Get a quote

Illegal Tipping and Site Occupation

There were 67,000 incidents involving commercial waste in 2021/22, accounting for 6% of total incidents. This was an increase of 9% from the 62,000 incidents reported in 2020/21. There were 33,000 incidents of commercial waste in black bags and 34,000 incidents of other commercial waste in 2021/22.

There are also cases where longer-term fly tipping of an area has become a problem with areas that are remote being favoured for this illegal activity, wooded areas and remote back lanes adjoining farmers’ land has become the haunt of such activity, monitoring remote locations can be a problem due to connectivity and also coverage.

Fly tipping can quickly destroy an area of natural beauty or an area where walkers favour, most illegal fly tipping is from residential properties, but equally, some comes from industrial activities such as building and renovations where some toxic substances such as paint and other materials can be dumped having an adverse effect on the wildlife.

Case Example

A large client contacted Iprosurv to assess the possibility of using drone technology to asses two sites one where travellers established themselves illegally and broke into a secured site, on a commercial location and where facilitating the dumping of waste within the confines of the security fencing.

The site had previously been occupied by travellers who caused in excess of £100.000 pounds worth of damage and a clean-up bill in excess of £50.000.

A new occupation by another group of travellers who were starting to cause damage to the ground surrounding the unused offices, but had also broken into the office and caused damage inside and to the outside structure.

Illegal fly-tipping inspections by drone

Traditional Methods

Traditional methods would be to monitor the situation with manned guards or cameras, manned guards can be expensive and are at risk of physical abuse when trying to carry out enforcement of any illegal activity, a more costly solution is permanently fixed cameras although these have their limitations with connectivity and can be damaged in remote areas, they can also become redundant once people know of the camera and move a few hundred meters to carry on the fly tipping activity.

Technology Led Methods

With the ability to take off and land from a distance takes the need for personnel to endanger themselves on site, on this occasion the drone took off from remote location and flew over the site at irregular intervals or when a vehicle containing waste approached.

with the ability of zoom cameras the drone is able to read and record personnel and vehicle registration plates for later use by authorities.

Incorporating high power spotlights and thermal technology also enhances the capability of the drone.


Drones are proving to be a valuable tool in the fight against illegal tipping and illegal occupation of traveler sites. Their ability to provide aerial surveillance and imagery can be used to gather evidence of wrongdoing, which can then be used to prosecute offenders. Drones can also be used to deter illegal activity by making it clear that they are being watched.

In the case study of Tesco Extra in Kingston upon Thames, which Iprosurv attended, the use of a drone was instrumental in closing down an extensive illegal fly-tipping operation. The drone’s presence deterred further fly-tipping and forced the travellers to leave the site. The drone also provided valuable evidence that was used to prosecute the offenders.

The use of drones in this case study demonstrates the potential of this technology to help combat illegal tipping and illegal occupation of traveler sites. Drones can provide a cost-effective and efficient way to gather evidence, deter crime, and bring offenders to justice.