Episode 11 Caught Red Handed


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Episode 11

Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. A jewellery heist resembles a Hollywood movie scene as locals try to stop the armed robbers in their tracks.


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Transcript


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Thieves will steal our cash, our cars, our valuables,

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just about anything they can get their hands on.

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But now the police are using cutting-edge technology

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to catch the bad guys.

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CCTV is gold dust.

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-Great evidence for the police.

-We've got to have him stopped.

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Local councils,

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shops and businesses are fighting crime

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with their own tricks and traps.

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There's a eureka moment when you get that evidence.

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And the public are using secret cameras to make sure

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crooks get their comeuppance.

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It makes me feel so angry.

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He's paid the price. He's been dealt with.

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Yes! We've got her!

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So anyone who is up to no good had better think twice.

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They might just get caught red-handed.

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Today, this could be a scene from an exciting TV drama,

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but it's real life.

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An event so sudden and violent that the people in the shop

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and in the high street outside will remember it all their lives.

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They have knives and they have a hammer and they have axes.

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I felt my heart... I couldn't swallow.

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The local people outside are shocked and terrified.

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But bravely, they decide to do something about it.

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I said, "We have to help."

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I thought if I put anything in front of the bike, it would stop the bike.

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Also today... Malcolm, a disabled pensioner,

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is paid a seemingly friendly visit from a local Good Samaritan.

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We were actually quite happy.

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Malcolm had got a nice new neighbour.

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But this nice new neighbour is out to steal Malcolm's money.

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What's that out your window there?

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But Malcolm's deceitful friend is being deceived herself.

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And a rogues' gallery.

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Three cheats and liars who learnt the truth

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of those two well-known phrases -

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cheats never prosper, and the camera never lies.

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First, if you're out shopping in the high street and suddenly see a

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violent raid like this happening to a shop, what do you do?

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Run? Shout for help?

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Get involved? Well,

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that's the choice that faced these people in this busy London street,

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and what they did was quite extraordinary.

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Kingsbury, in North West London, is a multicultural community.

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There's a cluster of shops and restaurants along the main road

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that had been opened by families from Iraq.

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Sami moved here three years ago to begin a jewellery business.

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His family left Iraq when he was just 13 years old,

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after war broke out with neighbouring Iran.

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My father was...

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..not happy with this, so we're coming out of Iraq.

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As refugees, Sami and his family lived in Copenhagen for many years.

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He became fluent in Danish and, in his mid-20s,

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renovated and opened his first jewellery shop.

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We start very simple and small, but our business grow very quick.

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Then, in 2013,

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Sami brought his family to London

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because he wanted his children to have an English education.

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He identified Kingsbury as a good spot to open a jeweller's.

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But first, the family had to spend many months of hard labour

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sorting out some premises.

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We started from zero.

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My kids, my wife, they was also with me here.

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We worked so hard to build the shop.

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When they opened, the business soon began to grow.

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Sami's son Amin was keen to learn the trade.

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Being in the shop and seeing what is going on around you,

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even though I'm not doing much, cos I was a kid,

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you start to pick up on the business.

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Things are going well for Sami and his family,

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but then they were put through a terrifying ordeal

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which was to test them and their neighbours to the limit.

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It's early afternoon on a Monday in September.

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Sami's jewellery shop's CCTV cameras show a busy main road outside,

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and inside, there is Sami, working with a colleague and his son Mehdi.

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It was two o'clock.

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I was in this area, speaking with a customer.

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Meanwhile, just down the road,

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the owner of an Iraqi restaurant, Haidar,

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is standing in the street

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when he hears something that catches his attention.

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I saw four motorbikes.

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They went to the jeweller.

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I feel there is something bad happening.

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I have been through...three wars.

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I am so sensitive towards these things.

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I said, "This is not right.

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"This is going to be very bad.

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"I think it is a robbery."

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Inside the jeweller's, Sami is concentrating on some customers.

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Then, he hears someone kicking at the front entrance.

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It is a security door,

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normally only unlocked when letting customers in and out.

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I think, what has happened?

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In this second, they start smashing the door.

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I was so worried about the customer and ourselves and my son and

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colleague.

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Sami's son immediately presses the alarm.

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When we first hit the alarm, all the neighbours,

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they hear there has happened something here.

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The pounding from the robbers battering ram

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echoes around the street,

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and Haidar hears it.

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That noise...

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Unfortunately, that has got a very bad memory to me.

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When I heard that noise, I couldn't do anything, I just, like, jammed.

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I just stayed in one place.

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Locals come to see what is going on.

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Some start filming with their mobile phones.

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Haidar is now standing outside his restaurant with his staff,

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just out of this camera's picture.

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The robbers have now smashed through Sami's front entrance

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and are starting on the interior door that's also locked.

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More than 14 or 13 times, they hit the glass door.

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Sami and his colleagues pick up baseball bats that are kept at hand

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to protect their jewellery.

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This is our business, we did that from zero with hard work.

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How can I leave them to take our stuff?

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But there are seven robbers, Sami and his staff are outnumbered,

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and they see that the robbers are heavily armed.

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When I saw they have knives and they have hammers and they have axes,

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and they can hit us -

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my son there, my colleague there, me and customers -

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so I tell them, "Go back!"

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When the robbers burst in,

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the terrified customers manage to run past them.

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Sami and his colleagues dash into a back room where they locked the door

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and call 999.

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One of the customers is so panic stricken,

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she trips and has to be dragged to safety.

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Trapped in the back office,

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Sami hears the glass cabinets out front being smashed to bits.

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This was very bad feeling, because in the second, I feel

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they break my life.

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Outside, a crowd is gathering.

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A student from the neighbourhood, Jaffar,

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is on his way home from school.

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I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

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I could believe my eyes.

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Here is the street I have been visiting for, like,

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six years, and seeing that really shocked me.

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Three of the robbers stay outside the shop to scare off anyone nearby.

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We were so panicked what to do.

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We don't know what they're holding in their hand.

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We thought, gun.

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Haidar thinks about tackling the lookout men,

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but decides it is too dangerous.

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Maybe because of the big responsibility I have -

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I have so many people who work for me, I have to look after them.

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From inside the backroom,

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Sami can hear there is chaos taking place on the other side of the door.

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We hear all the glass and alarm and many voices.

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It was very terrible.

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Very terrible.

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In the street,

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the pressure builds in the crowd for someone to do something.

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As a defiant gesture, a man throws a large knife towards the lookout men.

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Haidar's thoughts turn towards Sami inside the shop.

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I can't imagine what is going to happen to that man.

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I felt my heart...

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I couldn't swallow. One moment, I said, "We have to help."

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And help they do.

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With great courage.

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Oh, my God.

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Later, as the gang of robbers get ready to leave,

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the locals surge forward.

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They grabbed whatever they could find, from crates, wood, everything.

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And they just started attacking the thieves.

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And Haidar risks his life trying to stop them getting away.

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I said, "This is the best moment to hit them."

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Go on, go on, they've captured him.

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And now, liar, liar, liar.

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Three fraudsters who have been caught out on camera.

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First, there is this canteen chef,

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who claimed for personal injuries after a fall at work.

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Spotting somebody mopping the floor,

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the woman sees the chance to clean up in a whole different way -

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by faking a tumble.

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Whoops-a-daisy!

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The cheeky chef makes a right meal of it.

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She then takes three weeks off work,

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saying she has suffered multiple injuries.

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She also cooks up a claim for compensation,

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but the insurance company show this video to the police and she is

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convicted of fraud by false representation.

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Now, that really hurts.

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If you think that's shameless, look at this fraudulent fellow.

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He has just got out of his car at a supermarket when,

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a few moments later, another shopper backs into his vehicle.

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Not exactly a major incident,

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but the rotter in the red shirt later claims

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£2,000 for damage to his car

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and a further £5,000

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complaining the collision has injured his neck and back,

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which is strange, seeing as he was nowhere near the car at the time.

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Crash, bang, codswallop.

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When the police fraud department find out about it,

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he gets an official police caution and it goes on his record.

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But if there is a prize for telling porkies,

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this bodybuilder in the Mr Universe contest would be a strong,

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very strong contender.

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Over the years, he has swindled more than £7,000 of taxpayers' money

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in disability allowance.

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Apparently, he struggles to walk and needs a wheelchair.

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Mmmm.

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But when investigators from the Department of Work and Pensions

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muscled in and secretly filmed him flexing his biceps, the game was up.

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He was jailed for 12 months for benefit fraud.

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Stretching his pecs in public has earned him a stretch in prison.

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Having helpful neighbours is useful in times of need.

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But beware, the neighbour who seems friendly on the surface

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might actually be nothing of the sort.

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A camera hidden in a disabled pensioner's house

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shows his new-found friend

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from next door to be something of a wolf in sheep's clothing.

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The only reason why she befriended him was to take advantage

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in whichever way she could.

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Cheadle Village, in Greater Manchester,

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has been home to Malcolm his whole life.

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Malcolm has suffered from multiple sclerosis since his teens.

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But that has never stopped him from being a favourite uncle

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for his niece Louise, especially in her childhood.

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He was a really lovely uncle.

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He had always got a little present for me,

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he'd play a little game with me.

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We didn't have a car when we were younger, so he would take me places.

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And he was just an all-round nice guy to be around.

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Until recently, because of his MS,

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Malcolm has never moved out of the same family home.

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He lived in the house that he was born in,

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and he did seem quite happy,

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living with my Nana, and they just really looked after each other.

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When his mum died, Malcolm continued living in the house alone,

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but started showing signs of dementia.

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His family visited often,

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and they noticed his new next-door neighbour had started to call round

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a lot, too.

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He would make reference to her and say, "Oh,

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"she came around this morning and she brought me a bacon butty,"

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so we were actually quite happy to think that, you know,

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he'd got a nice new neighbour.

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As a family, when you're not actually living on his doorstep,

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that is kind of nice and reassuring to know.

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But it soon became apparent that Malcolm's Good Samaritan

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was nothing of the sort.

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It's midsummer, and Louise's family suddenly start getting phone calls

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from Malcolm asking for money,

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which is odd, because he has never normally needed any help with cash.

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At first we did think,

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it has got to have something to do

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with this suspected dementia that we think he's got.

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But it is not just more money that Malcolm is getting through,

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it is also household items and food.

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Malcolm, not being able to explain

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why one day he'd have a full fridge

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and the next day it would be half empty,

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it just all seemed really weird.

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Then, on one visit to his house,

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Louise finds a shop receipt for expensive goods

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that Malcolm has paid for.

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There are a number of items on this receipt that Malcolm wouldn't have

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bought and that weren't in his house,

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for example there was a laptop,

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some jewellery.

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Malcolm didn't recall these items being bought.

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He'd never seen them.

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It is not just his family who feel all is not right with Malcolm.

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His social worker calls Louise because she is worried

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about a new friend who keeps calling on him.

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She was really concerned that Malcolm's neighbour

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always seemed to be in the house when she was there.

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She went so far as to say that she felt that she was even perhaps

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trying to monitor her interactions with Malcolm.

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Malcolm's family fear the over-friendly neighbour

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is taking advantage.

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He was just so vulnerable, and we felt that she was grooming him.

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But Malcolm just wouldn't hear a bad word being said about her.

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The police are sympathetic to the family's plight.

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But there is no evidence to take the neighbour to court.

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It was too circumstantial,

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and they suggested that we really needed to get something on camera.

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Louise decides to get help from an old acquaintance called Paul,

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who was in the police for 32 years.

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He is now a private detective.

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We can't show his face because of the confidential nature of his work.

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Having experienced dementia in my own family,

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I fully understood the situation she was in,

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and I think, out of the jobs I do,

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the actual capture of somebody that's stealing

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from a vulnerable person,

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that is probably the one where we get the most satisfaction.

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Paul's an expert at using surveillance techniques

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and technology to establish whether suspects are up to no good.

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You can either capture them and bring them to justice,

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or you can actually prove that they are innocent

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and that their integrity is at the highest level.

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Louise and Paul come up with a plan.

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They set up a covert camera

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in Malcolm's front room while he's out

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and Louise leaves some money in sight.

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I put a £20 note behind the clock on the mantelpiece.

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And everything was ready.

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They leave to wait and see what happens.

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The camera is set up to trigger when it senses motion.

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Malcolm is now at home and sitting in his favourite chair.

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Louise placed a £20 note beside this clock.

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Malcolm is visited daily by carers, who Louise trusts,

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and she primes then to phone her if they notice that the £20 note has

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gone. She doesn't have to wait long for news.

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The very next day,

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I got a call from the carer that had gone to see Malcolm to tell me that

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the money had gone.

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Private Detective Paul retrieves the camera footage.

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We just couldn't believe what we were seeing.

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I was speechless.

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This is what the camera reveals.

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The neighbour has just popped in.

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She's on her way to the shops and Malcolm asks her

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if she wouldn't mind getting him a newspaper.

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Yeah, of course I will.

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How are you, all right?

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-Eh?

-Have I got any money?

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Yeah. Eh?

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I've not got a penny.

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What paper is it?

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Then she spots the money by the clock.

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The Sun?

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That's all right.

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What's all that on your window there?

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She distracts Malcolm and steals the cash.

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Here it is again.

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Then she continues chatting, as if nothing has happened.

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Oh, it's not. There's something shining through.

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The Sun?

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I just couldn't believe how cold and calculated it was.

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I was absolutely horrified and I felt sick.

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That's all right.

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The crime couldn't be more clear-cut.

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Oh, it's not. There's something shining through.

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The Sun?

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The woman never comes back with the newspaper.

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All she saw in Malcolm was

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a vulnerable old guy with dementia.

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The only reason why she befriended him

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was so that she could groom him in

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order to take advantage of him in whichever way she could.

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Louise takes the camera footage to the police,

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and they arrest Malcolm's so-called friend.

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She denied that she had stolen it,

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and her explanation was that he owed her the money.

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Which...

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I just find...

0:19:460:19:48

amazing, that she thought that the police would fall for that.

0:19:480:19:53

She later changes her plea to guilty.

0:19:530:19:55

In court, for stealing the £20, she was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison,

0:20:000:20:05

suspended for a year,

0:20:050:20:07

a supervision order was put in place and she was also ordered to do 120

0:20:070:20:12

hours of unpaid work.

0:20:120:20:14

Thanks to the CCTV evidence,

0:20:160:20:19

Malcolm will never be exploited by her again.

0:20:190:20:23

Justice was done.

0:20:230:20:24

She did get sentenced,

0:20:240:20:27

and also their was a restraining order put out

0:20:270:20:30

against her for Malcolm,

0:20:300:20:31

which made us feel safer

0:20:310:20:34

in that we knew that she wouldn't be able to carry on

0:20:340:20:38

doing what she'd been doing.

0:20:380:20:40

Soon after her arrest, the woman left the area.

0:20:400:20:44

Malcolm continued living in the family home until recently,

0:20:440:20:47

when his declining health reached the point where he needs full-time

0:20:470:20:51

-care.

-Now he is in a care home,

0:20:510:20:53

but he is in a lovely place,

0:20:530:20:55

and he is really well looked after,

0:20:550:20:57

and he does seem to be really quite happy,

0:20:570:21:00

and we see him all the time, so everything is good now.

0:21:000:21:03

Thieves aren't just people who break into your home

0:21:090:21:12

or mug you on the street -

0:21:120:21:13

some are a lot more devious than that.

0:21:130:21:16

So, what can people do to avoid being deceived by somebody who seems

0:21:160:21:20

friendly on the surface but is really just after their cash?

0:21:200:21:25

It isn't just vulnerable people that can be targeted,

0:21:250:21:27

we are all potentially open to this kind of crime.

0:21:270:21:31

And it could just be that someone who pays you extra attention

0:21:310:21:36

or just wants to be your friend,

0:21:360:21:37

that could be the in that they need, really,

0:21:370:21:39

to start this grooming process.

0:21:390:21:41

They could be acquaintances,

0:21:410:21:43

or somebody you've met in a community centre

0:21:430:21:45

or somebody who lives in your block of flats.

0:21:450:21:47

So, this is more difficult,

0:21:470:21:48

because actually you have a relationship with them,

0:21:480:21:50

and we, by nature, trust people.

0:21:500:21:52

Confidence tricksters often start the relationships by borrowing money

0:21:520:21:58

and actually paying you back

0:21:580:21:59

that money to gain your trust and confidence.

0:21:590:22:01

People who are trying to deceive you will try and separate you from

0:22:010:22:05

friends and family members,

0:22:050:22:07

because, deep down, they know that they are going to give you

0:22:070:22:09

the advice to steer well clear of this individual.

0:22:090:22:11

I would always advise never to lend money to anyone

0:22:110:22:15

that you've only just met.

0:22:150:22:17

Back down to Kingsbury,

0:22:260:22:28

and the road that has a small community

0:22:280:22:30

of Middle Eastern shops and restaurants.

0:22:300:22:32

Seven armed men are robbing a jeweller's in broad daylight.

0:22:340:22:38

They are banking on fear to keep back a crowd

0:22:380:22:41

that is gathering in the street.

0:22:410:22:43

Inside the jeweller's, the owner Sami and his son Mehdi,

0:22:430:22:46

along with a colleague,

0:22:460:22:47

have been forced to take refuge in the back office.

0:22:470:22:50

Sami tries to get out, but is forced back.

0:22:500:22:53

When I open up the door,

0:22:530:22:55

one of these people is hitting the door with a big axe, like this.

0:22:550:23:01

Sami has no choice but to stay in the office.

0:23:010:23:04

The attack has now been going on for just over a minute.

0:23:040:23:08

But outside, shopkeepers and locals are gathering,

0:23:080:23:11

feeling the need to get involved.

0:23:110:23:13

A student, Jaffar, has just joined the crowd.

0:23:130:23:16

People were starting to appear from anywhere, like ordinary people,

0:23:160:23:20

all kinds of ethnicity, all they wanted to do was help out.

0:23:200:23:24

Local restaurant owner Haidar

0:23:240:23:26

and his staff are summoning the courage to tackle the robbers.

0:23:260:23:30

Most of the boys, they start shouting,

0:23:300:23:32

they give us some encouragement.

0:23:320:23:35

After 90 seconds ransacking the shop,

0:23:350:23:37

the robbers begin their getaway on motorbikes.

0:23:370:23:41

The moment they start leaving the place, to me,

0:23:410:23:44

this is the best moment to get into,

0:23:440:23:46

because they are not in an attacking position.

0:23:460:23:50

The locals surge forward.

0:23:500:23:51

When the thieves start running away, they start splitting.

0:23:530:23:56

Two bikers went to the other side, and two bikers came to our side.

0:23:560:24:00

Haidar grabs a trolley used to move pallets.

0:24:000:24:04

I thought, if I put anything in front of the bike,

0:24:040:24:07

it would stop the bike.

0:24:070:24:09

But the motorbikes are escaping too quickly.

0:24:090:24:11

A van driver does his bit to try and stop the robbers.

0:24:110:24:14

'Oh, my God!'

0:24:140:24:16

There was one van driver, as the moped was escaping,

0:24:160:24:18

he turned and hit the moped guy.

0:24:180:24:21

But he still managed to get away.

0:24:210:24:23

Then Haidar sees his chance when a second bike heads towards him.

0:24:230:24:27

The moment they jump to the other side of the kerb,

0:24:270:24:30

I chase them between the cars, they came to me, and just a little push,

0:24:300:24:35

they hit the kerb, and they fall off, they stop.

0:24:350:24:37

The driver's leg is caught under the bike, but his passenger leaps up.

0:24:390:24:44

He is trying to fight with me.

0:24:440:24:47

When he saw the crowd came behind me,

0:24:470:24:50

he decided to run towards the park.

0:24:500:24:54

The passenger gets away, but the driver is surrounded.

0:24:550:24:58

They just wanted to prevent him from leaving.

0:24:590:25:01

They literally put a crate on him,

0:25:010:25:03

just to hold him down so he couldn't get away.

0:25:030:25:06

Within minutes, the police arrive and deal with the robber.

0:25:060:25:09

Inside his jewellery shop, Sami is taking stock of what has happened,

0:25:120:25:16

unaware of what is going on outside.

0:25:160:25:19

In that second, I felt

0:25:190:25:23

that everything's broken.

0:25:230:25:26

I feel like everything is gone.

0:25:260:25:28

It was so, so bad.

0:25:280:25:32

But when Sami hears that one of the robbers has been caught,

0:25:320:25:35

he goes outside and sees all his neighbours in the street.

0:25:350:25:38

When I am coming out, and I saw the people,

0:25:400:25:43

they want to help us,

0:25:430:25:45

my feelings, they changed.

0:25:450:25:47

From down to up.

0:25:470:25:50

On the other side of the road,

0:25:520:25:53

jewellery is spilled all over the pavement.

0:25:530:25:56

Even though the locals could pocket it in all the commotion,

0:25:560:25:59

they pick it up to return to Sami.

0:25:590:26:02

We found that bike has a lot of gold.

0:26:020:26:05

At that moment, I saw something, I really liked it.

0:26:050:26:10

The community gathered together.

0:26:100:26:12

And they start collecting all the gold.

0:26:120:26:16

Witnessing that made me, like, honestly,

0:26:160:26:18

it made me really happy at that moment.

0:26:180:26:20

And the way people cared for Sam was amazing.

0:26:200:26:24

There is an old man, he's got a very big problem with his spine,

0:26:250:26:28

I know him personally,

0:26:280:26:30

but he took the responsibility

0:26:300:26:32

to hold that gold and to bring every single

0:26:320:26:35

piece back to that man.

0:26:350:26:39

His neighbours helping him in his time of need

0:26:390:26:41

means the world to Sami.

0:26:410:26:43

There was more than ten, 15 people, they bring the gold to me.

0:26:430:26:49

I can't remember all.

0:26:490:26:51

At that time, I felt...

0:26:510:26:55

"I am OK. This means I am not alone, because we have these friends."

0:26:550:27:01

And always I say, many thanks for them.

0:27:010:27:05

By contrast, the robber was left high and dry by his friends.

0:27:050:27:10

In court, he was sentenced

0:27:140:27:16

to five-and-a-half years in prison for the robbery

0:27:160:27:18

and other offences.

0:27:180:27:20

Sami didn't want to let the attack ruin his business.

0:27:250:27:28

He made his shop more secure,

0:27:280:27:30

worked hard to replace the stolen jewellery,

0:27:300:27:32

and a few months later, he felt he was ready to open his shop again.

0:27:320:27:37

We were so scared in the beginning.

0:27:370:27:40

But we saw something that is not in our mind.

0:27:400:27:45

People, they buy from us more than before.

0:27:450:27:49

They come and they say, "Well done, neighbour, well done."

0:27:490:27:54

Good area.

0:27:540:27:56

The way the locals united during the robbery

0:27:580:28:00

will be remembered for a long time in Kingsbury.

0:28:000:28:04

What they did for us is going to make the area safer now.

0:28:040:28:08

The police came and said this to us, they were like, "What you just did,

0:28:080:28:11

"that's something very special that not many do."

0:28:110:28:13

And they said if something like that was to happen in every other area,

0:28:130:28:17

then crime is going to get reduced so much.

0:28:170:28:19

That's all for today.

0:28:260:28:27

Join us next time to see some more villains getting

0:28:270:28:30

their just deserts when they're caught red-handed.

0:28:300:28:33

Dom Littlewood looks at a jewellery heist that's more like a scene from a Hollywood movie as locals try to stop the armed robbers in their tracks. And a disabled pensioner is deceived in his own home by a supposed Good Samaritan.