SNEAKY Solihull Council officials have confirmed using the controversial RIPA surveillance operations 31 times during the past 12 months.
It was a reduction on the previous year’s figures of 44 - but according to details released last week, only resulted in one prosecution.
The practice of spying on residents has proved a hot topic of debate to say the least. Officials claim the surveillance tactic is necessary to provide vital evidence.
In the past year, Solihull Council have used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, known as RIPA no less than 16 times in their attempts to prosecute rogue builders - by far the most popular use of its power in Solihull.
Foreign lottery fraud, illegal tobacco sales and anti-social behaviour also figure high on the list, while noise monitoring featured heavily the year before.
However, Solihull Council is way down the list compared to some other local authorities.
Newcastle upon Tyne tops the list by a clear margin having used RIPA on a whopping 231 occasions over the past two years.
West Berkshire comes second, ahead of third-placed Walsall with Birmingham Council in fifth spot.
A Solihull Council spokesman said: “The council only uses its powers under the RIPA act where necessary and in a variety of circumstances. It’s also the case that some of the actions taken as a result of the investigations are still underway and prosecutions may be pending or currently in the system.”