Two men convicted of pollution offences in Huddersfield have become the first to be prosecuted using new "spy" cameras.
And councillors who funded the covert system vowed: We'll use it again and again.
The new surveillance service to tackle anti-social behaviour has secured its first conviction.
As reported in the Examiner yesterday, the two Huddersfield men received fines and costs totalling more than £6,000 and five-year anti-social behaviour orders after covert recording equipment caught them polluting the environment in Fartown.
James Harrington, 35, of Dewhurst Road, Fartown, and David Kavanagh, 37, of Norman Road, Birkby, were convicted at Huddersfield Magistrates' Court this week of charges of cable burning in June 2006.
Harrington was fined £4,000 for a total of four offences of cable burning plus costs of £860.39. Kavanagh was fined £1,000 for one offence of cable burning plus costs of £612.66.
They were also made the subject of five-year post-conviction anti-social behaviour orders.
Clr Khizar Iqbal, who chairs the Kirklees Safer Communities Partnership, said: "Everyone has a right to feel safe and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.
"The latest surveillance technology is a useful weapon in our armoury. It provides irrefutable evidence for the courts to prosecute perpetrators.
"We will use it whenever appropriate across Kirklees."
Clr Martyn Bolt, Kirklees Cabinet member for the Environment, said: "This kind of activity is damaging to the environment and I support the action taken by the court in this case."
Cable burning to remove insulation and recover the metal inside is an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993.
The anti-social behaviour orders prohibit both men from using any land or premises in a manner that is likely to cause a nuisance.
Bill Swap, co-ordinator with the Kirklees Anti-Social Behaviour Unit, said: "This case was going on since 2005.
"Complaints were made to environmental services about people burning cable in the garden.
"This caused plumes of noxious, acrid-smelling smoke to pollute the area. Several visits were made to the area but the case could not be proven even though the remains of fires were visible.
"In June 2006, the Partnership Surveillance Service was asked to install surveillance equipment.
"Hidden recording machines capable of working continuously, and providing remote access to evidence without the need for repeated visits, were used.
"Within a few days, the operation captured separate incidents over an eight-day period where burning took place in the early hours of the morning."
The Partnership Surveillance Service was introduced in April 2006 and is equipped with the latest audio and visual covert and overt technology.
It is used as an additional resource to confirm anti-social behaviour incidents, identify perpetrators and protect victims and witnesses, enabling Kirklees Anti-Social Behaviour Unit to collect evidence for court proceedings.
All surveillance is carried out with appropriate checks in place to ensure that the technique is used rigorously and is legally sound.