Council lifts lid on surveillance

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SURVEILLANCE operations were mounted over the past year to snare housing benefit fraudsters, people selling illegal goods and neighbours from hell.

Some 18 cases were authorised in the nine months up to December, compared with 22 in 2010, 24 in 2009 and 31 in 2008.

Sheffield Council officials said the cases in 2011 broke down into 10 allegations of anti-social behaviour, six of housing benefit fraud and two investigations into sale of illegal goods. Details of the cases were not revealed.

All surveillance operations were authorised under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which allows councils to snoop to gather evidence on those suspected of wrongdoing.