Bermondsey estate residents left with piles of rubbish after communal bins stolen

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter 

Residents on an estate have been left stepping over stinking piles of rubbish after thieves stole six bins from their estate.

Families on the Four Squares estate in Bermondsey have hit out at “crooks” who they claim have been taking their bins since September 2022.

They say waste has stacked up outside their homes attracting rats since the communal waste containers began to be stolen last year.

Bags of rubbish piled up on the Four Squares estate in Bermondsey (Picture: Robert Firth)

Residents have been left baffled by how thieves have managed to escape with the 60kg bins without getting caught. Some believe organised gangs are behind the thefts and are selling the bins for scrap metal.

Mum Charlotte Carlisle, 33, said: “From what I’m aware people are stealing the bins to sell them. They’re massive bins on wheels – they’re not easy to just take.

“We’ve ended up with vermin and rubbish piling up on the floor because there’s a shortage of bins on the estate now. Something needs to be done about it.

“I’ve not heard anything about what is being done to sort it out, except that Veolia (the contractor) is coming around twice a week to pick up the rubbish that’s on the floor.”

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Six communal bins have been stolen from the Four Squares estate in Bermondsey since September 2022 (Picture: Robert Firth)

Mum-of-four Charlene Harvey-Pilot said she had had to cart her family’s rubbish down multiple flights of stairs for months, after the bin below her flat’s rubbish chute was stolen in September 2022.

The 30-year-old said: “The bin was stolen in September and we weren’t given any advice about what to do.

“I’m on my own with four kids and it’s not easy to carry the rubbish down all the stairs for months. My rubbish only started getting collected again this week.

“I only found out what had happened when I collared one of the rubbish collectors and he said the bins had been stolen and that they’d been found in Kent.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Rachel Bentley said it was unacceptable how bins were still being stolen, months after residents first reported the problem.

Labour-led Southwark council’s cabinet member for leisure, parks, streets and clean air, Cllr Catherine Rose, said: “We are working with more than one police force, and other local authorities, to prevent further thefts of waste collection containers from our council estates.

“At the Four Squares estate, we support people with twice weekly collections of black bag waste, and once weekly recycling. The waste collection team collects this from the small bins stores, outside every flat. Notices are up around the estate, asking residents to use this service.

“We are also working to improve security, to better protect the type of bins that are being stolen. Some containers have been identified and recovered, and police investigations are ongoing.

“There is a high cost of replacement and impact on the residents who need these bins. This is not a victimless crime, it blights people’s lives. We will work with the police and use all powers possible to support prosecution of the offenders.”

The police said the Four Squares estate housing officer had told them communal bins had also been stolen from Lucey Way and Rouel Way in Bermondsey, and from the Aylesbury estate in Walworth.

Pictured top: Charlotte Carlisle said rubbish has started to pile up on the estate since the bins were stolen (Picture: Robert Firth)

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