

If you're doing something wrong, kind of watch out,

0:42:420:42:44

because eventually we'll find you.

0:42:440:42:46

The store selling illicit vodka was issued with a written warning

0:42:510:42:54

and, after fixing its CCTV, had its licence returned.

0:42:540:42:58

The amount of counterfeit tobacco Ozzie found was not enough

0:42:590:43:02

to indicate non-personal use.

0:43:020:43:05

The man received a written warning about selling non-duty-paid tobacco.

0:43:050:43:09

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.


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