Tesco has used a drone to gather evidence of fly-tipping adjacent to one of its stores.
Travellers with some 20 caravans had set up a fly-tipping operation next to the Tesco Extra in Kingston-upon-Thames.
Police often cannot act without proof of unlawful activity, so Tesco called in property security specialist VPS Security Services to use a DJI Inspire 2 drone to gather evidence, flown from the supermarket roof (pictured).
VPS said that once those involved realised they were being watched, they turned away vehicles that had come to fly-tip and reloaded their own vehicles with some previously dumped rubbish.
Each 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 much of their rubbish with them. The remaining waste cost £30,000 to remove safely, but VPS said the expense would have been far higher if the situation had persisted.
Managing director Tom Acland said: “Drones are giving landowners, facilities and estates managers, and businesses an extra advantage for security and protection.
“We will continue to increase their deployment because drones add not only legally useful evidence but also, as in this instance, additional pressure on unauthorised squatters and fly-tippers.”
The DJI Inspire 2 drone can increase speed from 0-50mph in five seconds and uses a dual-battery system that allows a maximum 27 minutes of flight time.