Episode 3 Caught Red Handed


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Episode 3

In this episode, thieves break into a garage, unaware that it is a police trap. Meanwhile, in another district, residents trap a vandal - and are amazed at who it is.


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Transcript


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Thieves will steal our cars, our valuables,

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just about anything they can get their hands on.

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To cut down on crime and antisocial behaviour, the police are now

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using new tactics, where the bad guys actually get caught in the act.

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They are launching covert operations...

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Keep pretending you are talking on the phone for a bit longer, OK, mate?

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..and setting clever traps...

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The laptop he is about to steal is equipped with a tracking device.

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..that deliver unsuspecting crooks...

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Go, go, go.

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..right into their hands.

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And there are also ways that we the public

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and local businesses can fight back with some tricks of our own.

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I weren't going to sit back and let them do this.

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We have caught you and we are sending you down.

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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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Coming up today on Caught Red Handed,

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the motorbike this pair are trying to steal doesn't work

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but the police camera recording their every move does work.

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They have no idea that we know they're breaking into the garage

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and we know we can track it.

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Also today, a unlikely car vandal is unmasked.

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You're sort of in shock. You're holding your hand over your mouth,

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going, "I can't believe it."

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And in Derbyshire, a puppy cam.

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It was meant to keep an eye on a young dog

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but caught a couple of rats too.

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But first, a police operation in the West Midlands that's targeting

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drug abuse and antisocial behaviour.

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All over the country, there is a problem with large

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gatherings of youths hanging around particular areas of

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town centres, council estates and shopping precincts.

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It can frighten off people going around their normal business.

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Gangs and more serious crime can take a hold and, at worst,

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they can become no-go areas.

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But in the West Midlands,

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we are about to see the police fighting back.

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My name is Mark Bellingham, I'm a sergeant from the gangs team.

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If I just give you a little bit of background.

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We are currently looking at a group called the Raiders.

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They predominantly have their footprint in the West Bromwich area.

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However, there is a footprint within the Birmingham South area

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and the Kings Norton area.

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Sergeant Mark Bellingham is part of a special gangs task force.

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He is planning a surprise raid on a shopping precinct

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in the Kings Norton area.

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It looks innocent enough but local residents have

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complained about incidents of violence and intimidation.

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Some have been choosing to stay away from the shops rather than

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run the gauntlet past the youths, some of whom people

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report are drug-running and attacking passers-by.

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This local man is too afraid of reprisals to be identified.

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But he says he speaks for many in the area.

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Police have had enough and they are taking action.

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The youths are unaware of it but the square is being watched.

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Inside this ordinary-looking white van is an undercover police officer.

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We have to hide her identity.

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She has taken control of the council's nearby CCTV cameras and

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for the next few days she will be recording every move in the square.

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We can move the camera 360 degrees,

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we can zoom in, we can zoom out and capture faces.

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We can take still photos from the footage or, obviously,

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we can record it as well as video evidence.

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Mark is studying the footage from the cameras in the square.

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As you can start to see now, these two lads here who, again,

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are larking around but you've got to ask yourself the question -

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would you walk past that? Would you be happy enough to walk through that?

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And if you were driving past and thought you needed a shop,

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would you stop there?

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The cameras have caught more than just antisocial behaviour.

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This next snippet, there's a deal.

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You have got the lad with two bags either being handed money or drugs.

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There is that furtive look round the shoulder. He was looking,

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he was checking it out.

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We have all been kids once and we have all hung around

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and in the grand scheme of things, why should we stop that?

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In fact, we want to encourage our kids to socialise

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and have friends and be able to kind of let off some steam.

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It is when it starts to cross that boundary into

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criminality that we have to be quite robust in trying to minimise

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that harm that's caused to the community.

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As well as chasing down gang leaders, the task force also

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sets out to prevent youngsters from joining gangs in the first place.

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While we will look to drive enforcement,

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we will also be looking at getting talks into schools,

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certainly those schools that have been identified as having those kids

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that are starting to aspire to that gang.

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Mark's team and local officers are getting ready to swoop.

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They aim to speak to all the youths within the square.

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You guys are going to come round from the two sides.

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What we want to do is make sure that between the rest of us

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we have got the alleyway...

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One of the alleyways covered from the opposite side

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and the other open side.

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Their eye on the square, the officer in the white van

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is waiting for youths to arrive on the scene.

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As soon as she spots them, she will alert Mark.

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If I was one of them, I would be running away from the police,

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which means they should be running straight into you guys.

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Go, go, go. Go, go, go.

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Later, it's a shock for the kids on the block as Mark's team crashes in.

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We may spend a lot of time and money securing our houses

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but we often overlook our sheds and garages.

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Go into your garage and look at the items in there and add it all up.

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I've got my lawnmower, I've got my petrol strimmer,

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my petrol hedge-cutter.

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It would be really surprising to see how valuable your items are.

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And yet most of us have only got a flimsy padlock, if that,

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to safeguard our valued possessions.

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One man in Gateshead knows all about what it is like to

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suffer at the hands of garage-raiders.

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When Leon Thompson came to buying his first home,

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he admits it wasn't particularly the location that attracted him.

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When I viewed the house, I seen there was graffiti on the outside

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so I knew it wasn't the best place but this was the biggest house

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I could afford for the money I had at the time.

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Right from the kick-off, there was trouble.

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I had a housewarming party...

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..and there were some lads,

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probably 8 to 10 of them, walking past the house.

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They were wanting to be in for the party. My mates told them to jog on.

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They weren't happy with that so they ended up battering

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my friend in and he ended up losing teeth out of it.

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This was just before Christmas, so Leon's worried mum decided it

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wasn't going to be socks and aftershave this year.

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She actually bought the CCTV for Christmas.

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It immediately proves useful when Leon has other party.

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Everyone had brought drink except for this guy,

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who was bringing his girlfriend as well.

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I woke up in the morning, he was gone.

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Went into the kitchen, all the alcohol we had there,

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spirit bottles, all gone.

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Leon checks the footage from his new camera.

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Sure enough, him and his girlfriend,

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it's them walking out of the house, hands full, all the bottles

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they could carry, going into the car and then driving home.

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Leon decided to shame the booze-burglars publicly

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by putting the film up on the internet.

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Everyone could see what he was getting up to.

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I have seen the guy since. We don't really get on that well.

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But the worst theft was about to come.

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Luckily, Leon's garage cam is rolling.

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20-to-1 in the morning and while Leon is sound asleep upstairs,

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through the hole in the fence two hooded figures slink into view.

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Leon hasn't got a door yet on his newly-built garage,

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so entry is a doddle. They make for Leon's expensive motorbikes.

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They quickly uncover one but just when it all looks too easy for them,

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they are confronted with a serious chain,

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bolting the bikes to the garage floor.

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So is that it? They've given up?

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No.

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40 minutes later, they are back with a huge pair of bolt cutters,

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which unfortunately make short shrift of Leon's chain.

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One of them uses their phone light to work out how to start the bike,

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ready for a quick getaway on the road.

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My blood was boiling when I first seen this. I was shaking.

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I just wanted to go out and find them.

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There is a pit there which I was hoping he'd fall down.

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Unfortunately he didn't.

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Leon hadn't been able to afford an insurance policy

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that covered theft, so his loss was total.

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When I bought the bike, it was actually, other than the house,

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the most expensive thing that I have ever bought. I was absolutely gutted.

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He handed this CCTV footage over to the police

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and waited in hope that they would be able to get his bike back.

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But sadly, they never did.

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I am massively angry at everyone who has stolen off me

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cos it's happened a lot of times.

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I wouldn't like to bump into them in the street. Well, actually, I would.

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They wouldn't want to bump into me, I don't think.

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But there are some consolations.

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Word looks to have got around about his CCTV system as he has had

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no further trouble for six months

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and his cameras have benefited others too.

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There was a woman who lives opposite in a bungalow and she had some

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conmen come over to her house saying they were there to check the gas

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and they went in and ended up going into her bedroom

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and stealing her money that she had hidden.

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The police later came round to my house, asking for any footage

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and, from this footage, they did end up getting prosecuted.

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To help prevent garage thefts like Leon's,

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down in East Sussex, Inspector Paul Phelps is trying out

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a new way of catching thieves by luring them in.

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Every day, someone's garage was getting broken into.

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We'd done a number of other tactics,

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lots of hi-vis patrols, we worked with the community

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but we weren't actually reducing those offences.

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So we've got bait cars we've had for a number of years, actually,

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why don't we have a bait garage?

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So, how to set up a bait garage.

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Step one - choose an area where crime is on the rise.

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This garage was identified as being an ideal location.

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A number of garages have been broken into in that vicinity over

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a number of weeks.

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Next, put something in your garage

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that a would-be thief will want to take out.

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This is exactly the sort of bike that we would use.

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It would be disabled, that you can't ride it.

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Then, however your thief moves the bike,

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make sure they can be followed.

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Transmitters these days are so, so small.

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Tiny enough to fit in a matchbox.

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Secrete this transmitter

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so it is not readily accessible by the would-be thief.

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The garage is then rigged with hidden cameras that start

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recording when motion is detected and a trigger on the door.

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When it's opened, an alert is sent to a police mobile phone.

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We haven't got to be staffing an observation point

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for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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We let technology work for us.

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Now, trap set, Paul's team sit back and wait for the action.

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The garage went live in the afternoon.

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By the following afternoon, our motorcycle had been stolen.

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They didn't have to wait long.

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Just 24 hours after the garage is set up, two hooded figures arrive.

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Over the next few minutes, they try to get the bike started,

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unaware it has been disabled and unaware they are being filmed.

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Even though they can't get it started,

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this pair still decide this bike's worth nicking.

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Having checked the coast is clear,

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they are now wheeling it off into the sunset.

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Or so they think.

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They have got no idea that we have got them on camera, that we

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know they have broken into the garage and we know we can track it.

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The police followed the signal and the two miscreants had

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a nasty surprise when the officers came knocking.

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They showed them the video's evidence

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and asked for their bike back.

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It's quite compelling evidence really, isn't it?

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You're caught with the goods and you are on video doing it.

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It's case closed.

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The two thieves were juveniles and had no previous record,

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so both received an official caution with a warning of a harsher

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sentence if they were caught doing wrong again.

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For police, in the past, these operations used to involve

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lengthy stakeouts and considerable manpower. Not any more.

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We can run 10, 15 bait operations at the same time because,

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actually, technology does all the work for us.

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And it's not just bait garages thieves have to look out for.

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We have gone to bait bicycles, you know, bait beach huts, you know,

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bait caravans. We are everywhere. We are doing this on a daily basis.

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So think about what you're doing because, actually, you could be

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on camera, we could be watching you, we could be tracking you.

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The message is don't do it.

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So, thieves everywhere, you have been warned.

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And still to come on today's Caught Red Handed,

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a neighbourhood dispute gets messy.

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She's got a cup of flour and just thrown it all over my car

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and then with what was left in the cup

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she has thrown it on my neighbour's car as well.

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And also, a farmer, a tractor and a hold-up.

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But this time it is the getaway car that gets held up.

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We see a lot of CCTV cameras around these days

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but not everybody is using them to guard against crime.

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Some people have them to keep an eye on their pets.

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But even those can catch a thief.

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In Derbyshire, there is a dog called Molly. She lives here.

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The two men currently trying to bust through the door don't.

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The reason there is a camera in the kitchen is that the homeowner

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wants to keep tabs on Molly, his new boxer puppy, while he is at work.

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Little did he know, it would capture these burglars calmly strolling

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in while Molly - lovely temperament, useless guard dog - watches on.

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Thankfully, the home's alarm proves more effective

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and the pair scarper empty-handed.

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But with their faces caught on camera,

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they were...

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"collared" by police the next day.

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And Molly, no doubt, was booked in for some guard dog lessons.

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Back to Kings Norton, West Midlands,

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where the police are using CCTV cameras in a bid to clear

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a shopping precinct of drugs and antisocial behaviour.

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With its many cameras,

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Britain is sometimes dubbed a surveillance society but in the eyes

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of the police, they are there not to watch us but to watch out for us.

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Antisocial behaviour and groups of youths

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hanging around the streets can really frighten people.

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We use CCTV as a preventative and a reassurance tool

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but it does actually help us in combating antisocial behaviour

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and bringing offenders to justice.

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Gangs of youths, some of whom are linked to drug-dealing

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in this square, are about to get a wake-up call.

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Sergeant Mark Bellingham and his gangs task force team

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are preparing to swoop down on the square.

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They will make arrests if they find drugs but the raid is also

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designed to send a strong message to the youths that antisocial

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behaviour won't be tolerated and the police are on their case.

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An undercover officer has been watching the square closely and will

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let Mark's team know when

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a number of youths have gathered on the square.

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We are looking for specific people to be in the location,

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specific activity as well.

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And then we will make the call to Mark to go ahead with the operation.

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Once you are in there, same plan as before.

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I'll give you a ring once we've stopped short and you can say,

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"Yeah, go."

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Mark's unit, along with local officers,

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make up the strike team of 15.

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The plan is to approach the square rapidly on all sides

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and surround the youths.

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We are starting to hit prime time now

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so probably from four o'clock onwards will be playtime.

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There's a couple of youngsters

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the team are particularly interested to meet.

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I have actually just seen them

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walking down one of the walkways, headed towards the square.

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What direction were they going in?

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'We are pretty much ready to go.'

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So we will be striking in the next 5, 10 minutes.

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Two undercover officers have gone ahead.

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They're already in one of the shops.

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OK, mate, I'll tell you what, we are on our way.

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Keep pretending you're talking on the phone for a bit longer, OK, mate?

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Will do. Will do when we're in position.

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-INTERVIEWER:

-Didn't the phone call give it away, who they were?

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No, no, we have worked on some fairly basic code

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that the flooring people are on their way.

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They make the short journey to the square.

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Mark gives the signal to his team.

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Go, go, go. Go, go, go.

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Here we go. Here we go.

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All right there, chaps. How are you doing? You all right?

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Chaps, you're going to wait with us.

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We'll be doing drug searches with you guys, OK?

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-So you guys will be standing with us.

-Drug search?

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-Have you got anything on you you shouldn't have?

-No.

-OK, great.

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Can I ask you, everything you've got in your pockets,

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just start getting it out now for us?

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OK.

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That's great. Anything else? Just give us your keys, sunshine.

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No-one escapes. They are all searched.

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I'll give you all the reasons why you're being searched, OK.

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Basically, the area is known for having quite a bit of drugs around.

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You know the place. You know what the score is, don't you?

0:19:200:19:23

Because we have had continuing reports about drug use,

0:19:230:19:25

drug-dealing, that kind of stuff, that's why we are all here

0:19:250:19:28

and we're going to do a search of the place.

0:19:280:19:30

The youngsters now know

0:19:300:19:31

the police are taking illegal activities on the square seriously.

0:19:310:19:36

We have got to work out... I'm going to sort out in a minute,

0:19:360:19:39

that we might have to do strip searches.

0:19:390:19:42

The police will be watching to stop the area becoming

0:19:420:19:45

a focus for antisocial behaviour and drug-taking.

0:19:450:19:49

Because people are saying and moaning and complaining

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about drugs around the area, it is

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going to bring more attention and bring more attention from us.

0:19:540:19:57

So, today, if we keep getting reports of it there'll just be

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more of us around and we'll keep stopping and searching

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and at some point, if you have got something on you,

0:20:020:20:04

you're going to get locked up.

0:20:040:20:05

Since this raid on the square,

0:20:050:20:07

West Midlands police have made eight arrests,

0:20:070:20:10

four of them for dealing.

0:20:100:20:12

Ultimately, they run the risk of getting locked up.

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They run the risk of going to prison.

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And then it is very difficult to turn back that clock

0:20:170:20:21

and go down a different path

0:20:210:20:23

so my message would be that there are people out there who can help.

0:20:230:20:28

If people are getting themselves into situations that are probably

0:20:280:20:31

a little bit beyond them and situations

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they can no longer control, there is help out there to assist

0:20:330:20:37

people to get away from that gang lifestyle.

0:20:370:20:39

There are lots of examples on the internet of ordinary people

0:20:510:20:55

catching criminals red-handed.

0:20:550:20:58

Here is a bizarre example from Norway.

0:20:580:21:01

This is 66-year-old Harald Mikkelsen.

0:21:010:21:03

He may look calm but he is actually in the process of

0:21:030:21:07

stopping a getaway car after a robbery attempt

0:21:070:21:10

in a slightly unusual fashion.

0:21:100:21:12

This scene came about after Harald here interrupted an intruder

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trying to break into his store.

0:21:210:21:23

The would-be thief ran off to his car.

0:21:230:21:26

Harald ran off to his nearby tractor

0:21:260:21:29

and before the would-be thief could drive off,

0:21:290:21:31

Harald rammed the car and has used his tractor's hydraulic forks

0:21:310:21:35

to lift the car's front wheels off the ground.

0:21:350:21:39

It was at this point that this passer-by started filming.

0:21:390:21:43

Looking like some kind of bug trying to wriggle free

0:21:460:21:49

from the clutches of a mechanical praying mantis,

0:21:490:21:52

the thief inside the car

0:21:520:21:54

spins his wheels and tries turning the steering wheel back and forth.

0:21:540:21:58

In the end, he gives up struggling and accepts his fate.

0:21:580:22:02

Then the police arrive and Harald is finally ready to end the hold-up and

0:22:060:22:10

give them one of the easiest arrests they will ever have to perform.

0:22:100:22:14

Most crimes are committed by young people aged 16 to 25,

0:22:220:22:26

but there are offenders of all ages.

0:22:260:22:29

Even pensioners.

0:22:290:22:31

It seems some people still aren't old enough to know better,

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as we are about to see.

0:22:340:22:36

This street in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire

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may look quiet now but an argument over this piece of land

0:22:470:22:50

led to the neighbourhood turning nasty.

0:22:500:22:53

On the CCTV, I was absolutely shocked.

0:22:560:23:01

This actual video footage revealed an unlikely offender and

0:23:010:23:05

brought an end to a bitter dispute that had raged for over a year.

0:23:050:23:09

Absolutely beautiful.

0:23:120:23:13

Claire has lived in this house for 16 years.

0:23:160:23:20

The front now looks like this, with an extension being built.

0:23:200:23:23

But back then it looked a bit more like this.

0:23:230:23:26

When I first bought the house,

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the plot of land adjacent to the house was not maintained,

0:23:290:23:34

the trees were overgrown, cars would just park up and down.

0:23:340:23:38

The land at the front of her house

0:23:380:23:40

and alongside her garden was no man's land.

0:23:400:23:43

Meaning it legally belonged to nobody.

0:23:430:23:46

The problem for Claire was that the neighbours' cars were often

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parked right across her front door.

0:23:490:23:52

We put parking outside our own front door.

0:23:520:23:55

We spoke to everyone, we block-paved it

0:23:550:23:58

so it was nice and clean and it made everything look much nicer.

0:23:580:24:02

Claire said she also created a couple of extra spaces

0:24:020:24:05

for the neighbourhood in general by cutting back

0:24:050:24:08

the overgrown shrubs and trees of the no man's land.

0:24:080:24:11

She continued to maintain it for the next 12 years.

0:24:110:24:14

Because she did this,

0:24:140:24:16

she was eventually entitled to claim a piece of the land as her own.

0:24:160:24:20

There is a period of time, which is 12 years,

0:24:200:24:23

before you can actually put it into your own name.

0:24:230:24:25

But not everybody saw it that way.

0:24:250:24:27

I had moved my garden fence out. That's when it all started.

0:24:270:24:33

Some people in the neighbourhood took exception

0:24:330:24:35

and officially petitioned to block her plan.

0:24:350:24:37

Other residents, including Diane, who lives a few

0:24:370:24:40

doors down from Claire, supported her right to the land.

0:24:400:24:43

Claire spent many of her hours out there, clearing up rubbish,

0:24:430:24:47

-old bottles, tyres...

-Yeah, everything got thrown on the drive.

0:24:470:24:51

..dog fouling. You know, really made it look pretty.

0:24:510:24:55

The council ruled in Claire's favour

0:24:550:24:58

and, shortly afterwards, a spate of vandalism broke out.

0:24:580:25:01

First of all, we noticed that cars were...

0:25:020:25:07

Aerials were being taken off, cars were being keyed, scratched.

0:25:070:25:11

Fed up, Claire decided to invest in extra protection.

0:25:150:25:18

I got the cameras because I thought, "This is ridiculous."

0:25:180:25:21

Every time I phoned the police with another

0:25:210:25:23

bit of damage on my car - "Have you got any witnesses?" "No."

0:25:230:25:27

Experiencing the same problem, her close neighbours

0:25:270:25:30

clubbed together with Claire to install four cameras on her house.

0:25:300:25:34

Because then it would point in different directions

0:25:340:25:36

to help out the community as well.

0:25:360:25:39

Designed to record whenever they detected motion,

0:25:390:25:42

it didn't take the cameras long to catch something.

0:25:420:25:45

Early one morning,

0:25:490:25:50

Claire had an unpleasant surprise as she left for work.

0:25:500:25:54

I've got into the car

0:25:540:25:55

and I've put the windscreen wipers on to clear it a bit better.

0:25:550:25:59

It started going a bit gloopy so I realised it wasn't just ice.

0:25:590:26:04

I parked up in the car park at the High Street

0:26:040:26:08

and, as I came out of the car, I turned round to have a

0:26:080:26:11

look at the bonnet and it was smothered in white gunk.

0:26:110:26:14

Claire couldn't leave work so she asked

0:26:140:26:17

if Diane could let herself in with a spare key

0:26:170:26:20

and take a look at the CCTV footage to see what had gone on.

0:26:200:26:24

This is what she saw.

0:26:240:26:26

A hooded, cigarette-smoking figure throws what seems like white powder

0:26:280:26:32

over Claire's car and then another neighbour's before strolling off.

0:26:320:26:37

I did actually say to you, didn't I, "You're not going to believe this"?

0:26:370:26:40

I had to rewind it about three or four times.

0:26:400:26:44

But it wasn't the offence that left Diane dumbfounded,

0:26:440:26:46

it was the offender.

0:26:460:26:48

You are holding your hand over your mouth going, "I can't believe it."

0:26:480:26:52

Hidden under the hood is a churchgoing grandmother who

0:26:520:26:55

is also the coordinator of a local neighbourhood watch.

0:26:550:26:59

She has got a cup of flour and just thrown it all over my car

0:26:590:27:03

and then with what was left in the cup she has thrown it on my

0:27:030:27:06

neighbour's car as well and then just walked back into her own house.

0:27:060:27:10

The fact that the woman was filmed entering her front door meant

0:27:100:27:14

that when Claire handed over the footage to the police,

0:27:140:27:17

they decided they had more than enough to arrest the flour-thrower.

0:27:170:27:21

I was told by the police that she denied it up until they said,

0:27:210:27:25

"Well, we've got CCTV footage and it is you."

0:27:250:27:28

And that is when she said, "Oh, I'm sorry."

0:27:280:27:31

The woman was given an official caution by the police

0:27:310:27:34

and was eventually forced to pay compensation to Claire for

0:27:340:27:37

the irreparable damage to her soft-top roof.

0:27:370:27:40

Eventually, the flour-flinging woman

0:27:400:27:43

moved out of the area completely.

0:27:430:27:45

I think she was embarrassed

0:27:450:27:47

because she was a very well-respected lady amongst the community.

0:27:470:27:51

Now that things have calmed down,

0:27:510:27:53

Claire has dared to start extending her house while her cameras

0:27:530:27:57

continue to keep an eye on her and her neighbour's property.

0:27:570:28:00

It has definitely brought us together as a community

0:28:000:28:03

and we are looking out for each other.

0:28:030:28:05

Love thy neighbour.

0:28:080:28:09

Join us next time,

0:28:090:28:10

when the police and the public catch more crooks red-handed.

0:28:100:28:14

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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