UK Daily Mail 
Friday, Sept 19, 2008
When wheelie bins began to go missing from outside their homes, residents wondered whether they should call the police.
But when the thieves were unmasked, their identities proved to be something a shock.
The two men responsible were council officers assigned to secretly snoop in back gardens.
They were employed to find out which residents were using extra ‘unauthorised’ wheelie bins to dispose of their rubbish – and took those bins away if they considered them to be unlawful.
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The warden, working for Blackburn with Darwen Council in Lancashire, even used ladders to peer over garden walls on to lawns and back yards while the occupants were out.
If they saw any homes with two bins for non-recyclable waste they took one away without informing the resident.
Last night the council was forced to apologise to householders for their sinister approach.
Hazel Wilson, 67, of Blackburn, challenged two men when she spotted them in a back alley near her home.
‘One was carrying a ladder and putting it up against back yard walls one by one and the other man was taking notes,’ she said.
‘I asked them what they were doing and they said some people had more than one black bin and where houses had more than one they were removing it.