Episode 2 Call the Council


Episode 2

Series following council officers. Wigan's frontline council officers hit the heights to tame dangerous trees, and tackle a feathered foe - pigeons.


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Transcript


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From grappling with our daily grind...

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Why have they suddenly decided to dump all this waste

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in other people's bins?

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To unearthing the extraordinary...

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Wow, it's Wigan's gold mask.

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..battling those blighting the streets...

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It's not acceptable, really.

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..bringing the community together...

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-Hi.

-Hi.

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..and being on hand in troubled times.

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I've got kids. We can't even open the bedroom windows

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because of the noise. It's affecting everything - sleep.

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You know, just day-to-day living, really.

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In this series we follow front-line staff

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working for Wigan Council in Greater Manchester.

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I speak to the waste.

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I say to it, "Talk to me. How have you got here?"

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Like council officers across the country,

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they're keeping us free from harm...

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You're looking at really serious injury or possibly death.

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..stepping in to try and solve our problems...

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I mean, it's constant.

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You'll be told today that we will be serving notice.

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..and responding to residents...

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Much appreciate what you're doing, anyway.

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..when they...

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-What was the enquiry today?

-..Call The Council.

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Coming up...

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Council officers hit new heights to tame dangerous trees...

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..come face-to-face with some feathered foes...

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These things are called flying rats to pest control.

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They poo as they fly.

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..and step in when residents get revved-up about a rusty van.

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The steering column's been hacked to pieces.

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It's full of junk.

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It's not in great nick.

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Wigan lies 20 miles west of Manchester.

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The borough is home to over 300,000 people.

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The backbone of the community is the council.

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Good afternoon, Wigan Council, Colin Evans.

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Its aim is to support and improve the lives of everyone

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that lives here.

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Public Protection Officer Colin Evans has

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worked for Wigan Council for 33 years

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but shows no sign of tiring in his pursuit of wrongdoers.

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'I'm quite persistent when I'm doing my job.

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'There's very little will stop me.'

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Keeps me fit, this job, that's for sure.

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'I climb a wall, jump over.'

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I get on my hands and knees and have a look under a gate

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to see if I can see what's going on.

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As long as I get there,

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I don't care what means it is.

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As long as it's legal, I will do it.

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It gives me a buzz and I feel good knowing that I've

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helped somebody out they're happy with what I've done.

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Colin and his public protection partner Barry Pilkington

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are well-versed in dealing with the humans

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who might like their community,

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but today's enemy is of the feathered variety - pigeons.

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Residents have called the council

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because one of the neighbours is feeding pigeons

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and they're fed up with the proliferation of pigeon poo.

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The main problem is they're roosting on

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the gutters and window ledges, etc. There's foul blowing all over there.

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They're blocking gutters, staining the windowsills,

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staining the yards and they're having to clean the yards

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before they can let the children out playing.

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It's not very nice.

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These things are called flying rats in pest control.

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They poo as they fly.

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They are classed as pests.

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The council is entitled to legally dispose of those birds.

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So we're going to observe the gentleman

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hopefully feeding the birds tonight,

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we'll go and have a word with him and see if we can put a stop to it.

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Pigeons are classed as pests for good reasons.

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They carry a number of potentially harmful diseases

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including salmonella

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and tuberculosis.

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Added to this, the waste from pigeons

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and their feed attracts other vermin like mice and rats.

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But it's the mess from these pigeons' droppings that Barry's

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most concerned about today.

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These birds are used to being fed. They're no fools.

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There's a free meal in for them.

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They're probably coming from the town centre and local district

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to come here and they can get as much food

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within two or three minutes than they will get scavenging

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for most of the day.

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If you look over here, we have a lady there with her washing.

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Pigeon fouling on the washing is something that we can't have.

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Colin and Barry wait in the alley,

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hoping to catch the feeder with grain in hand.

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We're waiting now for the gentleman to come out

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and to start feeding the birds.

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Obviously, if we catch him in the act

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then Colin can have a quiet word with him,

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make him aware that his actions are actually affecting other people.

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As you can see, the amount of birds there...

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It's just out of control.

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It's got to stop.

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Coming up...

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Colin hits the wall to catch a glimpse of the mystery bird feeder.

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He's opened the back door, thrown the food out

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and shut the door again.

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From pests to partygoers -

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local councils are charged with keeping our streets safe,

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whether it's pigeons or people causing the problem.

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Council Licensing Enforcement Officer Ian Whistlecroft

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oversees the licensing of bars and nightclubs in Wigan.

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He ensures they uphold the conditions placed on them,

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making them safe places to have fun.

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In the UK, night-focused businesses are the fifth biggest industry,

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with a yearly turnover of £66 billion...

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..providing jobs and bolstering the economy of towns

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and cities across the country.

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But this night-time economy can bring with it nuisance behaviour

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that needs to be managed.

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Today, Ian's heading for a secret location underneath the town hall.

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Hi, it's Ian from licensing.

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There's some important video footage he needs to take a look at.

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This is the nerve centre of Wigan Council's CCTV operation,

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run in partnership with the police.

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Across the borough, high-powered cameras keep

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a watchful eye on the streets, helping to prevent crime.

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-TANNOY:

-You are being recorded by Wigan Council CCTV control.

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Your behaviour is causing a disturbance.

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Staff monitor the pictures 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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The staff in here will tell you I live in here.

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Most of the complaints I can box off or investigate quite easily

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by just looking at the cameras because the town

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has a really good system.

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There are estimated to be six million CCTV cameras

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operating nationwide.

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And on average we are caught on camera 70 times a day.

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Wigan Council has 550 cameras,

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revealing any problems on the streets of the borough day or night.

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Ian's come to the control room to take a look at a video recorded

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outside a local nightclub on a recent bank holiday Monday.

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It's quarter to nine on a Monday morning.

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This council staff are cleaning from the night before

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and you've got all these people then

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who have just come out the club.

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And a complaint's come in, basically,

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because it seems to be a recurring feature now

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that street cleaners are encountering problems

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every time there's a bank holiday.

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Last bank holiday morning, street cleaner Jim Angeleto was hindered

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whilst doing his job, when threatened by rowdy revellers.

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The bloke came over to me and tried opening the window.

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Next minute he's at the side window.

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He called me everything under the sun.

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They lie down in front of you.

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They put their feet out to pretend to have their shoes cleaned,

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but it's a machine.

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If they put it in too hard, they will have a hand or a leg cut-off.

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It's not very nice for anybody, really.

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I hope the council will sort it out.

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Bank holidays tend to be worse.

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On these days, the club applies to the council for an extended licence

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that allows them to stay open an extra two hours

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until eight in the morning.

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But if Jim and his fellow street cleaners have problems

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cleaning or are put in danger again,

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Ian could recommend that the council withdraw this special licence.

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We've got one character now...

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Two lads down in front of the road sweeper,

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thinking it's a jolly jape.

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All it needs is the driver to get really fed up

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and get out and confront that idiot

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and the next thing, it could all just blow up.

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It's just stupidity.

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Now Ian's seen the evidence,

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he'll be keeping a close eye on the club.

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We'll have a look again at the next bank holiday and see

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whether it's the same pattern.

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If it is the same pattern,

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then obviously something will have to be done with it

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on a more official footing then.

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It's not acceptable, really.

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Coming up...

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Ian hits the street to hear firsthand the problems

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the council's cleaners face.

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There's enough to get the management in and speak to them

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and see what the crack is, really.

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-Eight o'clock on a Monday morning.

-HE EXHALES

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In towns and cities across the country,

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trees provide a much-needed break from the urban environment.

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But nature has a habit of overflowing and needing to be

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trimmed back, which is why, like councils everywhere,

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Wigan Council has a dedicated team to look after its green spaces.

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Mark is the leader of the council's team of tree surgeons.

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They keep Wigan's trees healthy by pruning and trimming

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and chopping down diseased or dangerous trees.

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Mark has worked for the council since he was a teenager.

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I was 15 and I was walking through a local woodland on a Sunday afternoon

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on my way to church, if you can believe it...

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There were two guys up a huge tree.

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I just looked at it... I stopped and watched them

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taking this tree down and thought,

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"I'd love to do that."

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When I left school I got a job cutting the grass

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and then a job became vacant on the tree gang and I applied for it.

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As they say, the rest is history.

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I've been enjoying it for the last 31 plus years.

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Mark's working day is organised back at the council's HQ

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by Jill Harrison.

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Generally when you see council men pruning trees in Wigan,

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that's me - I'm behind that.

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Tree expert Jill decides whether a tree has got out of control

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and whether she needs to send in Mark.

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Residents have called the council about a number of nuisance

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trees and Jill is on her way to investigate.

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Trees are a very emotional subject.

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People seem to either love them or hate them.

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Whatever you do... Sometimes whatever you do,

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it's not quite the right route.

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It's all about compromise, really.

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Wigan Council maintains over 100,000 trees,

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covering an area of 187 square kilometres

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in parks, woodland and council house gardens.

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The council tries to conserve its stock of trees

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and only those deemed dangerous,

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diseased or dying

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are considered for the chop.

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Jill's meeting Theresa Phillips, who helps manage council

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properties and has the details of the troublesome trees.

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Hi, you all right, yeah?

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-Which one are we looking at first?

-This one.

-Right.

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First on Jill's list is a call from a resident

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complaining about the work the council has done on a tree

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in his garden. They've sprayed the tree to stop

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new seedlings sprouting, but he's still not happy.

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It's cost me over £500 to get this treated

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and it's just dying every time through that thing.

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Stephen is sick of his sycamore.

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He believes its roots and seedlings are destroying his lawn

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and he wants it chopping down.

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I dug it all up once and dug all the roots out

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because there was little trees growing here.

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I've had... See one of them that's growing at the side now?

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These here. All these here, these are all like little trees coming up.

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-Yeah.

-I've cut all them down.

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All you did last time... You came and sprayed it

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-and it rained about five minutes after you did it.

-Right.

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Now, look at it, it's just died all over again.

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As it's council policy to only chop down diseased or dangerous

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trees on council land, Jill can't authorise

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Steven's tree to be felled.

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But she does have a solution.

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Quite often, obviously, we can't take a tree down

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just because somebody wants it down.

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We have to look into all the other possibilities.

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If we do a bit of pruning, it would have less of a seedling problem.

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So we'll see if you can prune it and see if that works for him.

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Still to come...

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A tree is leaning dangerously against a fence,

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causing a resident concern for her child's safety.

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I'm thinking, the tree and the fence is going to go.

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You just never know, do you?

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Especially when you've got a little one.

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Across town, Colin Evans is dealing with a complaint against

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a mystery resident who is feeding pigeons at the back of his home.

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The pigeons are arriving en masse for a free supper

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and Colin wants it to stop.

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The main problem is, they're roosting on the gutters

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and window ledges, etc, and there's foul going all over there.

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It's just not very nice.

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Colin and his colleague Barry are patiently

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waiting in the hope of catching the phantom feeder red-handed.

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But Colin thinks he's been rumbled.

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It could well be he's seen me out the window

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and he's keeping a low profile.

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They decide enough is enough and make their move.

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There is some food on the floor, there's not a lot.

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Breadcrumbs, he's feeding.

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Under their noses, the phantom feeder has sneaked into his yard

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and scattered some bird feed.

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Hello?

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Yeah, he's opened the back door, thrown the food out

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and he's shut the door again.

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So I shall call round there and knock on his door and ask him.

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Colin has seen enough.

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It's time to confront the pigeon fancier.

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-Hello, sir. Environmental health at Wigan Council.

-Sorry?

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Environmental health at Wigan Council.

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I'm Colin Evans and this is my colleague Barry Pilkington.

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-Yes.

-We've come about you feeding the pigeons in the back yard.

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-Oh, yes, yeah.

-You can't do that.

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You're causing a lot of nuisance to all the neighbours.

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The birds are fouling everywhere.

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The bird man of Wigan is in fact octogenarian Neville Pomfret.

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I understand that people are complaining...

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It's a mess. Not everybody likes it.

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You can't feed them in a built-up area like this.

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Can I not finish off with the food that I've got?

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-How much have you got?

-Well, I've got...

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What day is it today?

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Colin and Barry agree to give Neville a week's grace to finish

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his supply of bird feed.

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-Well, I'll come back in a week's time...

-Right.

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..and we'll see what's happening.

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-Right, I'm sorry to have caused a problem.

-Not a problem

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Thanks very much for your time. Cheers, bye.

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It's a result for Colin and Barry,

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but a sad day for Neville.

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We've got an elderly gentleman, we don't want to frighten him

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but we've got to get our point across.

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We want to be firm, we want to be assertive

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but we don't want to cause any distress.

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Neville has reluctantly agreed to stop feeding the birds,

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but he's worried about his feathered friends.

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There are times when I feel like I wish I hadn't started feeding them

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because they've started to rely on me now, you know,

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after all these years.

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I put water out for them as well, of course.

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Anyway, it's just the difference between people.

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Some people treat them as vermin, so that's that.

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You just have to watch they don't do anything on your head.

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That's why I've got this cap on.

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He, sort of, reluctantly agrees it's an issue.

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Now, he says he's going to stop feeding them but he's asked...

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He's still got some left, which he says is going to last him

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until the end of the week - the food.

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I've agreed that he can feed them for the rest of this week.

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I am really upset about it, but what can I do?

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I can't afford to let them take me to court to put

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an ASBO on me, or something like that.

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I might even go to jail, you know, if I keep...

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If I keep doing it, so...

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I've got enough on my mind,

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with only just having just lost my wife as well. I just don't...

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It's knocked all the fight out of me, really.

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It's going to be hard for him.

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I've a lot of sympathy, you know what I mean?

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But ultimately I've got to think of the greater...

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Of the rest of the residents round here.

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Coming up...

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Colin returns to Pigeon Alley to make sure the bird feeder

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has conceded defeat.

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I'm not letting it go.

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I'm going to have a word with the chappy again.

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Be it fly-tipped waste, dropped litter

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or grubby graffiti, our local councils are charged

0:18:270:18:30

with keeping our communities free

0:18:300:18:33

from anything unsightly and antisocial.

0:18:330:18:36

When residents in Wigan complain about nuisance

0:18:360:18:38

in their neighbourhood, Pete Rutter investigates.

0:18:380:18:42

I'm a Safer Environment Officer,

0:18:420:18:44

which deals with predominantly antisocial behaviour.

0:18:440:18:47

My job comes with a large remit.

0:18:470:18:50

You're talking neighbour nuisance, noise enquiries,

0:18:500:18:52

abandoned vehicles, responsible dog ownership, that kind of thing.

0:18:520:18:57

I deal with anything that has cause, or is likely to cause,

0:18:570:19:00

harassment, alarm or distress.

0:19:000:19:03

Residents have called the council about an abandoned truck.

0:19:030:19:07

Pete's on the case.

0:19:070:19:09

We've had a report there's been an abandoned vehicle

0:19:100:19:13

over on Scot Lane.

0:19:130:19:16

It's been there for a number of weeks.

0:19:160:19:19

I'm sure there must be some paper trail of who owns the vehicle.

0:19:190:19:21

I'm going to go and take some photographs of it.

0:19:210:19:24

Possibly it's somebody in the area - it's usually the case.

0:19:250:19:28

But if I can identify them, I can write to them.

0:19:280:19:31

If I can't, I'll just have to put a notice on the vehicle...

0:19:310:19:33

A 15 day notice with intent to remove.

0:19:330:19:36

If it's not removed within that period...

0:19:360:19:39

You usually find that it'll just magically vanish

0:19:390:19:42

once the notice goes on.

0:19:420:19:44

The truck isn't hard to spot.

0:19:460:19:48

Judging by the weeds growing on it, it's been here a long time.

0:19:480:19:52

Pete speaks to the nearby garage to find out what they know.

0:19:540:19:58

-No idea whose this van is, do you, mate?

-...Seven or eight months.

0:19:580:20:01

Seven or eight months, has it?

0:20:010:20:03

That's eight months that the residents

0:20:030:20:06

have been faced with this eyesore.

0:20:060:20:08

The steering column's been hacked to pieces.

0:20:080:20:11

It's full of junk.

0:20:110:20:12

It's not in great nick.

0:20:150:20:16

So I'll just take some photos.

0:20:160:20:19

The photos could help identify the owner,

0:20:190:20:22

but if the truck's already been here for months, there's a good chance

0:20:220:20:26

it's just been dumped and left for somebody else to deal with.

0:20:260:20:29

Not only do abandoned vehicles look unsightly,

0:20:320:20:35

but they encourage vandalism and have the potential to catch fire.

0:20:350:20:39

Abandoning a vehicle is a criminal offence,

0:20:410:20:44

carrying a potential three-month prison sentence

0:20:440:20:48

and a £2,500 fine.

0:20:480:20:49

Six days later, Pete returns to the vehicle to see if it's been claimed.

0:20:520:20:57

It doesn't seem like anyone's attended to it

0:20:570:20:59

since we were last here.

0:20:590:21:02

Pete's checked with the police and DVLA,

0:21:030:21:06

but can't trace the owner.

0:21:060:21:08

So he sticks on a notice, giving whoever owns it 15 days to shift it.

0:21:080:21:13

If no-one comes forward in that time, Pete has the power to sell

0:21:150:21:19

the truck or send it to the scrapyard,

0:21:190:21:22

sealing its fate in the crusher.

0:21:220:21:24

That's secure there, now.

0:21:240:21:26

It's laminated, so it'll protect it from the weather.

0:21:260:21:29

I'll just take a photograph of it

0:21:290:21:31

and then I can attach it to the file.

0:21:310:21:34

Coming up - the abandoned truck mystery gets murkier.

0:21:340:21:38

It's moved about 6-8 feet further back.

0:21:380:21:40

Somebody's been in it because they've taken the notice

0:21:400:21:43

I put on the front and they've placed it inside.

0:21:430:21:45

So somebody's been out to it, read it and still done nothing about it.

0:21:450:21:49

As the council tax we pay goes towards the employment of over

0:21:560:21:59

two million council officers across the UK,

0:21:590:22:03

we all have an opinion on the job they do.

0:22:030:22:06

The council are mainly penpushers, in my view.

0:22:060:22:09

They don't keep in contact with the real world.

0:22:090:22:12

I think council workers do a really good job, the majority of the time.

0:22:120:22:15

If you phone up the council, you get nowhere.

0:22:150:22:18

"Press button, press button, press button, press button" -

0:22:180:22:20

will be the music.

0:22:200:22:22

All at the end of it, when you get to about press button number ten,

0:22:220:22:25

it cuts off.

0:22:250:22:27

Sometimes the work of council officers goes unnoticed.

0:22:300:22:34

It's seven o'clock in the morning on a bank holiday Monday.

0:22:340:22:38

Many of the borough's residents are enjoying a lie-in.

0:22:380:22:41

Licensing Enforcement Officer Ian Whistlecroft isn't so lucky.

0:22:450:22:49

He's back in the CCTV room,

0:22:500:22:53

monitoring the goings-on outside a town centre nightclub.

0:22:530:22:56

It's a fact-finding little exercise and evidence gathering

0:22:560:23:00

to see whether it is as bad as reported on the first bank holiday.

0:23:000:23:04

At the moment, it's all hunky-dory

0:23:040:23:07

because I think most people are still inside.

0:23:070:23:10

My colleagues from CCTV here tell me

0:23:100:23:12

that at half past six this morning they were queueing to get in.

0:23:120:23:15

-INTERVIEWER:

-What were you doing at half past six this morning?

0:23:150:23:18

I think I was in the land of Nod somewhere.

0:23:180:23:21

I certainly wasn't queueing up to get into a nightclub.

0:23:210:23:24

Last time the club had an extended licence,

0:23:240:23:27

Wigan street cleaners felt threatened by rowdy revellers.

0:23:270:23:31

A bloke came over to me and tried opening the window.

0:23:310:23:34

The next minute, he's at the side window and called me

0:23:340:23:37

everything under the sun.

0:23:370:23:39

It's not very nice for anybody, really.

0:23:390:23:42

Outside the nightclub, people are starting to leave

0:23:430:23:46

and Jim's road sweeper has just turned the corner into the street.

0:23:460:23:50

It doesn't take long for trouble to break out

0:23:520:23:55

as Ian spots a drunken reveller climbing on the back of Jim's wagon.

0:23:550:23:59

He's jumping on back of thing, there.

0:23:590:24:02

See what I mean?

0:24:020:24:05

Thankfully, the doorman reacted very quickly

0:24:060:24:08

to the idiot who jumped on his wagon.

0:24:080:24:11

He knocked him off.

0:24:110:24:13

Ian's seen enough.

0:24:130:24:15

Shall we have a bumble out?

0:24:160:24:18

It's time for him to hit the streets to find out more.

0:24:180:24:21

I'm going to have a little mooch about to see what's happening.

0:24:220:24:26

We'll see if them council workers are OK

0:24:260:24:29

and carry out some observations actually on the street.

0:24:290:24:32

He goes to talk to Jim - the street cleaner who reported the problem.

0:24:350:24:39

Hi, I'm Ian from licensing department at the local council.

0:24:390:24:43

We've just seen one idiot jump on the back here.

0:24:430:24:46

He knocked the door and said, "Give us a lift."

0:24:460:24:49

I said, "No." When I first met them when I went around the corner,

0:24:490:24:52

the bloke knocked on the window and goes,

0:24:520:24:54

"Have you got a fag?" I said, "No,"

0:24:540:24:56

and he just punched us through the window.

0:24:560:24:59

The other thing he was doing was handling the brushes.

0:24:590:25:02

If they're messing about on your machine and they're bladdered,

0:25:020:25:05

it's an accident waiting to happen, isn't it, really?

0:25:050:25:08

That's spinning round and I don't know how many revs that goes.

0:25:080:25:10

-It seemed like a good idea at the time.

-Yeah!

0:25:100:25:13

Nice meeting you. Cheers, pal.

0:25:130:25:14

It's been an eventful bank holiday morning.

0:25:170:25:20

Ian now has enough evidence to take matters further

0:25:200:25:23

with the owners of the club.

0:25:230:25:24

You've got people coming out with alcohol, bottles

0:25:260:25:29

and obviously we have council workers being prevented

0:25:290:25:33

from carrying out their jobs as well.

0:25:330:25:35

So there's enough to get the management in and speak to them

0:25:350:25:38

and see what the crack is, really.

0:25:380:25:40

-Eight o'clock on a Monday morning.

-HE EXHALES

0:25:400:25:42

A week later and Ian has now gathered the evidence

0:25:490:25:53

he needs to meet club owner Matt and take him to task.

0:25:530:25:56

-Hi, Matt.

-Hiya, you all right?

0:25:560:25:58

Yeah, fine, thank you.

0:25:580:26:00

We've had quite a few issues with your patrons leaving

0:26:000:26:02

the premise causing quite a few problems.

0:26:020:26:05

Council cleaners, who were on duty at that time,

0:26:050:26:07

have been getting hassle off punters coming out

0:26:070:26:09

and a couple of them have had threats made to them.

0:26:090:26:12

We've had one chap who was on the back of the machine

0:26:120:26:16

riding it like a rodeo bronco.

0:26:160:26:18

Ian takes Matt through the issues that the council have with

0:26:190:26:22

the club's extended licence.

0:26:220:26:24

Matt has some ideas about how to limit any potential problems.

0:26:240:26:28

Put into place some procedure in terms of

0:26:280:26:30

when the DJ finishes his slot, the music goes off,

0:26:300:26:33

we're asking punters to leave the premises, you know,

0:26:330:26:36

respectively, quietly.

0:26:360:26:38

We also get a member of staff, they issue lollipops

0:26:380:26:42

and a free bottle of water for when people are leaving,

0:26:420:26:44

so we feel that, kind of, will give them something to do

0:26:440:26:46

as they're leaving. You know, stick a lollipop in their mouth.

0:26:460:26:50

It keep them quiet.

0:26:500:26:51

Bit of a drink of water just to, obviously,

0:26:510:26:53

help them disperse a lot more quickly.

0:26:530:26:55

OK, Matt, thank you.

0:26:550:26:57

It's been a positive meeting, but Ian will keep an eye on the club.

0:26:570:27:01

-I'll leave you to crack on.

-Thank you very much.

-Cheers now.

0:27:010:27:04

He can ask for Matt's licence to be reviewed and possibly revoked

0:27:040:27:07

if he doesn't stay true to his word.

0:27:070:27:09

He's been very receptive, but let's just see if he delivers now.

0:27:090:27:13

It's not going to go away, it's going to be monitored

0:27:130:27:15

to see whether things do improve because if they don't,

0:27:150:27:18

then, unfortunately, it will go to the next stage.

0:27:180:27:21

They have a job to do and I can fully appreciate that.

0:27:210:27:23

We have a business to run.

0:27:230:27:24

It doesn't paint us in a good light.

0:27:240:27:26

It doesn't paint the night-time economy in a good light,

0:27:260:27:29

so, obviously, we need to address those concerns,

0:27:290:27:31

we need to address them quickly, we need to ensure that, obviously,

0:27:310:27:34

when people leave the premises, they do so in an orderly fashion.

0:27:340:27:38

It's all about public safety. We want people to go into these venues,

0:27:380:27:41

have a good time and get home safely.

0:27:410:27:43

So, they wake up the next day saying they've had a cracking night out.

0:27:430:27:46

That's why we're there, really.

0:27:460:27:48

We're not going to go away.

0:27:480:27:49

We'll keep on working and try our best to make it a safer place.

0:27:490:27:52

Coming up, will Ian's intervention make a difference

0:27:560:27:59

to street cleaner Jim's morning shift?

0:27:590:28:01

Colin Evans has been called to stop Neville Pomfrett -

0:28:100:28:13

the bird man of Wigan - from feeding nearly 100 pigeons

0:28:130:28:17

that roost on the roofs of the terraced houses,

0:28:170:28:19

causing mess and distress.

0:28:190:28:21

Colin has told Neville to finish his seed supply and then stop for good.

0:28:220:28:27

It's going to be hard for him, but, ultimately, I've got to

0:28:270:28:30

think of the rest of the residents round here.

0:28:300:28:33

Three weeks have passed

0:28:360:28:37

and Colin has returned to the alley to make sure that Neville,

0:28:370:28:40

the pigeon feeder, has stopped the birds' evening meals.

0:28:400:28:44

Colin's in for a pleasant surprise.

0:28:440:28:46

I'm just looking now and I can count five birds.

0:28:530:28:56

Quite chuffed with that.

0:28:560:28:58

That's a quicker result than what I was hoping to get,

0:28:580:29:01

I won't deny that.

0:29:010:29:02

I was expecting to come back again

0:29:020:29:03

and get another reduction before I got to this stage.

0:29:030:29:07

So, yeah, I'm well chuffed with that. Very happy.

0:29:070:29:10

I'm not letting it go.

0:29:110:29:13

I'm going to have a word with the chap again and just remind him

0:29:130:29:15

that I am still monitoring this and, obviously,

0:29:150:29:19

I don't want him to be feeding them.

0:29:190:29:20

KNOCK ON DOOR

0:29:200:29:22

Hello, sir, remember me?

0:29:250:29:27

Oh, I recognise you from last week.

0:29:270:29:28

Yeah, I'm just coming back now following upon

0:29:280:29:31

-that visit I made.

-Sure.

0:29:310:29:32

A lot less birds. Have you stopped feeding them now?

0:29:320:29:35

Sorry? Oh, yes, I've stopped feeding them now, yes, altogether.

0:29:350:29:39

I realise that you're just doing your job and...

0:29:390:29:42

So, I've never argued the point.

0:29:440:29:46

I know it has been a nuisance to people

0:29:460:29:49

and I wasn't surprised when they did complain.

0:29:490:29:52

When I die, I'm 86 now, so, I'm not going to be able

0:29:520:29:56

to feed them then, so...

0:29:560:29:59

I mean, it could happen any time.

0:29:590:30:01

So, that's why I've never made a fuss about it, you know.

0:30:020:30:06

I've got to finish some time and so it might as well be now.

0:30:060:30:09

-OK, thanks very much, sir.

-Bye.

0:30:090:30:11

It's a real coup for Colin to have the residents

0:30:130:30:16

and their washing lines free from the threat of aerial bombardment.

0:30:160:30:20

It's just a dream.

0:30:210:30:22

I wish every person was like that.

0:30:220:30:24

My life would be so stress-free.

0:30:240:30:26

It would be a dream.

0:30:260:30:27

And now Neville's feathered friends have flown the nest,

0:30:300:30:33

the council is offering him support.

0:30:330:30:35

Tree surgeon Mark Stazika is only let loose after Jill Harrison has

0:30:450:30:49

deemed a council owned tree to be either diseased or causing damage.

0:30:490:30:53

We can't take a tree down just because somebody wants it down.

0:30:530:30:58

We have to look into all the other possibilities.

0:30:580:31:01

But occasionally,

0:31:010:31:02

one of the 100,000 trees in Wigan poses a danger to human life.

0:31:020:31:06

Council tenant Jamie Salt is worried about a tree in her

0:31:080:31:11

neighbour's garden that is leaning and pushing against

0:31:110:31:14

the garden fence, making it perilous in windy conditions.

0:31:140:31:18

There's two trees there and one's leaning onto the other one,

0:31:180:31:21

which is leaning onto the fence and I've heard creaking

0:31:210:31:25

and I've looked around to see what it was and when it was really windy

0:31:250:31:28

last week, was it?

0:31:280:31:30

And it was those trees and they were swinging right back.

0:31:300:31:34

And then, you know, coming back with a bit of force on the fence.

0:31:340:31:38

And I'm thinking, "The tree and fence is going to go."

0:31:380:31:41

It's a big enough fence to cause damage as well.

0:31:420:31:45

I know it's got the support, but you just never know, do you?

0:31:450:31:49

Especially when you've got a little one.

0:31:490:31:52

I know we're not supposed to destroy trees for the environment,

0:31:520:31:55

but I think two little ones and this little one,

0:31:550:31:59

it won't really do much harm if we did that, really, would it?

0:31:590:32:02

Jill's visiting Jamie's neighbour's house

0:32:050:32:07

to look at the treacherous tree to see what steps can be taken.

0:32:070:32:10

So, is it this one?

0:32:120:32:14

Yeah, it's that one on the fence.

0:32:140:32:16

I'll just have a closer look.

0:32:160:32:18

I'll just have a closer look.

0:32:180:32:20

The neighbour's reporting, obviously, that it's

0:32:210:32:23

on the fence line, so it's basically causing damage

0:32:230:32:26

and that's what it is really.

0:32:260:32:28

It looks like somebody's taken a big piece off it here

0:32:280:32:30

and there's quite a bit of rot in it.

0:32:300:32:33

If you look here, this won't be joined properly,

0:32:330:32:37

so this could be quite a weak spot and, you know,

0:32:370:32:41

that stem could go that way.

0:32:410:32:43

It shouldn't really be a problem taking that one down.

0:32:440:32:47

There's some damage to it.

0:32:470:32:49

As it's an unhealthy specimen and it's posing a risk,

0:32:510:32:55

Jill is happy for the tree to be removed.

0:32:550:32:57

Still to come, the tree fellers of Wigan scale new heights.

0:33:010:33:05

He doesn't mind, he prefers being up there.

0:33:050:33:08

There's nothing he won't go up.

0:33:080:33:10

Street cleaner Jim Angeleto has called his council colleagues after

0:33:250:33:29

a number of troublesome mornings where he was hassled by

0:33:290:33:33

rowdy revellers spilling out of a nightclub at 8am.

0:33:330:33:36

It's not very nice.

0:33:360:33:37

We're doing a job, we're trying to keep it clean and tidy.

0:33:370:33:40

It's silly, really.

0:33:400:33:41

They've had a hell of a lot to drink

0:33:410:33:43

and they just jump out in front of you.

0:33:430:33:45

You know, you've got a machine here that can do a lot of damage.

0:33:450:33:49

They think it's quite funny to lie in front of you or

0:33:490:33:52

put their feet out so you can polish their shoes with the buffers.

0:33:520:33:56

It makes our job twice as hard.

0:33:560:33:58

Licensing enforcement officer Ian Whistlecroft

0:34:010:34:04

has investigated Jim's concerns.

0:34:040:34:06

He seen the evidence on CCTV and he's not happy.

0:34:060:34:09

Got one character now, two, lying down in front of the road sweeper...

0:34:100:34:14

thinking it's a jolly jape.

0:34:140:34:17

Stupidity.

0:34:170:34:19

Ian can request that their extended licence is reviewed.

0:34:190:34:23

This could mean it's revoked.

0:34:230:34:25

The club owner promised changes.

0:34:250:34:27

It's two weeks later.

0:34:290:34:31

Has Jim noticed a difference on the street?

0:34:310:34:33

The council have had a word with the nightclub owners.

0:34:350:34:38

They've seen what's going on.

0:34:380:34:40

The nightclub owners have seen the problems that we're having and that

0:34:400:34:44

and they're monitoring it.

0:34:440:34:47

We're relieved because we don't have anybody harassing us,

0:34:480:34:51

throwing things at us, giving us abuse, threatening us,

0:34:510:34:55

so it is...

0:34:550:34:57

It is good all round.

0:34:580:34:59

We can come up King Street and not worry about any hassle and that.

0:35:020:35:06

Keeping the streets of Wigan clean and tidy for

0:35:070:35:09

all the people of Wigan.

0:35:090:35:11

Council officer Pete Rutter is facing a battle with a large truck

0:35:220:35:25

that has been dumped and left to rot in a residential street for months.

0:35:250:35:30

It's not in great nick.

0:35:300:35:32

Pete gave the owner 15 days to claim the truck.

0:35:330:35:36

That time's elapsed and as the truck has no second-hand value,

0:35:360:35:40

Pete has the authority to have it towed away and scrapped.

0:35:400:35:43

It's got weeds and stuff growing at the back of it,

0:35:430:35:45

so it's been there a good while.

0:35:450:35:47

I'll have it taken away today.

0:35:470:35:50

And then it'll be destroyed.

0:35:500:35:52

Here they are, the cavalry.

0:35:520:35:53

Although nobody has claimed the truck,

0:35:570:35:59

Pete reckons somebody's been sniffing around.

0:35:590:36:02

From the last time I visited, it has moved.

0:36:030:36:06

It's moved about six, eight feet further back.

0:36:070:36:10

Somebody's been in it cos they've taken the notice I put on the front

0:36:100:36:13

and they've placed it inside.

0:36:130:36:15

So, somebody's been out to it, read it and still done nothing about it.

0:36:150:36:19

So...

0:36:190:36:20

..you know, you can only lead a horse to water as they say, I think.

0:36:210:36:25

They charge us 150 quid plus VAT and that's to take the vehicle away,

0:36:270:36:32

keep it impounded for seven days and then they'll destroy it.

0:36:320:36:35

Anybody that shows any interest in this vehicle could have obviously

0:36:360:36:39

scrapped it themselves, perhaps got some money for it instead.

0:36:390:36:42

You know, it's costing the council money to

0:36:420:36:45

get it off the streets and tidy the place up.

0:36:450:36:47

Job done.

0:36:470:36:49

Coming up, Pete bids the van goodbye

0:36:500:36:53

and gets to play with some big boy's toys.

0:36:530:36:56

My kids would love this.

0:36:560:36:58

They like destroying things as well.

0:36:580:37:00

Tree surgeon Mark Stazika has arrived at his next job.

0:37:070:37:11

His team are to chop down a treacherous tree in a garden.

0:37:120:37:16

Young mum Jamie Salt is worried about a tree

0:37:160:37:18

leaning and pushing against her fence

0:37:180:37:21

making it dangerous for her daughter to play outside.

0:37:210:37:24

When it was really windy, I've heard a creaking

0:37:240:37:27

and it was those trees and it was swinging right back.

0:37:270:37:31

The tree is in the garden of Jamie's neighbour Mercy

0:37:320:37:35

and it was Mercy who called the council.

0:37:350:37:38

I called the council in May.

0:37:380:37:40

When it's thunder and lightning,

0:37:400:37:42

I was frightened of it coming into the house.

0:37:420:37:45

You know, like, coming over.

0:37:450:37:47

I chatted with Jamie and I said, "Well, I'll phone them

0:37:510:37:54

"and see what happens", you know.

0:37:540:37:57

Mark's challenge is a tall sycamore that's more than double

0:37:580:38:01

the length of the garden.

0:38:010:38:04

This is the one we're taking down today.

0:38:040:38:07

The tree can't be felled in one chop as it could fall onto

0:38:070:38:10

the fence and house.

0:38:100:38:12

So, Mark's colleague Steve has to climb the tree

0:38:120:38:14

and make a start at the top.

0:38:140:38:16

He doesn't mind, he prefers being up there.

0:38:180:38:20

Never ceases to impress us.

0:38:200:38:22

There's nothing he won't go up.

0:38:240:38:26

He was here when I started.

0:38:300:38:32

Oh, it's...

0:38:320:38:34

35 years plus.

0:38:340:38:35

Tree surgeon Steve starts by cutting off the highest branches first.

0:38:440:38:49

Back on the ground, Mark is taking care of the waste.

0:38:540:38:57

The leaves and branches are chipped and will be recycled

0:39:110:39:14

and used as mulch on council flowerbeds.

0:39:140:39:16

With the top of the tree taken care of,

0:39:200:39:22

Mark is handed the chainsaw

0:39:220:39:24

to topple the remaining trunk, carefully avoiding the garden fence.

0:39:240:39:28

Just a little bit left of the centre,

0:39:340:39:36

but it's down with plenty room.

0:39:360:39:38

It's down now, so.

0:39:380:39:40

And safely.

0:39:400:39:42

It's a tree-mendous effort by Mark and Steve,

0:39:420:39:45

much to Mercy's relief.

0:39:450:39:47

I'm glad it's down.

0:39:470:39:49

Yeah, well, it's a bit more daylight.

0:39:490:39:51

It's a lot more daylight.

0:39:510:39:52

You're going to get sunbathing now!

0:39:520:39:55

I know!

0:39:550:39:57

-As long as you're happy, that's the main thing.

-I'm very happy.

0:39:570:39:59

I'm very happy.

0:39:590:40:01

-That's what we want to hear.

-Yep.

0:40:010:40:03

I'm just glad it's been done. It's out of the road now.

0:40:050:40:08

So, if we have a bad winter,

0:40:080:40:10

I don't need to be frightened of it coming into the house.

0:40:100:40:13

Antisocial behaviour officer Pete Rutter is making a special outing

0:40:350:40:39

to a local scrapyard.

0:40:390:40:41

He's come to say good riddance to an abandoned truck

0:40:410:40:44

that's been an eyesore blighting the streets of Wigan for months.

0:40:440:40:48

Pete's given any owners ample opportunities to claim the truck,

0:40:480:40:52

but it's been left to the council to fork out for its disposal.

0:40:520:40:55

It's a shame really because there's firms out there that will

0:40:560:40:59

pick the vehicle up from your location and take it away

0:40:590:41:02

and pay you a few quid for the privilege of doing that.

0:41:020:41:05

Unfortunately, at the taxpayer's expense, we have to remove it.

0:41:050:41:08

It is tantamount to fly-tip, so it's got to be removed off

0:41:080:41:11

the highway

0:41:110:41:12

and we're here today to see its final resting place.

0:41:120:41:15

I've been told I make be able to have a little go on the...

0:41:180:41:21

crushing machine, so I'm looking forward to that as well.

0:41:210:41:25

Before the concluding crash, the controls are handed to Pete.

0:42:050:42:09

Push that one up...

0:42:110:42:13

and pull the trigger and press the green one.

0:42:130:42:16

My kids would love this.

0:42:240:42:26

They like destroying things as well.

0:42:260:42:28

Amazing bit of kit, that.

0:42:350:42:37

After just a few seconds,

0:42:510:42:53

all that remains of the offending truck is a block of twisted metal.

0:42:530:42:58

But Pete's efforts haven't all been for nothing.

0:42:580:43:01

I've just been talking to one of the guys that works here

0:43:010:43:03

and he says that can be on the dock in the morning going overseas

0:43:030:43:06

to be recycled to make different bits and bobs,

0:43:060:43:09

so something good will come of it.

0:43:090:43:10

Yeah, case closed.

0:43:120:43:14

Wigan's streets are free from an offending eyesore

0:43:140:43:17

and maybe one day this former workhorse will be

0:43:170:43:20

given new life as something useful once again.

0:43:200:43:23

Wigan's frontline council officers hit the heights to tame dangerous trees, step in when residents get revved up about a rusty van and tackle a feathered foe - pigeons.


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