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Bin Brother is watching you...

PUBLISHED: 19:11 01 November 2012

The council have put a small lamp post waste bin on surveillance in College Street. They believe someone is using the public bin for domestic waste.

The council have put a small lamp post waste bin on surveillance in College Street. They believe someone is using the public bin for domestic waste.

Archant

FORGET the relentless march of the CCTV camera, the millions of fingerprints held on databases across the country and the prospect of retinal scanning – because “Bin Brother” is watching you.

Following the “misuse” of a bin in Bury St Edmunds, St Edmundsbury Borough Council have issued a stark warning: “This bin is now under surveillance.”

The notice, which has been stuck to the lamppost-mounted bin in College Street, said the action was being taken due to “possible misuse” while a spokeswoman said household waste was regularly dumped there.

Council bosses have insisted that no cameras will be used; instead a street cleaner –who usually empties the bins – will monitor the problem “for clues”.

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “We empty over a thousand litter bins and dog waste bins across the borough and we have a recurring problem with this bin in College Street.

“It is of sufficient capacity to be emptied once a week. However it is regularly filled with household waste, (which is also left on the ground), which means that the occasional rubbish it is intended for overflows.

“This is messy, encourages vermin and takes extra time and expense to clear up. We have put up a notice to try to discourage this behaviour.”

She added: “We have warned that the bin is under surveillance. This means that we will be actively monitoring the problem for clues about why the usual domestic waste stream is not being used. This is being done by the street cleaner who empties the bin as part of his daily duties. We are not using other methods.”

Residents nearby, who said they had not noticed any surveillance in the area, said a neatly-packed supermarket bag containing rubbish, is regularly put in the bin.

Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said the surveillance sounded like a tale from April Fool’s Day.

Earlier this year the East Anglian Daily Times reported how some councils in the region had used terror laws to conduct surveillance operations on trading standards cases.

Suffolk County Council conducted operations under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) to make test purchases of a puppy, dating agency services and at a “house of horrors”.

The council said they acted “sparingly and responsibly” to combat crimes of public concern.

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