Daily Mail 
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
A council sends snooping officials to rifle through the rubbish of taxpayers at a cost of £60,000 a year.
‘Bin police’ have been going through wheelie bins in ‘dawn raids’ in a bid to establish what type of rubbish was being thrown away.
Stunned residents were woken by council contractors emptying their bins into containers at 5.30am before driving off.
The scheme aims to find out levels of household recycling and what measures the local authority could introduce to improve waste disposal and treatment.
But residents have slammed the scheme run by Lancashire County Council as an invasion of their privacy and condemned it as a Big Brother-style intrusion.
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Eric Green, of Chorley, Lancs, said: ‘The council should be up front and if they want to check our rubbish then they should knock on our doors and ask to do so.
‘The bins might be theirs, but the rubbish is ours and this is a form of snooping. I won’t accept what they are doing – not at 5.30 in the morning.’
Another resident Melanie Wallwork said: ‘I wouldn’t be happy if I found them rooting through my bins – it’s sneaky.
‘If they want to check what rubbish I am throwing away then they should come at a normal time and knock on my door. I don’t have anything to hide.’
Cllr Geoff Driver, Conservative group leader, said: ‘I thought this was a wind-up. It actually beggars belief that county council officers will go round rooting in people’s bins without their knowledge.
‘In these days of identity theft, the officers are putting themselves at risk that some residents might take extreme exception to what they are doing.’
Cllr Mark Jewell, a Liberal Democrat who has campaigned against ‘snooping’ powers at Preston Council, said: ‘It’s an example of the kind of surveillance society we live in and it’s ridiculous.’
Full story here.