The introduction of the 5p carrier bag charge has seen an explosion in the illegal carrier bag trade.
“You can buy an illegal carrier bag on the corner of any street in Britain” – the chilling words of a high-ranking policeman who wished to remain anonymous.
“The truth is; the police simply can’t cope. The streets are being flooded with cheap carrier bags from Eastern Europe and Africa, and since the introduction of the 5p charge, demand has gone through the roof.”
A carrier bag dealer took us through his stock.
“1p for Aldi or Lidl, 2p for Morrisons, 3p for Sainsburys and Tesco and fourpence for Marks and Sparks.”
Waitrose seemed conspicuous by its absence.
“Don’t touch Waitrose bags. Too hardcore for me. There’s a geezer in the flats who’ll do you some Waitrose bags but he’s serious, know what I mean? Proper villain.”
There are also concerns that the illegal bags may be dangerous.
“The truth is, we don’t know what goes into the production of these carrier bags,” said the anonymous policeman, wearily shaking his head.
“Heroin, bear spunk, anti-matter. It could literally be anything. I would urge anyone who has any of these bags to turn them in at their local police station where they will be safely destroyed.”
The Government seems proud of its Green credentials, but for the people who have to live in streets blighted by the illegal carrier bag trade, the reality echoes in the calls of street carrier bag dealers.
“Aldi, Lidl, Sainsburys; need any bags, mate?”