A council officer investigating if a couple was recycling ended up on the wrong end of surveillance - when he was captured on their home CCTV breaking their gate.

Bizarre footage shows the moment a Croydon Council "bin officer" landed his local authority with a £100 bill for repairs when he called at Bharat and Sheela Gandhi's South Norwood home to talk to them about recycling collections, only to be bamboozled by their padlocked gate.

After failing to find an entry, the bungling employee forced the gate off its hinges to open it before walking through.

Mr and Mrs Gandhi were not at their Dagnall Park home at the time, but captured the incident, which happened on April 9, on the CCTV system they installed after their house was burgled in 2011.

Croydon Council had decided to visit the house after noticing they were not leaving recycling out for collection.

But Mr and Mrs Gandhi instead take their waste to Factory Lane recycling centre by hand. And they were left fuming by what they see as "intrusion" by the council.

Mr Gandhi, aged 60, said: "The behaviour by the council person was inexcusable and even dangerous as he left our property vulnerable and without any reason."

The council, which says the breakage was accidental, has offered to refund the £100 repair costs.

But Mrs Gandhi, 56, said: "It is not about money, it is about the principle. It would have taken a lot of force to break the gate. There is a bell for people to ring, which he did not."

The couple, who run the local neighbourhood watch group and lost £20,000-worth of possessions when they were burgled, also raised security concerns about the fact the officer was not carrying ID when he returned to speak to them on April 17.

Mr Gandhi said: "Does that not encourage other people to impersonate council officials, which can endanger safety especially vulnerable residents?"

A council spokesman said: "We’re waiting for details of the necessary repairs and we will compensate the home owners appropriately for this accidental damage.

"Staff on the team have been reminded of the importance of carrying their ID at all times and if, as in this case, they have left it at home, a temporary form of identification will be arranged."

Caught on camera: man vs gate

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