Undercover officers from Hampshire County Council have used controversial snooping powers 42 times over the past two years.
Trading standards wanted to check for evidence of car-clocking, fly-tipping, fake goods and shops suspected of selling cigarettes or alcohol to the under-18s.
In one case they were inquiring into disposal of dead farm animals.
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 was originally intended to combat terrorism and serious crime.
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