Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Cute and sneaky trick allows council to introduce waste collection charge

Did you think your council introduced different bins for waste collection because it wanted you take part in recycling?


Highland Council has just given the game away as it get set to introduce a new charge to collect BROWN bins. From the beginning of July 2017, council tax payers can expect to pay an EXTRA £30 per year for the collection of garden and food waste. The service will be optional – take it or leave it.

The council says it expects to make an additional £660,000 through their clever lyengineered additional charge – saying it would have stopped the brown bin collection altogether otherwise:

“The garden waste collection service is not a statutory function which the Council has to provide.”

And who can argue with the council?

Via: Highland Council to charge for brown bin collection

I think this is a dirty and underhand trick, which we may see more councils adopt if nobody in Highland challenges the legality of this collection charge and the council’s claim that the collection concerned is not one of its statutory duties towards its council tax payers.

Beware segregated bins and collections

If your council has given you different wheelie bins for different classes of rubbish, then I suggest you ask your council if it is planning to divide its collections into statutory collections, obviously covered by what you pay for in your council tax, and non-statutory, for which they may introduce an optional additional charge, or you get to keep your own waste, for FREE!

Wheelie Bins - Wheelie Pricey?

Wheelie Bins – Wheelie Pricey?

Seriously council…

If you can pick and choose what you do and don’t charge for…

Can I pick and choose which council services I have to pay council tax for?

I’ve already been told I have to pay for services I don’t use, and never will, because that’s how council tax works.

Heads you win – tails I lose!

May 16, 2017 Posted by | council | , , , | Leave a comment

No more Shoplifters

While this could have been a happy little story about the restoration of the gallows on Glasgow Green, and the return of a once popular attraction there…

Before executions were held in Duke Street jail and later in Barlinnie, they were held at the entrance to Glasgow Green, in an area called Jocelyn Square facing what is now the High Court building in Saltmarket. The first executions there took place in 1814, and 67 men and four women were hanged there. It’s said they met their ends with their back to the court, facing the Green’s Nelson Monument.

An inscription in the flagstones there reads: “Jocelyn Gate. This area, formerly known as Jocelyn Square, was the site of both the famous Glasgow Fair and, until 1865 of public executions.”

Dr Edward Pritchard was the last to be hanged there in 1865, in an execution that was such a sensation it became one of the city’s greatest tourist attractions that year. Pritchard had been a respectable doctor established in Sauchiehall Street, but was convicted of murdering his wife and mother-in-law by poisoning.

Account of the day tell of thousands of people travelling to watch his execution on the gallows, filling the square and surrounding streets while drinking and celebrating his demise.

It’s not.

In fact, it’s just a sad little story about the loss of a shop sign I’ve enjoyed passing for a number of years.

The pic below was taken exactly one year ago.

But when I passed the same spot a few days ago – the sign was gone, and it looked as if the shop and its neighbours were undergoing a complete refit.

Must be one of the few ‘Shoplifters’ anyone will be sad to see gone.



May 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

The Illegals – SB04 HAM

Having seen the zeal with which the English Police Interceptors (seen on TV) seem to pull over illegally formed registrations/number plates, it seems very much to a casual observer that Police Scotland don’t see this as an offence worth dealing with on this side of the border.

I have a little collection of such plates, so might as well share.

2015 Hyundai i40 CRDi

Illegal spacing:

Hyundai i40 CRDi

Hyundai i40 CRDi [SB04 HAM]

May 15, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Where did the little old Austin go?

I wonder what happened to this little old car?

Baillieston Old Austin 01

Baillieston Old Austin 01

It was back in 2014 that I noticed its profile over a wall, and after that I got so used to seeing it that I forgot all about it as stopped registering with me.

So, since I wasn’t really looking or paying attention, I don’t have any idea when it disappeared, but I think it must have been a while ago.

As you can see, it’s definitely gone.

Baillieston Missing Austin

Baillieston Missing Austin

Wonder what happened to it.

While I only saw it from a distance, it did look solid enough to be restored, so I guess somebody probably made an offer and took it home to restore it.

They’re not worth a mint, so it wouldn’t be an expensive project, and the part aren’t going to cost an arm and a leg.

If you know about, drop a comment below.

May 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Just a gate – all that’s left of Loancroft

It was pure chance that I learned these gates were the only remains of a big house (mansion or villa) in Baillieston.

These pillars and some wrought iron fencing are all that remains of Loancroft House, which is now the site of the present Loancroft Care Home.

Loancroft Gates

Loancroft Gates

I can’t remember where I found this note about Loancroft, and searching online is futile since all the property and estate agents have their useless house sales web sites forced to the top any searches for a house, so ruin the usefulness of search tools.

That’s not helped by Loancroft House not being mentioned in the most common historic online references, since it’s long gone, nor does it appear in an old book which lists many of those that are gone, but has pictures and prints of many.

So, other than the name, and the gates, there’s not much I can add regarding the history of the old house.

If you anything, you could do worse than share it in the Comments below.

May 13, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

I once thought about opening a little museum – REALITY HURTS!

Seriously, I really did consider the possibility of opening a small museum dedicated to some aspects of electronics and computing.

I have enough ‘Old Crap’ (of the modern Internet era and just before) to make a display that could interest those involved, and even some older postwar goodies I rescued when I ‘scrapheaped’ some years ago.

However, although I had seen some small museums and collections being shown by enthusiasts around Scotland in similar areas of interest, it became clear that the economics of the idea worked for them as they were clearly independently wealthy or had a means of funding this, even it was as simple as having a home or domicile with space and access that meant they did not need any sort of premises to realise the idea.

While they do ask for donations from visitors (and usually give free access), even those with a small charge clearly do not run their venture from such funds. Having come from a few business setups, I really just couldn’t see any way to find my ideas, such was the limitation of reality.

It may be unrelated, but this was brought back to me by a couple of news items, the recent news that a museum dedicated to Jim Clark would open on the site where a collection to his memory had already been established for some years, it’s about to raise the final £300,000 towards the project in Duns in the Borders., and another that Aberdeen’s Gordon Highlanders Museum ‘could face closure’ – but will be fine if it can raise £100,000 a year for the next three years to keep it going.

Granted, £300,000 each for two much larger and differently organised ventures, but it’s still a reality check for anyone even thinking about playing this game.

Gordon Highlanders Museum

Gordon Highlanders Museum

May 12, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Would you go for a date in this car?

I’d actually walked past this Mini in Shettleston before the potential of the registration number occurred to me, but I almost automatically run the options in my head as I read a plate.

I don’t like personalised registrations that need the utilisation of a code-book (and illegal character spacing) to work out what the owner had in mind when they bought it.

Letter prefix ‘D’ means this is originally a 1986/7 issue, so not original to this 2005 Mini Cooper and a deliberate choice by the owner.

And it doesn’t take much imagination or effort (or a code-book) to read ‘Date Kill’ from ‘D8 KLL’.

Mini Cooper Registration D8 KLL

Mini Cooper

May 12, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Funny camera sign for illegal rubbish dumpers

I must have passed this sign dozens of times without realising it was there, warning anyone dumping rubbish around the official bins for the Alexandra pub in Dennistoun’s Bluevale Street that they were ‘on camera’.

Camera Dump Sign

Camera Dump Sign

And the best bit?

Follow the arrow on the sign and there actually is a camera to be found there – whether or not it’s real, still works, or is connected to a recorder…

That’s anyone’s guess.

Dump Camera

Dump Camera

May 11, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | 2 Comments

So you’re keeping cats out – seriously?

I’m surprised at how often I see ‘barriers’ similar to the slightly more ‘design engineered’ version pictured below.

They appear to be the product of cat-hating garden owners who know so little about cats that they think blocking of the bottom 50 cm or so of a wrought iron gate, gap around it, or space in the edge of a wall will magically stop cats wandering into their gardens and – “Doing their business”.

Given that ‘Cats are Liquid’, as demonstrated online, can jump many times their own height, are equipped with claws that can tackle any obstacle they can get a grip of to climb (but are directional so getting down can sometimes pose a problem), and pass through any gap wider than their whiskers – the idea is ever so slightly…SILLY.

Still, you have to admire the thought put into this effort, with a weighted bottom to make sure it stays sealed all the way to the ground.

It’s just a pity it’s WIDE OPEN from about 30 cm ABOVE the ground so a cat, or more likely a fox these day (the cats are not daft, and stay warm and well-fed indoors most of the time), can just walk straight in as if the barrier is just not there.

I suppose I should add that making it higher, or even putting in a solid gate is not really going to help, since I am visited by cats who can be seen looking at such gates one minute – then be seen a minute later… on the roof the house behind.

Barricaded Gate

Barricaded Gate (in your dreams)

May 10, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Compare and contrast ‘camera offenders’

I just made a post expressing some concern over the circumstances of a man who was arrested for drink-driving, and ended being placed on the Sex Offenders Register for taking pictures in public places, albeit while under the influence of drink.

Although he did not commit any actual offence (he foolishly admitted a Breach of the Peace (basically acknowledged to be a catch-all if no actual charge exists), or break any laws, he was also handed a 5 year camera ban.

Photography can be risky in the UK – just having a camera might get you into trouble

But only a few hours later I read news of someone who was clearly doing something ‘wrong’, with covert cameras hidden in toilets, and some 700 videos obtained using secret ‘filming’:

A finance director at Glasgow’s biggest social landlord hid spy-cams in the toilets at his workplace to secretly film colleagues.

Mark Logan, 48, walked free from Glasgow Sheriff Court despite admitting to secretly filming almost 700 videos including hundreds in the Wheatley Group office toilets between May 2015 and May 2016.

Logan, of Tweedsmuir Crescent in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, also pleaded guilty to a separate charge of sexual assault when he appeared at court in March this year.

When confronted about the videos he told bosses: “I am ashamed, I have been bottling it up for 20 years and don’t want to be gay.”

Logan, who has been placed on the sex offenders register, planted the cameras in digital clocks at the firm’s head office on Cochrane Street where he was employed until the recording devices were found last year.

The court heard Logan, who no longer works at the firm, also carried out the crime while on business trips to Edinburgh and London by filming colleagues against their knowledge.

In one video, he could be seen putting a device at the bedside table of one of his victims.

Via: Finance director secretly filmed workmates on toilet

Covert Digital Clock Camera

Covert Digital Clock Camera

As I noted in the first post, as regards the first case I mentioned…

But, I’m sorry, I don’t really see the problem with his video, taken in a public place.

Yet this second case has NO QUESTION regarding deliberate intent, planning, and clearly involved secret or covert ‘filming’…

His actions were not carried out in public, he was not even (as the first was said to be) ‘Under the influence’, and he was not doing anything that could, in any way, be said to be legitimately claimed to fall under Photographer’s Rights in the UK, or I suspect in most countries.

Yet the accused “walked free”.

This really does make the first case I mentioned look like even more of farce than it did a few hours ago, and more one of prudes or the ‘morally affronted’ making an example of someone that they think should taught a lesson.


May 9, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Surveillance | , , , | Leave a comment

Photography can be risky in the UK – just having a camera might get you into trouble

In a world where we are surrounded by people constantly taking pics and recording video with their smartphones, not to mention the pervasive sea of public and private surveillance cameras and CCTV we navigate as soon as we step into the street – and now the rise and rise of the dashcam – it’s almost strange that any sort of photographer with a camera STILL seems to be fair game for being picked on.

While anyone simply holding a smartphone could easily be taking covert pics and video without it being obvious, and probably not even be noticed, it’s still the person who chooses to take a step up in quality and control and use a ‘real’ (by which I mean an obviously recognisable item such as a dSLR, mirrorless, or even compact) camera who is seen as the ‘problem’.

Previous accounts have had hired thugs security staff state that they view anyone with such a camera as a ‘professional’ who they will challenge if they are seen pointing a camera in their direction, or toward the building/property they are guarding. Past cases have shown they will confront ‘photographers’, even if on public land (the street) and restrain them, even calling police to attend to a ‘suspected terrorist’ or some such nonsense. The police SHOULD be called, but by the photographer who has been assaulted by those hired thugs.

This was brought back to my mind in the media coverage of a man (often described as a ‘pensioner’, as if that was somehow relevant):

A man was caught using a video camera to film women and children at a busy shopping centre last summer, a court has heard.

John Kane, 67, recorded footage of more than 60 women in the Central Retail Park in Graham’s Road, Falkirk, and at a nearby Tesco store.

He also secretly filmed children playing outside a nearby branch of Next.

When Kane was arrested on a separate matter he tried to flush a memory card down a toilet, prosecutor Ann Orr told Falkirk Sheriff Court.

The card was analysed and found to contain 60 short videos, lasting between 50 seconds and three minutes.

Ms Orr told the court: “The recordings appeared to be of adult females at various shops in the Central Retail Park.

“The camera operator has the camera positioned to show the females from the waist down, focusing on their bare legs and zooming in on their bottoms.”

The depute fiscal said the memory card also contained three slightly longer videos, each about three minutes, showing children aged between six and 12.

It should also be noted he was not arrested or detained for this, but:

The court heard Kane was caught when he was arrested over a drink-driving offence and taken to Falkirk Police Station in July 2016.

It was then he tried to dispose of the memory card, which was recovered by officers who spotted him acting suspiciously.

Source: Man secretly filmed women and children at retail park – STV News 16 February 2017

Pensioner secretly filmed women’s legs – BBC News 17 February 2017

So it appears he was drinking, and acted inappropriately.

But, I’m sorry, I don’t really see the problem with his video, taken in a public place.

Go onto sites such as Flickr and you’ll find the same material being shared around the world, and not classified as ‘unsafe’ or similar.

As always, I don’t want – and can’t – go into the specifics of this particular case, as I was not in court and am not privy to all the evidence and information available to the court and those involved. All I know of is the limited information provided by the media.

However, like the accounts given by the media in similar cases, I actually find myself worried almost every time I raise my camera to my eye, and consciously survey the scene firstly for children, and then for anything that I may be accused of taking ‘secret’ or ‘covert’ pics of.

If I see anything that worries me, I’ll move on or find another location to avoid any misunderstanding.

I’m not a great ‘people’ photographer anyway, preferring vacant scenes, but now I’m beginning to think this preference may have saved me trouble in the past.

Here’s the development of the case against the man concerned, as I waited until the conclusion.

He’s not only been placed on the Sex Offender’s Register (for taking pics in a public place) but also banned from having ANY camera equipment for a period of five years. He also admitted committing a Breach of the Peace – a charge also known as a ‘catch all’ when there is no specific charge to be made.

Kane, of Breton Court, Falkirk, pleaded guilty to committing a breach of the peace by operating a recording device to obtain footage of women and children in a public place without their knowledge and consent between July 15 and 22, 2016.


Where is there a law or requirement in the UK for that consent to be obtained (in a public place, and not for someone like a film star or actor whose image is their livelihood, and potentially copyright or similarly protected)?

Man who filmed women and children’s legs faces camera ban – STV News 30 March 2017

Camera ban for pensioner who secretly filmed women’s legs – BBC News 4 May 2017

As I said, I can only really repeat media reporting as I was not in court, but this case, like many others against ‘photographers’ stinks.

Am I guilty of something?

It reminded me of a pic I created a while ago, and used for a bit of fun in a Forum discussion.

Thin and Thick girls

Thin and Thick

To explain, I didn’t TAKE this pic, but actually created it some time later.

It’s a crop of one corner of the original pic, taken of the street or road that was the subject, and in which this pair happened to be walking at the time it was taken. I didn’t really notice them, merely waited until the minimum number of bodies was probably present, then took the pic.

I didn’t feel any need, or legal obligation to run after them (or anyone else caught by chance in a pic) and ask for their consent to take the pic, or ask their permission to use it later.

See this guide – I didn’t, and don’t, think I have to… EVER!

UK Photographers Rights Guide v2

But since the above was not the picture I took, but merely one sixth of it, caught purely incidentally, I wouldn’t have done so anyway.

That I could produce later this from a small crop from a larger image is entirely down to the fact that my camera has a sensor that enables such an operation.

They are wearing long coat, jeans, trousers, boots. ‘Decent’, to some.

Had they had been wearing short skirts and had bare legs? ‘Indecent’, to some.

Would I now be being traced by the police as a pervert (even though it came from a crop and was not the pic taken) and face being fined for a Breach of the Peace (per the reasons invented above) AND placed on the Sex Offenders Register?


Would, or could, I become a major criminal of some sort merely by cropping out a small section of a picture I took, and only perhaps escape that fate due to some chance decision by those in the pic on what they chose to wear that day?

Not even a problem abroad

By coincidence, I spotted this post with advice to photographers, from a non-UK blog, where there ARE often more restrictions, but even this states:

8. Don’t Ask Permission
Like I said before, as long as you in the scoop of the law, there’s nothing to worry about. Just do it. Take your camera and shoot. Don’t think that you have to ask the local or anything like that for permission. If you want to photograph some face close-up, then just do it. Don’t ask, do it.

9. Don’t Apologize
Sometime there will be some people don’t like when you photograph something. Don’t apologize. You obey the law, what you did isn’t illegal. So you did nothing wrong, and there’s nothing to apologize for.

For example, let’s take a look at what happen in London. If you’re a photographer, especially architecture photographer, its (sic) really hard to take photograph of architecture. Because the treat of terrorism. They’re not allowed to photograph, they’re demanded to delete their photos, and sometime cops called. It’s not illegal to photograph building, but many photographer there been in trouble because of it. So if that happen to you just show them you’re photograph and if they ask you to delete it, then say no. You did nothing wrong.

From: 10 Thing You Never Do In Photography

May 9, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Surveillance | , , , | Leave a comment

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