Advertisements looking for people to sign up for the unpaid "environmental volunteer" jobs have been posted across the country in recent months. Or, to put it another way, councils are recruiting residents to report anyone who drops litter, fails to recycle their rubbish properly, or who allows their dog to foul the streets.
Or to put yet another way, our government is paying people to spy and grass their neighbours up.
From our pals at the Taxpayers' Alliance:
"Snooping on your neighbours to report recycling infringements sounds like something straight out of the East German Stasi's copybook. With council tax so high, the last thing people want to pay for is an army of busybodies peering through their net curtains at their neighbours as they put out their rubbish."
Typically, the Local Government Association said:
"Environment volunteers care passionately about their area and want to protect it. They are not snoopers. They will help councils cut crime and make places cleaner, greener and safer."
No, they are spies and grasses, it's a simple as that and this is utterly deplorable.