A bar owner fights back against bag snatchers and pickpockets, and three hapless teenagers burgle a house - unaware that the police are watching their every move.
Browse content similar to Episode 4. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Thieves will steal our cars, our valuables,
just about anything they can get their hands on.
To cut down on crime and anti-social behaviour,
the police are using new tactics when 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, OK?'
..and setting clever traps...
'The laptop he's about to steal is equipped with a tracking device.
..that deliver unsuspecting crooks right into their hands.
And there are ways that we the public and local businesses can fight back,
with some tricks of our own.
'I wasn'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's up to no good had better think twice.
They might just get caught red-handed.
On Caught Red Handed today,
in Birmingham, a gang of housebreakers bust into a house
but the cops are watching and listening to their every move.
There's four or five cars-worth of police officers outside.
They're completely surrounded.
Also today, garage raiders make a run for it,
unaware that they're being watched.
If it hadn't been for my television cameras,
this would have been a crime that would have never been detected.
And a thief who's extremely pleased with himself after stealing a car.
But the joke's about to be on him.
In north Birmingham, just gone 11:00pm,
a door smashes.
Three hooded figures enter and start poking around.
This house is in an area where properties have been systematically burgled.
Tonight, these three have picked the wrong house to break into.
The district of Erdington was being blighted by burglary.
Faced with solving this problem was Inspector Dave Keen and his team.
We were suffering probably two or three burglaries each day
in what was a particularly tight, small area.
It's a horrendous crime to suffer.
I've been a victim of burglary in the past myself
and it does really shatter that experience for you,
of feeling safe at home.
A feeling that Paul and Kelly Tolin know only too well.
Returning to their home in Rugby after picking up her son, Cole,
from school, Kelly found they'd been burgled.
The bedroom had been ransacked, and the whole house,
the TV in the front room, numerous items had been taken.
And then it hit me. It was a break-in.
Everything had just been swiped at and strewn across the floor.
My jewellery box had been taken, which had wedding jewellery in,
of sentimental value, my child's first teeth, a lock of hair.
But the worst of all was the discovery that the robbers had
stolen their 11-week-old female bulldog puppy, Charley.
The first thought that entered my head was,
as we'd only had a puppy two weeks ago,
I looked through the window, in her crate, and she wasn't there.
To comprehend, to think that someone could take her,
it absolutely broke me.
Break-ins like the Tolins were reaching epidemic levels in the suburb of Erdington.
And we knew we had to do something about it.
Dave and his fellow officers from the West Midlands Police
decided to try a different tactic that was working elsewhere.
The capture house.
A property that's designed to bait a thief by being left
apparently unattended and full of highly nickable goodies.
History tells us that criminals will return
to the same road more than once.
The council found Dave and his team an empty house
in the heart of the problem area.
They fitted it with an array of small hidden cameras,
designed to be triggered by any motion.
Each time that sensor is activated, then it will send a text message.
So you get a series of text messages and straightaway you know there's something going on.
The fantastic thing about it, from the phone,
you're able then to dial direct to the camera,
so I can see straightaway what's going on in the house.
And he doesn't have to wait long.
A few nights later, there's a smash at the door.
With added sound.
-There's £50 here.
-Yeah, there is pounds.
That's a penny.
By leaving around various valuables,
the police hope that the crooks are distracted long enough
for them to reach the house in time.
When the alert comes in, it pings it to me at home.
I obviously carry the phone with me, as do other people.
It is really odd to be watching a crime in progress,
in the comfort of your own home.
Believing they've found a teenage thieves' treasure trove...
..this trio are in no hurry to leave.
'What's nice is they've got no idea we're on our way.
'Straight to the top of the stairs,
'just to see what else there is to steal.
Blissfully unaware that by now police units are silently
assembling outside, the thieves methodically search every corner.
This camera's so well disguised,
you'll never know that you're in a police house.
Whatever they were going to spend the money on tomorrow,
their plans are about to change.
They're leaving now, out the front door,
thinking they've got away with it.
And right into the hands of the police. Lads, you're nicked.
Caught with their hands full,
the three teenagers were found guilty of burglary.
As they were juveniles, they were each given suspended jail sentences.
He isn't getting away with it. Because we know who they are.
They're on our radar. In fact, you know, they may be out and about
but they're not free, really, they're being monitored by us.
And word got around.
After the capture house was successful, we had no crimes
reported in that particular area of any nature for two weeks.
It's a huge impact and you can see the message that it sends out.
It puts the fear back onto the criminal rather than on the householder or the victim.
And remember Charley, the Tolin family's stolen puppy?
Well, the family, like the police,
harnessed the power of modern technology.
They launched a huge "Find Charley" crusade.
We had a Facebook campaign,
And then my husband did a Twitter campaign.
We were really successful, actually,
and had thousands and thousands of people following us and helping us.
And it worked.
Someone had spotted her outside a school in Birmingham.
The police had been contacted and they scanned her,
because she is micro-chipped, and she came up as stolen.
My breeder's details and my name are on the chip for Charley.
I then went to the police station and I got her back.
Now it's not just capture houses the police use, as in Erdington.
On Caught Red Handed, we're seeing bait
and capture operations of all sorts.
Nowadays police are using bait bikes, capture laptops,
even bait cable drums.
It's a new trend and it's catching a lot of criminals.
But most importantly, we are there to put the fear
of being caught in their mind.
Can they be sure the car they're breaking into is not a bait car
and the bicycle they're stealing is not a bait bicycle?
It's opportunity for us to gain evidence
to be able to bring the offenders to justice.
I can't put a price on the value of bait operations.
And it's not just the police using a bit of cleverness to catch criminals.
It's people like you and me too.
A sleepy village in Suffolk.
Population, around 600. Crime - virtually non-existent.
Unless you live just outside on the main road, that is.
Paulo and John's home has received so much criminal attention,
that they could be forgiven for thinking it was listed in some sort of thieves' travel guide.
To protect themselves, they've taken some drastic measures
and ended up capturing these burglars in the act.
This has been an ongoing problem.
About ten years ago, somebody had broken into the house through a
rear window and stolen all my cheque books and credit cards, et cetera.
Some years later, when we were on holiday, the garage was broken into
and all my garden equipment and machinery was stolen.
And then there was Paulo's motor.
That went missing while he was inside playing the piano.
I was practising and John says, "Where is your car?"
I said, "What do you mean? It's parked in the usual place."
He said, "No, it's not." Ha-ha!
So I came outside and my car had vanished!
And they came in, they drove their own car in here,
they hot-wired my car, drove it off,
and then they used it in an armed robbery that same night.
And they were armed!
If that wasn't enough, in between these events, there was also
a steady stream of unsavoury characters attracted to the premises.
At various times, we found people in the garage
or walking around the back.
They just seemed to wander in and poke around at will.
I felt a bit threatened, I think. So I wasn't very happy.
So I decided to do something about it, you know,
the least you can do is take a photograph of them.
John and Paulo felt like they needed an extra pair of eyes
so they bought some.
Scouring the second-hand surveillance market found them
a decent set of cameras.
This was quite an interesting project for us
because I'm a plumbing and heating engineer myself
and I often deal with electrical things, and Paulo, my partner,
he's very good with software and computer systems.
We decided to have three cameras to begin with.
To make installation easier,
the cameras wirelessly connect to a computer.
If anyone moves,
then it gets recorded onto the hard drive of the computer.
Though nature rarely sits still.
You have trees moving in the wind and things like that,
so you have to blank. It's blanked. So the movement won't get recorded.
But if anyone walks here, it will get recorded.
Just a few months after this system is installed, it proves its worth.
John and Paulo had popped into town.
We'd only been gone for 40 minutes.
When we came back, I went to get something from the garage.
I noticed as I arrived in here that the planer down there
was on the floor,
and it shouldn't be, because it lives in the shelves over there.
So I went to pick it up like this, to put it back on the shelf,
and that's when I noticed all the cables, which I normally keep here,
were all completely missing and these shelves were empty.
And the motion detection recorder shows exactly what's been
happening in their absence.
A truck parks up at the bottom of the drive
and a man walks up to the house to see if anybody's in.
On return, the open door to the shed catches his eye.
After a quick inspection, he calls his mate over and so begins
a robbers' relay, as the pair quickly grab as much as they can.
I thought, that should be on our cameras,
but I never expected it would be, somehow,
until we played it back, and then all these empty scenes were full
of these two people, taking all the stuff.
-It's quite exciting, wasn't it?!
-It was kind of surreal, really.
But it was horrible as well, people invading your privacy like that.
Even as he watched his plumbing supplies
being plundered, there was a sense of satisfaction for John.
I remember feeling rather pleased with myself.
I thought, yes, you people, in the past you've come here
and broken into my house, you've stolen my things
and you've had the privilege of anonymity, which you didn't deserve.
This time, you don't have that because I know what you
look like and they know who you are, or I will eventually.
They contact the local police and hand over this footage.
The pictures circulate to forces nationwide.
Eventually, this man is identified by Essex police and charged with theft.
He was given a 120-hour community order
and made to pay £300 compensation to John.
The other guy remains at large, so if he you see him,
don't let him near your garage!
If it hadn't been for my television cameras,
this would have been a crime that would never have been detected.
Now that the cameras are in place, I feel much more secure.
I know that if anything happens that I'm not aware of at the time,
it will be there on record.
And the robbery isn't the only transgression
caught on the motion picture cameras.
There's a cat that likes my cat and he comes every night.
They meet up! Ha-ha!
They have a cat party!
Caught in the act, eh?
Still to come on today's Caught Red Handed,
the battle against the bag snatchers.
You can see the bag over the foot,
lifting it up, she's hiding it behind that big bag.
A fed-up bar owner comes up with a high-tech solution.
And this rose rustler gets busted by an angry gardener.
Jon the plumber said how much he enjoyed catching his garage thief
and there is a certain pleasure in seeing a rat get caught in a trap,
like this next chap.
In America, this bloke is stealing a car,
and he's happy about it.
# Stick 'em up, punk, it's the Fun-loving Criminals. #
But what this laughing criminal doesn't realise is that he's stolen a police bait car.
And while he's busy struggling to work the CD player,
police patrols are closing in on his position.
A few minutes on and it's game over.
# Stick 'em up, punk, it's the Fun-loving Criminals. #
And the police have the last laugh.
We see a lot of CCTV cameras around nowadays,
guarding people's homes and gardens.
Altogether on the streets,
there are over a million cameras with their eyes wide open.
It's a trade-off, isn't it, with CCTV?
There's obviously a big civil liberties debate,
people say, "We're being filmed everywhere."
And the sort of payback from that is if you DO get attacked
or your bag gets stolen or something gets damaged,
the system's there to solve the crime.
I think if people see that the CCTV is serving a purpose -
it's making them safer, it's helping catch criminals,
then they're far more comfortable about it so think it's right that it's used for that.
The CCTV camera here catches someone stealing around £1,000 worth of goodies.
You probably wouldn't have noticed, so let's see it one more time.
And this time we'll highlight the thief.
We've just watched him take a woman's bag from the back of her chair.
We'll see what happens here later.
In Charing Cross, one man is harnessing the power of the internet
to fight back against this kind of crime.
Simon Gordon has invented a website designed to help the police
and public stop thieves running amok in central London.
You've heard of Facebook, well this is Facewatch,
a gallery of bag snatchers and pickpockets.
A sort of anti-social networking if you will.
Simon needed something to deal with the criminals that were the scourge of his family's bar.
It's literally straight out of the Dickensian era.
It's candles, old posters, everything's original.
But a Dickensian setting brings with it another very Dickensian problem.
And in these conditions they don't need to be Artful.
Ever since we've been first open, there have been people coming in,
taking advantage of the darkness,
taking advantage of the fact that it's full up.
And they'll swipe things, as they always have done.
Such as this pair of pickpockets.
They pick a spot next to an unsuspecting woman, who has her back to them.
They pretend to chat amongst themselves while one helps
himself to the contents of her bag.
He first takes her phone, even checks the make of it!
And then passes it across to his accomplice under the table.
This sort of thing was rife when Simon and his manager, Gerard,
took over the full running of the bar in 2003.
At the beginning, the first three years it was very bad.
Every year it was going up and going up.
We had around five, six thefts a week.
My aim is if people down here, this should feel safe.
You have a couple of glasses of wine
and forget that you've got your bag on the back of your chair,
but that shouldn't matter.
I remember this lovely young lady who was working, after school,
you know, it was her first job, her first pay, cash,
and unfortunately it was gone. Someone stole it.
And she was in tears, she really, she really broke my heart.
It's not just the money.
Nowadays, with the amount of things people carry in their bag,
it can feel as though your whole world has been taken from you.
As Gemma here found out, when, having a drink with a friend,
her bag was lifted off the back of her chair.
Straightaway, that feeling hit me,
that I couldn't get home, because my Oyster card had gone,
I couldn't get in because my keys are gone,
I couldn't pay for a travel card to get home because my wallet had gone.
My iPad was gone so I couldn't communicate with anybody.
It's not only stealing a bag, it's stealing part of yourself, to be honest.
The problem was that too many of these bag thieves
were remaining on the streets.
They've been unafraid of the old CCTV systems
and so have felt free to steal from bars
when they should have been behind them.
I suddenly realised that whenever we reported a crime to the police,
they used to have to come down and pick up a disk and take it away and go through all this footage.
And there was a lot of footage, and most of it was dark and grainy.
Faced with the task of watching it all,
Detective Chief Inspector Mike Neville and his fellow officers
at New Scotland Yard.
Can you imagine trying to sift through an hour of footage
trying to find, say, a bag theft? If somebody's attacked, it's very obvious when it happened
but when somebody does a sneaky thing like a handbag theft or
a laptop theft on a phone theft,
often you can't see when it happened.
So it would take a lot of time to do that,
a lot of police time to do that.
Nothing was getting solved so I thought, actually,
as a business we should be trying to do more to help the police.
So Simon invented this website.
You log in to it and you report the crime.
You have to be a business, that's the only thing.
It produces an automatic witness statement and then you can
upload CCTV and you press the button, it goes to the police.
And every time the police do anything,
you get an e-mail back telling you what's going on,
so it's really good for victims and for businesses
because you know what's happening with your crime.
Simon's non-profit website allows businesses to recognise
suspected thieves as they go from venue to venue.
To help this, he wanted improved image quality,
so he fitted his bar with a state of the art surveillance system,
manned by Head of Security, Bryan Speak, and his team.
The new megapixel cameras, we can actually zoom in
and capture quite a lot of detail,
we can zoom right in and see what they're doing with their hands.
The cameras are really clear.
If a crime is reported by a customer and is missed at the time,
the team spool back to find the exact moment the theft took place,
and then put the crucial footage up on the website
for the police to investigate.
By sharing the images with other venues,
they can also be on their guard and the net closes in on the crook.
The same woman did three crimes in Gordon's Wine Bar.
This one she did very clearly shows how easy it is to be fooled,
to have your stuff taken.
You just wouldn't be thinking of what's going on.
So this lady, there's a lady sitting here,
and the thief is standing behind her,
and if you watch her right foot, you can see the bag over the foot.
She's lifting it up, and again,
she's hiding it behind that big bag. So this is how they always do it.
It's audacious, and even the thief blows her cheeks out as she walks away.
But her relief is short-lived.
She was caught and jailed for 12 months.
And as for the pair of pickpockets we saw earlier,
before Simon's new system they probably would have got away
with stealing a woman's possessions.
But this time they're going nowhere.
A sharp-eyed camera operator sees the whole thing
and they're intercepted at the stairs by a member of the security team.
The customer's phone, wallet and mp3 player are found and returned to her.
And for these two? A wait in the back room
until the police come to arrest them.
Gemma's bag snatcher got away on the night. But it was caught on camera.
It was this footage you saw earlier.
Put up online, it allowed Gemma and the police
to see the crime against her.
This is Gemma. This is her bag. keep your eye on it.
He's walked by me to look and tried to take it the minute I sat down
but didn't feel that he could get away with it,
and then he walks straight back and I'm more engaged in conversation,
and he just flicks it off my chair.
Literally within seconds of me sitting down.
He was obviously very good at it because he was very well-dressed.
He made it look effortless.
And he thought he'd got away with the crime,
but this bag snatcher's face is on Simon's website.
So when he comes back for more, the staff know exactly who he is.
He came in, it was just a case of going out and detaining him.
He was then arrested by the police.
He tried to deny it, but he's obviously been proven guilty
because he's now in prison for three months.
It's just good to think that the system works.
From start to finish, in my case.
I know I didn't get my things back,
but it's good to know that the people cared enough
to see it through right to the end. And that he got charged.
In the war against thieves,
Simon's website is proving to be an invaluable weapon,
identifying them quickly.
What would have taken weeks, can take hours.
It's a real deterrent. It reduced crime in Gordon's very dramatically.
We have had a number of arrests.
Lots of criminals, when they see themselves on CCTV, plead guilty.
Now that saves a lot of money.
Most importantly, it often stops the victim having to go to court
and give evidence. It saves them that additional trauma as well.
It's about helping people to stop crime from happening
in the first place. I really believe that if you can stop people enough,
eventually they'll give up. I hope that'll happen.
We've been trying for too long using the old methods
and I think we can change things.
And finally, in Wrexham, North Wales,
roses are red, violets are blue, er, I can't be bothered to buy me own,
so I'm going to steal yours off you.
A proud gardener catches this petal pincher on CCTV after noticing
that his front garden mysteriously became sparser overnight.
And the more he checks his footage, the more rose rustlers he finds,
even in broad daylight.
Most women like to receive flowers,
but this lady takes the direct approach,
barely taking time out from her phone conversation
to massacre someone else's plants.
"Ooh, I like the look of this one as well. Don't mind if I do."
But this garden's owner DID mind.
Not wanting to resort to wrapping his bouquets in barbed wire,
he decides to publicly shame this pre-meditated action,
putting the video online.
Over 20,000 hits later,
the local community recognises the man and dobs him in to the gardener.
But he'd had his fun and needed no more retribution.
For the culprit, however, life was less rosy.
We're told he's changed his appearance to avoid being recognised
as the Wrexham rose robber!
Let's hope he's changed his ways too!
That's it for today. Join us next time
when the police and the public catch more criminals red-handed.
Dom Littlewood looks at clever new methods that the police and the public are using to catch crooks red handed. A bar owner fights back against bag snatchers and pickpockets, and three hapless teenagers burgle a house - unaware that the police are watching their every move.