South Tyneside Council suspended three binmen after allegations of drinking while out on their round in the borough, it has been revealed.
It is understood two are accused to have been under the influence while collecting bins.
The third man, the driver of the bin wagon, has also been suspended in relation to his role as a supervisor.
There is no suggestion he was under the influence of alcohol at the time or that he committed any driving offence.
All three men, members of a council waste services team, have been suspended pending the outcome of an internal investigation into the alleged incident on Saturday, December 27, last year.
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council confirmed that a probe had been launched.
He added: “We are aware of the alleged incident and the matter is subject to an internal investigation. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.
“However our ongoing investigations do not relate to any driving offences.”
A source has claimed that the workers “could hardly stand” and “were staggering about” on the day of the alleged incident.
It has been reported that one worker passed out at the scene, while another “staggered home”.
The specific route the bin lorry took on the day in question has not been disclosed.