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Every minute of every day, someone somewhere is getting burgled.
Doesn't sound good.
With an average of 92 break-ins an hour, it's a huge problem.
It never ceases to amaze me
how much mess these burglars cause for people.
For the victims of these crimes, it can take months or even years
to overcome the trauma.
Everywhere in the house is completely ransacked.
Everything we had stored was damaged.
You know, I don't have much myself.
But in this series, we are fighting back against the burglar.
-Police forcing entry!
Helping you to beef up your security...
Here we go.
..while the police catch the criminals.
Oh, yeah, feel safer now, a lot safer.
Everything's going to be fine for you, isn't it?
Today on Break-In Britain, I'm with Sharon and Glen,
who not only have to deal with the devastation of having their
home burgled - they're also miffed that the thieves stole their beer.
The ale! Is nothing safe?
Been upstairs, rifled through drawers, been through my jewellery.
-They've taken my beer.
'And we see the awful effect it has on Sharon.'
What if they want to come back and take the TV?
What if, when we go to work tomorrow or whatever...?
And you know, they shouldn't be in your house, should they?
And I'm in South Wales, where items left
dumped at the side of the road
lead to the discovery of a burglary.
What gives them the right to come into somebody else...?
What...? Do they think it is OK to do that, you know?
I would like to understand more about the way they're thinking.
In West Yorkshire there are more than 200 burglaries a week
and nearly half occur when nobody is home.
Whether you leave your house for a few hours or a few days,
an empty property is always more vulnerable to attack.
And when the owners are not home,
it falls to neighbours or family like Edith to pick up the pieces.
For 62-year-old Edith, finding the side door
of her nephew's home smashed in was chilling.
So I went up and had a look,
and then I phoned you and then I phoned Sharon.
No problem. When you've come, you've literally seen the damage to the door...?
I seen that and I pushed the door open,
but I daren't go right in in case they were still in.
Fair enough, fair enough.
When postal worker Sharon got home with husband Glen,
who is an upholsterer, they couldn't believe it had happened to them.
It just shows you. It's ridiculous.
Officers from West Yorkshire Police are on the case.
What property has been taken?
Definitely my iPad, cos that were in the room.
It's got a pink case on it.
There were a watch in there that is gone. That's gone.
It is clear Sharon and Glen are upset about the events.
They've rifled through that cupboard, they've been upstairs,
rifled through drawers, been through my jewellery.
-They have taken my beer.
-You got family photographs on that.
-Yeah, I have.
My grandson. His baby photographs, he's four.
My brother's wedding, our holidays, videos. I can't get them back.
Can I? It's things like that. That's sentimental to me.
-And how did you feel when you got that phone call?
-I felt sick.
Somebody has been in my house while we're at work.
And we've worked for everything we've got, and it isn't theirs to take.
It's upsetting that somebody you don't know, a total stranger,
can take your lock off your door and walk into your house.
Like in over 40% of burglaries,
the thieves forced their way in in broad daylight.
But what they didn't know was Big Brother was watching.
A neighbour's CCTV caught the brazen criminals in the act.
They aren't even running, are they? It's got to be someone local.
-It's somebody that lives... They're on foot.
-It will be.
..obviously that lives in Leeds 12 area.
There is a ginnel there, that's where they'll cut up. Or down.
So they're definitely local.
And they just think they can walk into your house. It's wrong.
I hope their hands drop off, anyway.
The footage has infuriated Glen and Sharon.
To see them walk, the way they have done it, come up and down,
-it's just like it's...
-Like it's their street, their house, their drive.
-It's not, it's our house.
I still can't believe somebody has come in my house.
I hate it, I hate the thought of it, and these people who walk
into your house and think, "I'll just take this, that and the other," might think that's OK,
but it's not OK cos I aren't going to sleep to night,
I'll tell you right now. I can feel it. I will not sleep.
-Because you'll be so worried about it?
-I'm upset about it.
It is upsetting, to be honest. It is, definitely. It is for her.
I mean, I'm her fella, but especially for...
What if they want to come back and take the TV?
Like when we go to work tomorrow or whatever?
You know, that's what you think, "What if they come in again?"
And you know, stuff is sentimental to you, isn't it?
It's not just about what you paid for things, it's like,
they shouldn't be in your house, should they?
In just 12 minutes, these thieves robbed Sharon not just of her
personal belongings, but of her peace of mind.
And although the TV was too large to take on foot,
Sharon's jewellery was ripe for the picking.
-And this is your bedroom?
-And they've been through your jewellery boxes?
Have they had anything?
My sister bought me, a couple of years ago, a nice
Vivienne Westwood necklace, that isn't there.
Until you actually look about...
I didn't realise Glen's watch had gone.
I'm trying to think. You know in your head when you're trying to think?
-You're in shock, your tired.
-Yeah, it's shock.
-And everything is a mess. It is difficult to think.
I've been up since five this morning, I'm usually showered and...
-Sat in your PJs by now.
-Sat in my PJs, getting ready for bed.
No early night for Sharon,
but at least her son is on hand to do a temporary fix on the back door.
But a lot more needs to be done to make her feel safe again.
-How do think you will sleep tonight?
-I don't think I will.
Got a massive headache, I don't think I will. I am panicking.
What are you panicking about?
In case they come back or whatever, because I'm thinking,
what if they've seen something and think, "We'll get a van"?
I know you're not feeling up to going into work
because of what has happened here today.
We want to sort that out for you. We've got a guy who can come round
and tell you exactly what you need, sort out the windows, the doors,
put a new lock on and sort you out with a decent alarm.
That would be brilliant. That would be great, yeah.
Sharon was quite angry, and to be honest with you, I don't blame her.
Someone has come into her house uninvited
and made her feel unsafe in her own home.
That's no way to live,
so I'm calling in the security experts to transform this house
from a burglar's best friends to his worst enemy.
The next day, crime reduction officer Nick Whitcombe
is on hand to assess the existing security - or lack of it.
He's spotted the lock Sharon's son has put in.
It's only temporary, Nick, we promise!
The patio doors don't have external keyholes, which is good news,
but this heavy umbrella stand could be used as a weapon,
and that is bad news.
Nick has got more than 30 years' police experience, and calls me
outside on a hunch about the alleyway -
the likely escape route of the burglars.
That's the make of the bottle that was stolen,
that's the bottle top there.
Look how it's bent. I bet that's teeth marks.
I bet they have opened it with their teeth.
You're going to collect this as evidence because you think...
There may be some DNA on that, I don't know.
'Could this really be one of Sharon's?'
The bottle, we'll give them a chance to do a bit of drinking a bit
-further up, and we'll no doubt find the bottle somewhere.
-Look, there's the bottle.
-There it is.
Nice, fresh, newly drunk out of.
Who knows? Did they take their gloves off at this point?
-And I presume it'll have the spit on it as well.
A bit of DNA on there, no doubt.
This ginnel may have provided the burglars with an undisturbed
getaway, but it has also provided us
with evidence that could be invaluable.
So, why did the burglars choose Sharon's house?
They'll have looked at the front door lock, which is a poor quality
Euro-Profile, very breakable lock.
-They probably think they'll find the same round the back.
The hedges there, the low wall, yes, they could easily hop over it.
Why not stick some nasty, spiky, horrible plants there?
Make them stop at the perimeter and hesitate.
Give them opportunity to look out of place.
-And what are your final thoughts, then?
-We need to cover that gap.
Space between the garage and wall
is enough for a criminal to slip through unobstructed.
Sharon's making their life too easy.
Out of 10, what would you give this property for security?
So, a lot of work to be done, and only one man to do it - Neil Goldup.
He's a security superstar,
beefing up hundreds of homes a year with state-of-the-art systems.
Right, better get cracking, then.
We'll be back later to see if the security upgrade stops Sharon feeling vulnerable.
Meanwhile, Dan is 270 miles away in Swansea,
where another unoccupied house has been targeted.
The rolling hills of Felindre, north of Swansea, may look
serene and peaceful, but burglary is still, sadly, a reality.
The moment you find out you've been burgled
is always a horrible shock.
You see the broken door or smashed window,
and then you know that your home has been violated.
Imagine how one couple felt when they were away for the weekend
and got a call to say that some of their most prized possessions
were found dumped in a fly tipping crime.
Possessions they thought were locked up safely at home.
Environment officer Sandy and civil servant Rosie have spent
the last seven years renovating their beautiful period cottage.
When they left Wales for a trip to Bath, they never imagined
the chain of events that would bring them home early.
How did you find out you'd been burgled?
It was weird, wasn't it?
We were in Bath at the time, and I got a phone call from my boss,
and we deal with environmental crime, such as fly tipping.
He had got a call to say that some material had been fly tipped.
He said, "We've got your warrant card here and your police notebook,"
and this sort of thing, and so I'm thinking, "That was in my briefcase in the bedroom."
And as we weren't here, I then phoned my neighbour up and said,
"Will you go round and have a look?"
So, they came round and phoned back and said, yes, the house was open.
Sandy and Rosie raced home.
The words "break-in" triggering some pretty scary thoughts.
A bit of a difficult journey, wasn't it?
Cos you don't know what to expect and you are sort of
imagining the worst, really, that everything is going to be trashed.
So not a very nice sort of feeling coming down.
What was the scene like when you came back?
Obviously the conservatory door,
you could see where they had gained entry, and upstairs
they had tipped out all the drawers, the cupboards in all the bedrooms,
and they had left great big, dirty footprints everywhere, hadn't they?
All over the carpets and things.
The thieves trashed the bedroom and ruined the conservatory doors.
But in doing so, they left vital evidence.
CSI find finger marks on the door,
but the smooth print means the criminals wore gloves.
But they still put their foot in it.
The force used to kick the door in has left a footprint,
and this will be cross-checked against thousands of known
criminals' footwear, and could turn up a match.
-What has gone?
-What's gone is your Christmas present.
Yes, a pair of wireless headphones,
which were sitting on the windowsill over there.
And then a load of copper and brass that was by the back of my workshop.
But that's not all.
And this is where Sandy said the wicker box was on top.
Yeah, the wicker box sat on there, in that area just there.
What had gone was a box, a raffia basket type of thing,
and inside there was random stuff, looks like junk to anybody else,
but there was my son's Scout belt from when he was nine,
and there was his hanky that had been embroidered to commemorate my brother's death.
And that's irreplaceable.
Doesn't matter how much money you get, you just can't replace it.
What meant so much to Sandy meant nothing to the burglars
and was found as part of the fly tipped material
just three miles away from their house.
Luckily enough, because of where they dumped them,
and the fact that they also took my ID, I've got them back,
which I wouldn't have done if they haven't taken my warrant card
with all my details on.
They could be in a hedge somewhere and I would never get it back.
So although it is horrible, I am just so chuffed that
it has come back, and that's what's important.
I'm so pleased for Sunday that she got her box of precious
mementos back, because it is those things that are priceless.
But even so, like most victims,
Sandy and Rosie feel disturbed by the intrusion.
It is horrible, the thought that somebody has been in your house.
We were relieved that there hasn't been more damage,
but just the thought that somebody could gain entrance so easily, and you don't know who it is.
Yeah, and also, now they know, sort of, what is in my workshop,
it makes you lose confidence about whether actually
somebody is going to pop back tonight and take the rest.
It does, it makes you nervous.
If it helps you out, we've got our security expect to pop round
and see where the weaknesses are.
-And we can maybe fix them up for you so it hopefully won't happen again.
That is absolutely, sort of... just fab.
The pair are holding up well, but this house needs
securing before night falls if they are going to feel protected.
We'll be back later to do just that.
Over in Lower Wortley in Leeds, Sharon still can't believe
her house was burgled in broad daylight,
the criminals caught on camera
strolling away with her iPad and jewellery.
What I hope is that CCTV helps catch who they are.
Because they won't have done it just once.
CCTV of this nature is really helpful in the hunt for criminals,
and the police will study the tape for clues to ID the men.
The bottle will be analysed for DNA, and if a match is made,
arrests will follow.
There is a chance Sharon's stuff will be recovered,
but until then, the list of losses keeps growing.
You've noticed since we were here last night that more things
-have gone missing.
My passports. My spare car key.
I know. I never even thought to look for.
These are all things that happen.
You don't think about these things, do you, when you are in shock?
There might be other stuff, but what I'm doing is, I'm writing it down.
Would you say you're feeling similar to how you did last night,
or is it sinking in a little bit more?
I keep thinking they might come back for my TV, because it is new.
I haven't even been out of the house today.
I haven't been out for any milk or anything
because you just daren't go out the house. I don't feel it is secure.
It is an awful feeling,
because you just think, are they going to come back?
'Don't fret, Sharon. Neil's here with his box of security tricks.'
I'll get on with fitting the room sensors,
-if you want to fit all the door contacts.
One on the side door, one on the front door, and patio doors out back.
Have you given Sharon a good telling off for not having an alarm on and working?
It wasn't really her fault.
It was there, but unfortunately it was broken,
so I can't blame her for not turning it on.
But she'll turn this one on, because it's easy to use.
She can turn them on when they go to bed at night, as well.
Cos obviously, Sharon is quite worried about somebody coming back.
All the stuff we are putting on, if they do come back,
they will just walk away cos they'll know they will not get in.
And are you going to stand at the back door with those muscles to protect her?
Don't need to! I'm confident that everything we put up...
Do you want him at your back door for the rest...?
You can stand at my back door, love.
An alarm like this costs around £200.
It is the number one defence against burglars,
and used in conjunction with window and door locks, it is going to
make Sharon's house the Fort Knox of family homes.
I'm going to fit this, it is called a Patlock.
Just clamp it onto your handles,
-push it, and that is all locked.
-It's a good security device. That handle won't go down. Nice and secure.
This is basically the same lock that was on the back door
that was really easily snapped,
so I'm going to replace it with a TS 007 three-star lock.
And as you can see, it has got this little bit here,
so if someone tries to get in, that bit snaps off first,
and these are really the only locks
that are recommended for these kind of plastic doors.
'So if you're thinking of improving your door security,
'remember the James Bond of locks, the TS 007,
'which should also have a three-star kitemark on the packaging.'
Getting a bit of a pro at these,
you'll have to employ me as your sidekick.
That's it, you're doing the locks, you're doing the alarms now.
I could retire and just let you do it.
You pretty much have retired.
-Not seen you do anything since I got here.
-Whoa, whoa, whoa!
'Just kidding, Neil.
'You are at least a couple of years off retirement.'
-Right, job done!
-Right, I'll carry on.
-Out you go.
Neil's created layers of security throughout the house,
and he has got one more trick in his box.
What you do, you leave it under your television,
and when it starts to get dark, it automatically switches on
and makes it looks like there's a television on inside your house.
If we can turn the light off.
So, from outside, that would look like our TV were on?
-Yeah. Such a good trick, isn't it?
-Very good trick.
-And no-one will come in here trying to nick your TV if they think you're watching it.
-No, they are not.
'The fake TV costs around £25 and uses hardly any power.'
-Well done, Neil.
'In just a few hours, Neil and I have made it near impossible
'for a burglar to force entry, and Sharon already seems brighter.'
Well happy! Very good!
We'll find out later
if we've done enough to improve Nick's security store.
Until then, it's back to Swansea.
There were no leads on the footprint found at the house,
so despite the police's best efforts, the thief remains at large.
But crime reduction officer Kevin Evans is here to make sure
a break-in doesn't happen again.
Kevin, thanks for being so determined to come all the way out here on such a horrible day.
But clearly the burglar has been really determined, too.
Unquestionably. There's a lot of force gone into forcing that rear door.
It suggests they were probably here for some time.
But of course, once you're at the rear of the premises,
it is enclosed, it is private,
and you've got very little natural surveillance.
All you've got really is the chickens, who may say hello to you, I don't know.
'Not exactly guard dogs, though, are they?'
What can we do?
There's numerous things we can do as regards to the lighting.
Something like a PIR light that is activated by walking through a beam,
because one thing most criminals don't like is
a lot of light on themselves.
Doors, make sure that shed doors are locked well.
Consider a shed bar or door bar, as it's called.
It reinforces the door.
Overall, what would be your security assessment for this place, out of 10?
Before doing anything else here, I've got to be honest,
this security is probably around five or maybe six.
I guess the problem here, then, is that the burglar can act with
utter privacy and do it on the quiet.
That certainly is a weak point.
It gives privacy to Joe Criminal and gives him
that extra few minutes he can spend trying to break in.
Well, Joe Criminal won't stand a chance once our security team get busy.
So, how have you been?
Initially it was quite horrible leaving the house,
cos especially once somebody has been in, you think,
they know what is in the house now, will they come back and sort of take other stuff?
But it is a real wake-up call.
I think we were really lucky that they didn't do more damage,
they didn't take more stuff.
But a good shot across the bow, because we are much more aware now than we were before.
And awareness needs to be followed by action,
and for that, you need a man like Tony Berry.
-What's up, Dan?
-How's it going, mate?
-All right, bud.
-Good to see you.
-Nice to see you.
So, what have you got for us today?
We've got this here shed door bar.
-That goes on the outside of the shed and just hinges, covers the front.
-That is to stop the door opening?
-Yeah. That's right.
We got a little sensor to go up in the corner somewhere,
and it'll cover if anybody comes through the windows or anything.
So if anyone turns up in the shed, somehow, that will see them and...
-Set the alarm off, yeah.
Alarms outside and in.
They are just as effective in old houses as they are in new ones,
and they are pretty discreet, so won't ruin that period look.
Surveillance is key, and security expert Graham Rees has got
an outside light that does it all.
When it is dark the sensor will activate, light will come on,
camera will activate, and this then takes up to 60,000,
-believe it or not, still shots on the SD card.
-It has also got a feature where it will record video.
So you can actually watch people walking around that area.
-It is like an electronic night-watchman.
'A good investment at under £100.
'But will all this be enough to impress Kevin
'and increase the security score?'
The bars on the shed, additional locks on the shed,
we've got lamps up, and also a brand-new alarm.
Big improvements made.
What would be your security assessment for this property now?
With all the additional work that has been added,
unquestionably, in my opinion, this would go up to a nine.
I'm pleased with that. Sandy and Rosie will be as well.
-I'm sure they will have good times ahead of them here.
Now, what does Sandy think of her new security?
It's great. I'm really, really impressed.
I can't say I'm glad it happened, but it has been a really interesting and positive outcome.
-Fantastic, that is what we're here for.
-You have done a good job, then. Thank you.
So, Sandy and Rosie have got a beautiful 17th-century house here,
but now that we have given them 21st-century security,
their home is their castle once again.
Back in Leeds, Sharon and Glen have heard from the police that a man called Sean Iceton
has been jailed for three years and four months for two burglaries,
including the one at their house.
And it turns out he is a prolific career burglar who had previously
served jail terms for carrying out hundreds of other break-ins.
No further action was taken against a second man the police were questioning,
but he was subsequently jailed for a separate, unrelated burglary.
Although it is good news that the police have got their man,
for Sharon, the break-in has left its mark.
I understand now why people do get so badly affected by it
and why they move house.
No need for Sharon to move, as Nick is here to
give his seal of approval on all the security improvements.
We've got two alarm boxes on the front, one didn't work originally,
now we've got one that does. Looks brand-new.
Front door lock is changed.
The famous TS 007 standard. Good, excellent.
So is the side door.
The Patlock, which clamps the internal handles together,
and it's invisible, which is a good deterrent.
'But Neil couldn't sort everything in one day.'
The access to the side and the back of the house,
the gap is still there.
Originally I gave it a five, now,
with that gap still being there, I think we will up it to 7.5.
The new locks and alarm will keep Sharon and Glen safe and sound for now,
but a burglar barrier at the side would be ideal in the future.
So what has Sharon got to say?
-How are you feeling about things now?
-I feel loads better.
Loads better, because I feel more safe now
because I know this alarm system is fitted.
-I hope you'll be able to sit down and relax.
-I am tonight.
I've got something that might help you.
-Don't open them all at once,
but I thought you might need these after a pretty hideous week.
-Oh, thank you! Thank you.
-That's all right.
-That's lovely. That's brilliant.
I can't believe they stole them in the first place,
-so we had to get some back to you. Have a beer, sit down...
-I will. Thank you very much. Thank you.
I'm pleased that we were able to make
Sharon and Glen's home a bit more burglar proof.
I'll drink to that. And it was great that Sandy got some of her
personal items back, especially the stuff that belonged to her brother.
-She would have been devastated to lose that.
-That's it for now.
-See you next time.