UK Daily Mail 
August 22, 2012
Town halls have launched an astonishing 9,600 spying missions on the public in the past three years.
The surveillance operations exploit anti-terror laws but many are targeting minor offences such as flouting the smoking ban, dog fouling and dropping litter.
Council officers have also gone undercover to carry out ‘test purchases’ at local escort agencies, it was revealed last night.
In other cases, tactics included obtaining phone records and trapping householders putting out rubbish early by using motion-activated cameras on lampposts and inside tin cans.
Families suspected of cheating school catchment area rules have been followed by council ‘spies’.
Civil liberties campaigners said was clear the hugely controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act was being abused.