Biffa's blitz spirit keeps bin collections going after vehicle vandalism

Norwich City Council's refuse collection service was temporarily disrupted last month when a disgruntled former employee of the council's waste contractor, Biffa Municipal, smashed up a fleet of trucks in a fit of rage.

One of the smashed windscreens in the aftermath of the attack

One of the smashed windscreens in the aftermath of the attack

Upon entering the Biffa depot, the man took a hammer to the vehicles, ranging from large refuse trucks to smaller collection lorries, and smashed up windscreens, side windows, headlights and light clusters.

As a result, 22 out of 23 of the vehicles were effectively taken out of service for a short while. Police were alerted and once the vandal was arrested, Biffa's business manager Peter Greagsby drew up a swift plan of action which involved working through the night to repair the vehicles.

Vehicle supplier Orwell Trucks was contacted and staff immediately began trawling the company network to source parts for delivery to Norwich. Windscreen specialist AMG also despatched fitters and vehicle glass to the depot.

By the following morning, all but seven vehicles were in a fit state. This meant 90% of scheduled recycling and refuse collections could be carried out for Norwich's 63,000 properties that day.

Describing the original incident as "a complete shock that stunned us all", Biffa's regional manager, Dave Kenney, said of the recovery: "This was a tremendous team effort and demonstrated a commitment that was way above and beyond the call of duty - rather like a Blitz spirit.

"In less than 15 hours, we were almost able to field a full fleet which meant collection schedules, and residents, were largely unaffected."

Norwich City Council's head of citywide services, Adrian Akester, added: "My thanks go to all those involved who responded so quickly to this incident. Without everyone pulling together and working so hard, we would not have had a refuse service the following morning."

A local man has been bailed to appear in Norwich Crown Court in July.

Maxine Perella


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Waste & resource management
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