Recorder joins Redbridge enforcement officer in fight against fly-tipping
PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 July 2016
Engaging with the community is key in the crackdown on a culture of littering and fly-tipping, according to a senior enforcement officer.
Speaking to the Recorder while on a morning chasing leads in the fight for clean streets and tidy front gardens, Jules Onalaja, 42, said his job was about being proactive and making a difference.
It comes after Redbridge Council launched its Proud To Call It Home scheme, in conjunction with the Recorder’s Pride In Redbridge campaign.
“Every day is different,” said Jules, as we make our way to Fernways, Ilford, after a driver is caught on CCTV dumping rubbish.
The officer, wearing a hi-vis vest and cap, speaks to neighbours and hears their concerns before taking photos as evidence.
On the road with enforcement
It was clear to see the scale of the task the borough’s four enforcement officers had on their hands as I joined one on a morning patrol, writes Ajay Nair.
Driving from job to job, following up residents’ reports, we had to stop several times to log abandoned desk chairs, a large amount of litter left at a bus stop, and front gardens filled with carpets and building materials.
The mammoth task of clearing up Redbridge is not something the team can do alone – and that was clear to see.
I was surprised at the amount of rubbish we came across in the space of about two hours, as well as the amount of painstaking investigation that goes on at each tip.
Jules, who I went along with, was not afraid to get his hands dirty as he dived into bags of smelly rubbish searching for clues to find out where they came from.
The team, which also deals with anti-social behaviour, has definitely got its work cut out.
We then visit another fly-tipping hotspot in Green Lane, Seven Kings, at the junction with Guildford Road, following reports of about 10 bags left on a street corner.
A thorough look through the bags reveals hair cuttings and salon waste among bags of dirty nappies and milk bottles.
“It’s disgusting but somebody’s got to do it,” says Jules, as he gets stuck in wearing his rubber gloves.
“People have been doing it for a long time and it’s high time they get caught – they’re going to be shocked when I show them the rubbish.”
Jules takes photos of documents found linking the rubbish to its owners and soon confronts a salon owner who admits dumping some of the bags. She is given a warning.
The rest of the morning is spent dealing with a noisy neighbour call, following up complaints about garden rubbish, and reporting new finds to the cleansing team.
Jules says a goat’s head in a stream in South Park, Ilford, was one of his more unusual discoveries.
“You don’t expect it,” he says. “But it does happen – nothing surprises me anymore. People don’t have pride in where they live and that’s part of the problem – regardless of whether you’re a homeowner or a renter.”
He adds: “Some people think it’s OK to fly-tip, to live in filth, but it’s not.”
Call to report ‘distressing’ fly-tippers
Case officers aiming to bring prosecutions against those dumping rubbish are calling on residents to be proactive in reporting fly-tipping.
Sarah Kaya is a former enforcement officer. She said the hardest part of her job was “building a picture” and getting witnesses to reveal all.
She said the process of carrying out interviews with fly-tip suspects and witnesses and building a case can take
She added: “But when you get a prosecution, it’s the most rewarding thing because you’ve worked so hard on the case.
“Some people may think it’s just a little bit of furniture but it causes a lot of distress and harm to people. We just need more people to come forward and report it.”
About our campaign
The Recorder will be running a campaign over the coming weeks, highlighting the good work being done by volunteers across the borough.
As part of our Pride in Redbridge campaign, we will also be focusing on the work being done by the council, such as what happens when residents report problems, and how fly-tippers are caught and prosecuted.
Our reporters are also keen to get their hands dirty and chip in on the ground with community clean-ups.
We are inviting residents to nominate a street or area they want cleaned up, and suggestions have already started rolling in.
So if you’re holding an event, or want to promote the positive action being taken in your community, let us know by calling the news desk on 020 8477 3858, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or tweeting @ilfordrecorder.
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