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Now a council uses cameras in bean tins to catch bin 'criminals'

UK Daily Mail | March 20, 2007

A local council is to use hidden cameras to catch residents who leave rubbish out on the wrong day.

CCTV devices will be disguised inside objects such as baked bean cans and house bricks to film offenders.

The covert surveillance has been ordered by Ealing council to target "enviro-criminals" - those who leave out black bags when they should not or let the contents spill on to the pavement. Offenders can be issued with onthe-spot fines of up to £1,000.

Cameras will be installed around the London borough before the change in collections from weekly to fortnightly. But today the move was attacked as an invasion of privacy.

The cameras, which cost about £200 each, are triggered by builtin movement sensors. It is understood they are to be used to catch large-scale fly-tippers and graffiti vandals but the council said residents who failed to abide by refuse collection times would also be punished.

Tory-controlled Ealing said: "To catch vandals and envirocriminals, cameras disguised as anything from tin cans to house bricks will email images to the council's CCTV control centre."

Will Brooks, the Tory councillor responsible for environment and transport, said anyone who broke the rules on collection would be considered to be a fly-tipper.

Labour councillor Virendra Sharma said: "I predict a lot of complaints about this method of catching litter louts. It is possible that many will question the motives of using CCTV and feel it is an infringement of privacy.

"Educating people on rubbish collection times is a better longterm solution than spy cameras in baked bean tins."

In 2004, the Audit Commission rated Ealing as having the dirtiest streets in London. Human rights group Liberty said: "Let's give people more opportunities to be clean and green rather than declaring that if you put your bin out at the wrong time you are committing criminal activity."

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