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Using trail cameras for security & to combat crime

Posted 15 Jan 2018

Trail cameras are increasingly being used for detecting and preventing crime in areas where traditional hard-wired CCTV systems are either too expensive, impractical or impossible through lack of mains power. The key features of being portable, weatherproof, wireless and battery operated mean trail cameras can easily be positioned in areas where there is an existing or potential problem of crime.

Fly Tipping
Waste crime cost the English economy more than £600m in 2015, including lost landfill tax revenues and clean-up costs, and creates severe problems for people who live or work nearby with odour, dust, litter, vermin, fly infestations, pollution and fires blighting lives. Waste criminals also undercut genuine businesses who dispose of waste responsibly.

Latest statistics show that some of the worst hit areas include London which saw over 360,000 fly-tipping incidents last year and the North West of England which saw 128,000 incidents in 2016/17. More than 850 new illegal waste sites were discovered by the Environment Agency in 2016-17. While an average of two illegal waste sites are shut down every day, they continue to create severe problems for local communities and business as well as posing a risk to key national infrastructure.

In January 2018, the government announced that new powers to tackle the serious problem of waste crime will be granted, and further action opened for consultation in a crack-down on illegal sites, Environment Minister Therese Coffey announced following the recent launch of the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Case Study

Fly-tippers caught red-handed dumping rubbish in a country lane in Peterstone, Cardiff.

Two members of the same family who were caught dumping rubbish in a country lane have been found guilty of fly-tipping offences.
30-year-old Michael Doran and 29-year-old Johnny Doran were caught red-handed by a covert camera which had been hidden at the notorious fly-tipping spot.

Despite the placement of two ‘No Fly-tipping’ signs at either end of Green Lane, the video clearly shows the duo dumping a transit load of rubble and black bin bags. The camera had been placed there as part of local project led by Natural Resources Wales that aims to tackle the issue of fly-tipping on the Gwent Levels.

Michael Doran pleaded guilty to a series of fly-tipping incidents and was fined £950 and sentenced to a Community Order. Johnny Doran also pleaded guilty to the four offences and will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court later this month.

Fly-tipping on the Gwent Levels continues to have a huge impact on the local community and poses a threat to both wildlife and the natural landscape.

'The actions of these individuals show blatant disregard for the natural environment in Wales and we’re pleased to see that the enforcement work as part of our Black Spots to Bright Spots project has resulted in a number of successful prosecutions'. Elinor Meloy, Black Spots to Bright Spots

We have hand-picked a range of cameras that are ideal for monitoring of fly-tipping hotspots, click here to see the range.
Rural Crime
Every year rural crime costs millions of pounds and causes untold anxiety across the UK, last year (2016) rural crime cost the UK £39.2million. Although that’s down a little (4.3%) on the 2015 cost, initial figures for the first half of 2017 suggest the downward trend isn’t going to last.

For this reason, Insurers and Police Rural Crime teams throughout the UK are now recommending that property owners in rural locations that have experienced crime or where there is potential should invest in these types of camera so that there is an increased chance of obtaining imagery, whether it be photographic or video that could aid in identifying and apprehending perpetrators.


What is rural crime? 

Any incident that occurs in a rural area because of its remote location including incidents such as theft or criminal damage in the following types of property, or property where there are:

  • Farmhouses 
  • Farm buildings 
  • Yards
  • Farm Shops or business units on farm premises 
  • Equestrian premises
  • Holiday property
  • Fish farms 
  • Rural based churches 
  • Agricultural machinery or tools 
  • Fencing, hay/straw 
  • Heating oil or Red diesel 
  • Horses 
  • Horse boxes 
  • Tack theft 
  • Other livestock 

Additional crime incidents that are likely to occur in rural areas are as follows: 

  • Hare coursing and poaching 
  • Fly tipping 
  • Illegal Hunting 
  • Heritage crime 
  • Trespass, for example, when metal detecting
  • Raves
  • Wildlife issues
  • Off-road motorcycles

There are a number of websites that provide advice on protecting your land or property from rural crime, including:

Case study - Theft from a rural construction site
Back in August 2014 we were contacted by a lady called Sandra from a small family-run construction company based in Kent. They were building a few homes in a rural area and had unfortunately been the victims of theft. Upon returning to the site one morning they had discovered that the unfinished houses had been entered and valuable tools and materials worth thousands of Pounds had been stolen. Fearful that the thieves would return, Sandra called and asked our advice on what sort of cameras might help catch any returning perpetrators. 

We advised that one of our wireless/cellular cameras would not only capture a photo and video of any activity in the property but would also send a picture preview to her mobile phone and/or email address so that they could alert the Police. The camera was purchased, delivered the next day and with the help of our cellular camera expert - Ron provided over the phone, the camera was set up in the property that evening.  

In the early hours of the following morning the intruders returned! The camera triggered and Sandra received a notification via text message along with the picture opposite. The Police were called and Sandra and her husband jumped in the car and raced to the scene arriving to find the Police had apprehended the intruders! Upon searching the home addresses of the intruders all of the firm's tools and materials were found and recovered.

As you can imagine, Sandra was very happy with this outcome and contacted us the very next day:

Hi Mike, I just wanted to say how great Ron was in helping me set up my camera. I brought the camera for security as we are building 2 houses on a site about 10mins away from where we live. Ron made sure that the camera was set up and running on site on Saturday.  On Sunday morning at 4am an image from the camera was sent to my phone and showed an intruder!! I called the police and my husband drove over to the site.  The intruders were still there when the police arrived. I have to say I am REALLY PLEASED I purchased the camera.
This is the image I received, (typical hooded lout) There were actually 3 of them!!  The police arrested them and after searching their home found the tools they stole last time!!! That first break-in was why I purchased the camera. At least now I can have some peace of mind with the camera set up on site. 
Thank you Sandra

Since then we have sold dozens of similar cameras to individuals with various rural crime related requirements. Since then the sophistication of the cameras has increased dramatically with the latest cameras able to connect to the super fast 4G mobile network enabling the transmission of HD video clips. One of the market leaders in this type of equipment are Spypoint with their latest cameras offering the benefits of pre-configured, contract-free SIM cards, a secure web portal to access your images and a smartphone App to remotely control the cameras operation.  

If you would like to know how you can protect your property from theft or damage using trail cameras, please give us a call on 0800 779 7627 or browse our easy to use cameras by clicking here.