Ripa. Meant for terrorists. Used on gardeners.

Over at This is Croydon Today, a story that should be unbelievable but actually shows something so increasingly common that it is likely to produce shrugs instead.  The Council has used Ripa covert surveillance Prune-a-hedgeto try to catch a man trimming a tree. He hadn't stolen it – he'd pruned it. The council hunted through the records of mobile telephones in the area to find out who had done it.

Anyone who dreams that councils use Ripa powers responsibly should listen to this example.  It is a disgrace that unelected officials are snooping on us like this – and it happens all the time.

These powers are meant for terrorism and serious crimes – but they are abused every single day.

All Croydonians will be naturally be wondering who else has been spied on like this.  And so should you.

This sort of absurd excess shows why no Ripa reform short of banning councils from using these powers at all will ever be enough.

By Alex Deane