Fly-tipping, dumping and littering has become quite a serious and seriously frustrating problem in many areas, but could cameras be the solution? A council in Derbyshire has proven that external CCTV cameras really can help to secure convictions against fly-tippers and others who show complete disrespect for community areas. South Derbyshire District Council has a team of safer neighbourhood wardens, who carried out an operation earlier this year that involved the use of surveillance cameras.

The device captured a 38-year-old man who had been illegally disposing of dishwasher parts on a country lane in Caldwell. He was caught red-handed throwing the scrap metal into the bushes, seemingly staring right at the camera with a smile on his face. He wasn't smiling for very long, as the council used this video evidence to secure a conviction and a £1,200 fine for the fly-tipper. Speaking to the Derby Telegraph, the council’s environmental health manager Matt Holford said of the outcome: “This is our fourth successful conviction for waste offences in the last six months and sends out a strong message that we will not tolerate behaviour which threatens the District's reputation as a clean, green and safe place to be."

A campaigner in Derby, Dawn Gee, now wants to follow the council’s example and purchase a spy camera to catch fly-tippers in her area. She told the Derby Telegraph that she would lend it out for free to others wanting to stop this anti-social behaviour in her area, explaining: "I think the camera could make a real difference. It would provide good evidence and spreading the photographs in the media will provide a good opportunity for people to tell the council who they are. "It would work like a police appeal does for information. The public's help would prove vital.”

Using cameras to catch fly-tippers in your areas –a guide

If you're tired of waiting for the council to take action on fly-tipping in your street, the solution could be to gather the evidence needed yourself. An external surveillance camera can be used in a fly-tipping hotspot to film evidence of people and businesses dumping waste, and it can also act as a visible deterrent. However, there are a few things to remember before you start filming:

  • Your cameras must not invade anyone’s privacy. This means not pointing them into someone’s living room or into their back garden.
  • You should only install them on your own property or with the permission of the property or land owner
  • You must have a legitimate reason to be filming and only use the footage for that purpose. If there’s a fly-tipping hotspot on your street, you can film it and only use the footage as evidence to assist the council or the police with their investigations.
  • If you bought and installed the camera, you are responsible for the footage. This means that you must ensure that it does not get lost or fall into the wrong hands, and you also can’t share it online or sell it to a third party without breaching UK privacy laws.

Image credit: Wiki Commons