A cash-strapped council is spending a reported £24,000 on heat sensitive cameras to spot illegal immigrants from the sky.
Slough Council took the drastic step to curb the problem of people hiding in sheds and outhouses.
It sent an aircraft into the the sky with thermal-imaging equipment to map every building and pick up heat emitted from outbuildings, the Sunday Times reported.
Slough has seen a rapid population growth in recent years, putting pressure on public services, and an estimated 3,000 people are living there illegally.
Penalties are being issued to landlords where the so-called 'beds in sheds' are found.
Ray Haslam, of Slough Council, told the Sunday Times the images provided a "goldmine" of information, adding: “It provides an incredibly accurate picture of what’s actually on the ground and hands our investigators excellent intelligence.”
The council said its primary concern was for the people living in the sheds, in potentially dangerous circumstances.
In February, James Swindlehurst, the council's deputy leader, told the BBC: "The people in them generate waste, they use council services, they have a cost to the council that isn't being paid for by taxation."