March 16 2014 Latest news:
Ian Weinfass, Senior reporter
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Rotten food, dirty nappies, a couch, two bags of building tiles - all in an hour’s work for one of the people who works to keep our streets free of abandoned waste.
The Recorder joined Havering Council’s enforcement officer Denise Brown and Streetcare chief Barry Tebbutt on a walkabout around Romford Town Centre to see some of the work they do.
“Rotten food and dirty nappies are usually the worst things I find.
“Once I had a cat jump out of a bag it had been hiding in, that gave me and my colleague a bit of a fright,” said Denise – one of six enforcement officers who patrol parts of the borough looking for problems.
On the short walk around Romford Town Centre, there was no shortage of work for her to do.
Tasks include opening fly-tipped rubbish bags and looking inside for evidence as to who has dumped them.
“You’d be surprised what people leave in them,” said Cllr Tebbutt. “Lots of people leave their own post in the waste and don’t think we’ll find them.
“We also use CCTV to catch people as well.”
The Recorder was invited to join the council as part of the council’s Cleaner Havering campaign.
As well as a stick to prosecute offenders with when necessary, the council says it uses a carrot approach too – as a couple of surprised passers-by found out.
“We try to encourage residents to do the right thing,” said Denise, who has been in the role for three years.
Cllr Tebbut said: “If they see someone putting something in a bin, they give them a card which puts them in a prize draw and gives them a chance to win £50 of Asda vouchers.”
A big part of the Cleaner Havering campaign is encouraging residents not to leave dog mess lying around.
But due to problems with proving who it is that has left their pooch’s waste lying around, the council is yet to secure any successful prosecutions since the scheme was launched in October.
“We need people to report things quickly and with as much detail as they can to help us,” said Denise.
For more information about the scheme visit www.havering.gov.uk/cleanerhavering.