A look at innovative ways of catching criminals. Police set up a decoy flat to snare a gang of thieves, and a man hides in a wardrobe to trap a carer who has been stealing money.
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Thieves will steal our cars, our valuables,
just about anything they can get their hands on.
To cut down on crime and antisocial behaviour, the police
are using new tactics where the bad guys get caught in the act.
They're launching covert operations...
Keep pretending you're talking on the phone for a bit longer.
-..and setting traps...
-The laptop he's about to steal is equipped with tracking device.
..that deliver unsuspecting crooks right into their hands.
And there are also ways that we, the public
and local businesses, can fight back with some tricks of our own.
I weren't going to sit back and let them do this.
I know what you look like and I know who you are.
We've caught you and we're sending you down.
So anyone who is up to no good had better think twice.
They might just get caught red-handed.
Coming up today on Caught Red-Handed...
What are you doing?
..a carer is caught stealing
from the very family she's supposed to be helping.
-We left a little trap.
-I'm so sorry.
-How much have you taken out of there?
Also today - the chilling sound of a burglar breaking in.
But this hapless chap has chosen the wrong home to break into.
And these youths try to steal a car
but don't bargain on the car owner confronting them.
But first, the remarkable story of Brendan and Mandy who hatched
a plan to catch the thief stealing their disabled son's money.
This footage is from the mobile phone of Brendan.
He is currently hiding in the wardrobe of his own bedroom
ready to jump out and confront a carer
he believes has been stealing from him and partner Mandy.
What are you doing?
A few weeks before, Brendan and Mandy had no idea
that their life is about to take a dramatic turn.
Brendan owns two tattoo parlours, one of which Mandy manages.
The rest of her time is taken up with looking after her son,
and Brendan's stepson, 21-year-old Joe, who has cerebral palsy.
Joe is severely disabled, so he needs 24-hour care.
Because there are no day centres around this area,
I do need carers to come in so I can have a bit of normality, really.
Trust, as far as the carers are concerned, is absolutely imperative.
We have to give these people trust.
For the carers who work at the house,
all the facilities they need are downstairs.
There is no reason for them to go upstairs at all.
But just a month after a new carer starts,
Mandy begins to suspect something is amiss.
Brendan always says I'm a bit OCD with my bed, which I am.
I always have it perfect with cushions puffed up and everything.
I know how I leave it. It looked like someone had moved the cover.
Straightaway I checked on the money that was under there,
but there wasn't any missing.
And we're not talking any old amount of money here.
For the past five years, Mandy has been putting aside
the allowance provided by the government for Joe's
transport to save up for a new car that allows wheelchair access.
Because of Joe's account, there's not a card, so you couldn't go
to the place to buy the van and give a card, like a debit card.
So I was just taking Joe's money out.
Every time she had £500, she was rolling it up into a little ball
and putting an elastic band around it.
She had nine of these little rolls in a little box underneath her bed.
So that's £4,500 sitting under the couple's bed.
Even though none appears to be missing, Mandy is concerned
that somebody might be poking around their bedroom.
So she set some cunning traps to prove it.
I was putting an empty toilet roll holder behind the door
so I'd know if it had been moved when I got back.
I was also placing my reading glasses in a certain position
so I would know if they had been moved.
I was actually photographing it as well.
On a number of occasions, the glasses had been moved.
The toilet roll had also been moved.
So therefore, someone had been riffling around.
It was only on the days that this certain carer was in that
anything was ever moved.
But while Mandy builds up the evidence that somebody is
moving around their bedroom, there's one thing that she
crucially doesn't move - the £4,500 under the bed.
I could kick myself for doing it, for keeping it under the bed.
I can't believe that I didn't move it.
But also because I kept thinking,
"It can't be. She wouldn't be taking it."
But one day, Mandy comes home to Joe to find their new carer
anxious to leave.
She was just, like, in such a rush to get out.
I said, "Are you all right?" "Yeah, I've got to go."
So off she went.
Straightaway, I thought, "I'd better check upstairs."
£1,000 has gone missing from the money set aside to buy a new
vehicle for their disabled son.
She's been trusted to look after your son and she's gone up
and stolen the money.
I couldn't eat, it was physically a lump here, it was awful.
The couple think they'll never hear from the carer again,
but then her agency phoned to say she would be turning up
for her shift in two days' time as normal.
Believing the carer will try to steal more,
the couple deliberate on how to handle the situation.
If we get the police at this stage,
the police won't be able to do anything.
We have to prove that she's taken it.
We need to set a trap.
Brendan decides that he won't go into work that day as normal
and instead will hide behind the curtains of the bedroom wardrobe
ready to pounce if somebody walks in.
The wardrobe is very narrow, I'm not.
It was a little bit uncomfortable. I had to squeeze myself in.
I even considered Vaseline-ing up the sides of the wardrobe
for a speedy exit!
For her part, Mandy has to pretend as if nothing has happened
when the carer arrives.
I had to open the door to her.
She came in, new clothes and I must have been talking through
gritted teeth, I think, to try and be nice to her,
knowing that she's stolen from us.
To try and avoid Brendan having a long,
uncomfortable wait in the wardrobe,
when Mandy leaves, she tells the carer
she will be coming back a lot earlier than normal.
So that the carer knows she has to act fast.
The couple now have to hope that she takes the bait.
Later, there's a tense confrontation.
I haven't taken that money, I swear on my little girl's life.
I just caught you red-handed going through my cupboard.
Any one of the houses in this street could be a capture house.
That is one the police have filled with nickable items
and surveillance technology
so that they can catch crooks red-handed.
So, how can you recognise one of these houses?
That's just it, you can't.
Capture operations are not unfair entrapment.
There is nothing special about the bike or the house that lures
the criminal into it.
They are already committing these offences in those areas.
The evidence is beyond reproach. We haven't given permission,
therefore you entered as a trespasser,
you have taken our property without our permission,
so all the points to prove for the offence are recorded and
captured on CCTV and can be played to a court should it be necessary.
This estate in Birmingham was suffering with burglaries badly.
We'd had 40 burglaries in a really short time period.
It was a massive problem, it was a huge problem.
There weren't a huge amount of dwellings in there.
Experiencing the worst of it are the high-rise
blocks of flats in the area, in particular Teviot Tower.
The police knew they had to do something to help
the communities solve the problem.
The residents of them tower blocks, some of them are elderly,
some of them were classed as vulnerable.
It was causing a large amount of discontent
and a lot of people were feeling scared within the community.
But early on, Acting Inspector Dave Keen and his team
encounter frustration in their attempt to catch the culprits.
We were responding really quickly to these burglaries,
we were surrounding the areas,
conducting really good searches, but the people would just slip away.
Clearly what we knew was happening was someone within that
community who lived nearby was committing the offences
and literally slipping home straightaway.
What we had to do was come up with something a bit inventive,
a bit different, to try and catch them
because the usual tactics weren't working.
They turn to a tactic that has recently been working
well for them and other forces across the country - the capture house.
A capture house is something which looks like any other house
or flat. But what it will have within it is covert equipment.
The cameras are so small, people don't know they're there.
They can be secreted anywhere in the room.
You can think of any item and you can put a camera in it.
They borrow a flat in Teviot Tower from the council and sent in plain clothes officers
to rig it with technology and tempting items for a thief.
And this is it.
It looks like a normal lived-in flat, which, of course, is the idea.
But hidden movement sensors will alert the police
if an intruder breaks in.
The decoy flat could have remained undisturbed for weeks.
As it was, the police did not have to wait for long.
We kitted the house out around 9am. Five hours later it was broken into.
Literally that quick. It took us by surprise, really.
After smashing the door, this youth starts padding around the flat
taking a good look at anything he might want to steal.
Now, whether he gets spooked or this visit was just to have
a quick look around, he then leaves without taking anything.
He had gone by the time a police team reached the flat,
but he had at least given them
a nice big mugshot by going up close to the hidden camera.
We actually re-secured the flat while we examined the footage
and on that occasion,
while we were waiting to examine the footage, it was broken into again.
Yes, literally only 24 hours later.
Hello! Guess who's back to bust in again...
The very same man.
And although in slightly different clothes,
with the same intention - to find stuff to pinch.
You're seeing here,
he does a really thorough search of the premises,
checking all the drawers with a sock over his hand to
prevent his prints being left, even checking under
the sofas to see if there's anything worth stealing.
The thief has helped himself so far to cash,
T-shirts and now a pair of trainers.
But he's in for a nasty surprise.
Police units were much nearer this time
when the motion sensor was triggered and are arriving outside.
He's got nowhere to go, literally.
There's police all around this flat now.
Just as the thief goes to search one of the bedrooms,
two police officers burst in to apprehend him.
Off camera, the thief manages to dart out of the flat.
But he's soon caught outside and has been caught out
by the capture flat.
After that arrest, no burglaries in the area at all for a number of months.
So it worked.
At court, the 18-year-old admitted three counts of burglary
and was given a 12-month suspended sentence...
..which he later broke by shoplifting
and was then given six months in jail as a result.
In the meantime,
in the period following the introduction of capture houses,
domestic burglary rates across a large area of Birmingham
fell by 28%.
The long-term effects are that criminals speak to each other.
They were scared to go out and burgle
because they thought they might be walking into a police house.
It's a good, cost-effective way of targeting the right people
and it works, so we'll continue to use it.
Still to come today on Caught Red-Handed, this thief nicking
metal from a church roof thinks he's too high up to be spotted.
But 120 miles away on the ground, somebody is watching his every move.
But now, a gang of dawn delinquents.
Who says the youth of today don't get up early?
It's 6.30 on a Sunday morning
when this teenager strolls on to somebody else's drive.
By the gate, he tries
and fails to wrestle the CCTV camera from its mounting.
He then tries the boot of this car to see if it's unlocked.
He then turns his attentions to the Jeep.
Meanwhile, two more youths arrive with a lawnmower in tow.
But they've not risen early to do a spot of gardening.
They've stolen it.
After opening the boot, their mate gives them the thumbs up
and climbs inside the car.
But the youths get a shock
when they hear the noise of the front door opening.
The second youth calmly walks off,
as the angry homeowner appears to give them a piece of her mind.
She starts walking back inside,
when she suddenly notices the teenager scrambling out of her Jeep.
Unlike his mate, he's in more of a hurry to leave.
All three scarper, leaving the large lawnmower behind.
And that would have been that, but the 15-year-old who
was inside the Jeep had thoughtfully stared right into the CCTV camera.
Because he's under 18, we're not allowed to show his face.
But imagine the great mug-shot the police got.
He was later convicted of the attempted theft of a motor vehicle
and given a rehabilitation order.
Back in Kent, remember Brendan and his partner Mandy?
They've been saving thousands of pounds and keeping it
under their bed, ready to buy their severely disabled son Joe a new car.
But when £1,000 goes missing,
they suspect one of their son's carers is stealing from them
and they've hatched a plan to catch her in the act.
While downstairs, Mandy greets the suspected carer as normal.
Brendan has hidden in the bedroom wardrobe, ready to jump out
if the young woman comes upstairs to take anything.
When Mandy says she's popping out, the carer, it seems, wastes no time.
The second you couldn't hear her car, the carer left the house.
There was a click, the front door went.
I could hear a pitter-patter across the driveway.
A click of her car door. We're presuming she went to get gloves.
And gloves would mean no fingerprints.
Sitting in the wardrobe, Brendan has left a small gap in the curtains
so he can peek out into the bedroom.
He hears the carer come up the stairs.
She opened the door, she peeked through and she looked all
the way round the ceiling, checking to see if there were any cameras.
So she was also very suspicious that maybe we did know
and we'd put some cameras up to try and catch her at it.
In the wardrobe, Brendan does have a camera on his phone
and he presses the button ready to record any wrongdoing.
But the carer doesn't go to Mandy's side of the bed.
Instead, she starts going through Brendan's bedside cabinet.
I've got to catch this lady on my camera phone and I need to
make sure that I can see her on the phone with her hands in my drawer.
Brendan bursts out of the wardrobe.
What are you doing?
There's £1,000 gone missing out of there.
Out of underneath that cupboard.
Underneath the bed.
Who has, then?
-I've no idea. All I've done is...
-We left a little trap.
-I'm so sorry.
-How much have you taken out of there?
Well, I think we should get the police onto this cos we've
had £1,000 missing out of there.
-I haven't seen anything...
-So that's another carer?
Crucially, the carer has admitted to having previously
taken £100 from the bedroom, but not the £1,000 that is also missing.
I promise you, I would never...
I've just caught you red-handed going into my drawers.
Who else would it be?
Well, I think we should get the police.
Watching the footage back is an uncomfortable experience for Brendan and Mandy.
I hate watching this video. I just get so...
It does, it makes me angry when I see it.
You feel violated in your own home.
We're getting the police, sorry.
One minute she's denying it and then she's saying she's going to go
and get the money.
I've just caught you red-handed, going through my cupboard.
Yeah, I know. But I...
We're getting the police. We can't do anything else.
If you're not going to give me that £1,000 back,
we're going straight to the police.
I got angry there where she denied it and then she said,
"I swear on my child's life."
You've come into our house, someone who's supposed to be trusted
and you're stealing off us!
You're supposed to be some kind of a carer!
I carried on filming.
She couldn't ever accuse me of trying to touch her or something more
serious than stealing money.
She could turn the tables on me.
Hello. This is Mr Brendan Mudd. Police, please.
The police later arrive and take the carer into custody.
She eventually admits in court to two counts of theft.
The original £1,000 and the £100 she'd stolen previously
and admitted on camera to Brendan when he caught her.
She was sentenced to 180 hours of unpaid community work
and ordered to pay £250 compensation to the couple.
Though Brendan and Mandy's plan to catch this carer came off,
they have mixed feelings about her punishment...
To have £1,100 stolen, you'd imagine the court would say,
"You've got to pay them back £1,100," not £250.
It's kind of not fair, is it?
It's not like it was money for a holiday or...
This is money for a van for Joe,
a very important piece of equipment for my disabled stepson.
..though they are glad this carer got community work rather than be
sent to jail.
Even if you went to prison, you're just sitting in a cell.
You're not doing anything. You're not benefiting the community.
This way, at least, she's benefiting the community.
Hopefully because she was caught, she will change her life.
And she will become a good, honest, hardworking, good person.
I hope this has that effect on her.
The couple are still currently saving for Joe's new transport,
but with a difference this time.
The main lesson I've learned is not to leave Joe's money under my bed.
So, yeah, that's all safely in...
I've opened a little account for him.
I would never leave the money under the bed again.
Now to another crime which often doesn't just affect one person,
but could affect hundreds.
Cable and metal theft is not a victimless crime.
Actually, the disruption that it causes to commuters, to hospitals,
to schools, to people going about their daily business, is vast.
We can see items being stolen from roads,
manhole covers and drain covers.
We've seen lead being taken off the roof.
But what they don't realise is the impact that it has
and the damage it causes to lead being taken off a church roof,
the cost to replace that and also the impact on the economy.
The operators in this control room have just been alerted.
The image on the screen shows that somebody has
set off their video alarm.
We've had a camera activation at St George's Church in Edgbaston.
The shadowy figure high up on this church roof is stealing lead,
but a trap has been laid to catch him
and he has no idea he's being watched.
This story starts three months earlier
when thieves started targeting St George's in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
This beautiful building has stood for over 150 years.
But now, its very existence is under threat.
A thief has stolen lead from the roof.
We also, once it started to rain,
had a serious flooding coming in to the south aisle of the church.
It was absolutely terrifying,
rushing around getting buckets, trying to stop the flow.
Although the church was covered by insurance,
they would only pay out a maximum of £5,000,
but it was going to cost over £20,000 to repair the damage.
We were just sick at heart.
Can you even imagine how many coffee mornings and bring-and-buy sales
you have to stage to raise £20,000?
Just six weeks later, thieves struck again.
If they stripped more lead, I suppose you have to decide
whether the church has a life, whether it can continue
or it has to be abandoned.
One thief's mindless act was in danger of damaging a whole community.
St George's Church was offered a chance to fight back.
The police put a specialist team together to tackle the lead thieves.
We were having churches, schools, businesses,
attacked two or three times. It's caused absolute havoc really.
We needed a rethink of how we were going to tackle this problem.
The police bring in a security company to install CCTV cameras
and motion sensors on the church roof.
They're often involved in covert operations,
so we can't show their faces.
It's a wireless video alarm system, so essentially the sensors
that you can see on the wall there alerts the monitoring station.
It then sends a ten-second video clip of the actual event.
Staff at the monitoring station can see straightaway exactly
what has triggered the alarm.
And if it turned out there was actually a bad guy seen
on the roof, they would contact the police and a 999 response is made.
The video alarm was only part of the trap.
The lead on the roof and the likely access points up to it are marked with
an invisible liquid that contains a unique forensic signature.
If the police shine an ultraviolet light onto it,
the forensic liquid will glow bright green.
We would then send a sample of that fluorescence off to our laboratory.
They have special technology and techniques where they can decode the
solution and that solution will be registered to a particular location.
In this instance, St George's Church.
With all the elements in place,
it's just a case of waiting for a thief to try his luck.
Within four weeks, the video alarm is triggered.
St George's Church in Edgbaston.
The control room alerts the police.
Myself and my colleague were literally around the corner.
Less than a minute away, or so.
And as we landed at the church in the car,
there was a vehicle parked up with two occupants inside.
They soon find marked lead in the boot.
It was a fair cop. He knew straightaway, as soon as we parked, blue lights flashing.
Another car behind him. Lead in the back of the car.
Covered in lead himself, covered in dirt.
When analysed back at the lab,
the lead could only have come from St George's roof.
It's a dream job for the police. We like to catch people red-handed.
On this occasion, we did.
The thief was found guilty
and was given 100 hours of community service.
The operation has answered St George's Church's prayers.
Since the cameras have been in place
and we had a successful capture of a thief, we've had no more problems.
And as a result of operations like this, West Midlands Police
have reduced metal thefts by over 70%. A strong message has gone out.
People are aware that we will no longer put up with lead being
stolen off church roofs or from schools.
There is forensic marking out there.
There is CCTV that could be trained on them.
There's a very strong possibility that we will track them down,
if we don't actually catch them in the act.
That's it for today. Join us next time when the police
and the public catch more criminals red-handed.
Police set up a decoy flat to snare thieves who have been tormenting a local community, and a man hides in a wardrobe to trap a carer who has been stealing money from under his bed.