A day in the life of a flytipping investigator

At Thirteen our estates team take great pride in creating neighbourhoods where our customers are proud to live. We're highlighting how Thirteen is taking action to crack down on flytipping and is working with partner organisations to ensure those dumping rubbish are prosecuted. Lead estates technician and flytipping investigator Dave Fielden has a very unique job role. We take a look behind the scenes, as he shares a glimpse of a typical day in his life at work.

Flytipping Investigator Landscape


A flytipping investigator isn’t a job that many people know about and it’s certainly not the easiest, but for me, seeing the difference we can make by working together on the estates, makes it worthwhile.

I’ll generally start work at 8am and I’ll check in to see where there’s been reports of flytipping. The team log anything that’s been reported onto BigChange - the system we use to make mobile working more efficient and allows us to pinpoint the exact location we need to investigate.

It’s possible that I can receive up to 15 reports of flytipping on Thirteen’s land in one day to investigate, but it varies from day to day. Anyone can report flytipping on their estate and we encourage it.

We’ve made it even easier to report flytipping directly to the estate services team by filling in a simple form on our website too.

Flytipping can include anything from old mattresses, chairs, broken fridges and general household waste.

Working in partnership

I’ll head to my first flytipping report to look for evidence. Often there’s personal identification within the rubbish. I’ll take photographs, cordon off areas with yellow tape and display a notice, to reassure those living close by that the issue is being dealt with. Once the evidence has been gathered, I’ll work closely with our caretaking service to arrange for the waste to be cleared.  

It’s important to work well with partner organisations, such as the local authority and that I understand the enforcement process, so that when I find evidence, it’s reported. I’ve seen a number of fines up to £400 issued and many which are being processed. I’ll have regular update meetings with the local authority, so we can review any ongoing cases and discuss potential hotspot areas.

My job role is what’s classed at Thirteen as ‘roaming’ and I have flexibility to plan my day to ensure it’s the most productive it can be. I’ll spend a lot of time out on the estates, but equally the admin which complements the role is vital and I can do that from wherever is the most convenient location, whether that’s one of our office hubs or at home. 


We use data to identify where the flytipping hotspots are and I’ll take a proactive approach to visit those areas, reminding our customers what to look out for and how they can report incidents of flytipping.

I enjoy working on the estates, meeting customers and working with local Councillors. The more we work together, we know we can make a bigger impact.

Maintaining our estates to the highest possible standard is something which all of the estates team work really hard to do and it’s a real team effort. I spend some time carrying out estate audits using Photobook, which help us identify any areas for improvement.


Educating everyone plays a big part in what we’re aiming to achieve when it comes to flytipping and disposing of waste correctly, in the same way that I’ve taken responsibility to learn more about waste management to develop my own knowledge – something I’ve been lucky to be supported with at Thirteen.

Flytipping makes estates look untidy and it’s dangerous. Many people don’t realise that flytipping is a crime, but something which we talk about a lot is being aware of who you’re paying to take your rubbish away.

If a company is being paid to take your rubbish away, then dumps it, they could face an unlimited fine or prison sentence, but you could also be fined. We always remind people to carry out the relevant checks on who they’re asking to remove rubbish, get a waste carrier registration and a receipt.

Everyone can help play their part in making their community a better place to live – so if you see it – please report it.