Deploying drones has enabled a security firm to help a FTSE 100 Estates Manager close down an extensive illegal fly-tipping operation, run by travellers with 20 caravans on the site.

The use of an Eye in the sky’ pro­vid­ed the evi­dence and the pres­sure that forced the trav­ellers to halt their oper­a­tion, next to a major Tesco Extra store in Kingston upon Thames.

In recent months, sev­er­al Tesco stores have had to close at night for secu­ri­ty when unau­tho­rised car­a­vans had occu­pied their car parks, with the addi­tion­al costs of tens of thou­sands of pounds to clean up the area after the trav­ellers had moved out.

Police often can­not act with­out proof of unlaw­ful activ­i­ty, so Tesco con­tact­ed prop­er­ty secu­ri­ty spe­cial­ists VPS Secu­ri­ty Services to see if they could record evi­dence of the fly-tip­ping tak­ing place. VPS deployed a DJI Inspire 2 drone, with the pilot using the roof of the trad­ing store for safe take-off and landing.

The impact of the drone was imme­di­ate — trav­ellers saw they were being watched and began turn­ing away vehi­cles that had come to fly-tip, and they even began re-load­ing their own vehi­cles with pre­vi­ous­ly fly-tipped rub­bish. Every time a new vehi­cle entered the car park, VPS would send the drone up and the unau­tho­rised squat­ters would send the vehi­cle away.

With­in a day the trav­ellers had left the site, tak­ing a large amount of their rub­bish with them, and although the remain­ing waste cost £30,000 to clear up and remove safe­ly, the expense would have been far high­er if the trav­ellers had been left for much longer.

Tom Acland, VPS Secu­ri­ty Ser­vices Man­ag­ing Direc­tor said: Despite news laws last year that have severe­ly increased the penal­ties, fly-tip­ping occurs in the UK every 40 sec­onds, so it’s a mas­sive prob­lem, and huge­ly expen­sive for local author­i­ties and busi­ness­es to deal with.” Drones are giv­ing landown­ers, facil­i­ties and estates man­agers and busi­ness­es an extra advan­tage now for secu­ri­ty and pro­tec­tion. We will con­tin­ue to increase their deploy­ment as they add not only legal­ly use­ful evi­dence, but also, as in this instance, addi­tion­al pres­sure on unau­tho­rised squat­ters and fly-tippers.”

VPS used a DJI Inspire 2 Drone, with a high-qual­i­ty image pro­cess­ing sys­tem that com­bines with trav­el speeds that can shift from 0 to 50 mph (80 kph) in just 5 sec­onds. A dual bat­tery sys­tem pro­longs the flight time to a max­i­mum of 27 minutes.

A brief low-res­o­lu­tion social media footage show­ing the scale of the fly tip­ping is includ­ed with this release. High res­o­lu­tion avail­able by file trans­fer on request.

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Drone vid cap of flytipping
DJI Inspire 2