A look at new ways of catching criminals. Thieves steal a mobility scooter but do not realise their actions are recorded, and police fight back against illegal street racing.
Browse content similar to Episode 7. 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 now using new tactics
where the bad guys actually get caught in the act.
They're launching covert operations...
Keep pretending you're talking on the phone for a bit longer, mate.
..and setting clever traps.
The laptop he's about to steal is equipped with a tracking device.
-..that deliver unsuspecting crooks...
-Go, go, go.
..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.
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.
Coming up today on Caught Red Handed,
cable theft - expensive, annoying,
Police roll out a bait cable drum
loaded with a camera and a tracking device to catch thieves in the act.
Also coming up, it looks like a professional rally race
but it's actually illegal drivers
on a public road in Birmingham.
I knew if we didn't do something
that there would be some serious harm or a fatality.
Also today, the thieves that would even steal a mobility scooter.
How can someone be so sick
and knowing that's for a disabled person and taking it?
For a number of years, metal theft has been a national problem
and for the last few years,
criminals have been going copper crazy -
specifically the copper found in cables.
British Telecom provide a large proportion of the cable
for communications in the UK.
Simon Davies is their security manager.
The price of copper has increased multiple times
over the past two or three years,
so thousands of tonnes of copper are stolen every year from our network.
Thefts like the ones you're seeing now
cost BT millions of pounds to replace
but the disruption to communications affects everybody.
Businesses are unable to trade, they're unable to take orders,
vulnerable people in their homes
are unable to make telephone calls they might need.
It has a huge effect on communities.
So cable theft costs time and money
and it could even cost you your life.
Filmed from the cab of a fire engine,
what happens next is a direct result of cable theft.
Another fire engine's camera captures the explosion
and then a second house also blows up.
Incredibly, no-one was hurt as the houses had been evacuated
after residents reported a smell of burning.
It was just pure chance
that no firefighters were inside at the time.
This happened because thieves had earlier stolen copper from the overhead power lines,
leaving a stray live wire dangling down onto the ground.
High voltage electricity found its way
to the gas pipes feeding the houses,
superheating them to such a degree that they exploded.
So, while thieves want to get their hands on copper,
the coppers are really keen to get their hands on the thieves.
In West Sussex, PC Chris Dicker is using a new method
to help stop this dangerous and reckless crime.
One of the ways we're trying to combat this
is with this bait cable drum.
Somewhere on this drum - police don't want it shown where -
there's a spy camera and a satellite tracking device.
So as soon as this gets lifted,
it will send a text to my phone
and we'll be able to track it.
These cable crooks even put their own lives on the line.
People take such risks to steal it,
like hammering through generators and stuff like that.
It's in everybody's interests to deter this kind of crime
by catching people in the act
and Chris thinks he knows the perfect place
to, er...drum up trade.
There's a new housing development
in the process of being completed at the moment.
They've had a lot of reports of sus vehicles and that
turning up looking for scrap,
so what I've decided to do is,
just out of that area, at this substation behind us,
is to leave the BT cable drum there
as if it's like one of BT's own employees has just left it there.
These shots are from the tiny camera hidden on the drum.
If I leave it this way, hopefully we'll get a picture of a vehicle
or them walking up to it from the camera,
so I think this is probably the best position to put it in.
Cable drum dropped, now it's a wait
to see if anybody takes the bait in the next 24 hours.
Next morning, he comes in to find it's had an eventful night.
Since you left us,
we've had our cable drum that we put out yesterday stolen.
The bait cable drum was left yesterday lunchtime
and coming up to tea-time, barely four hours later,
the camera inside captures a passing motorist
taking more than a passing interest.
5:39 hours - we'll have a vehicle pull up from the left-hand side.
We then see the gentleman, he's obviously noticed the bait drum.
He's got out, approached it,
and then see, he's probably inspecting it and having a look
to see whether it's going to be worth anything to him or not.
He's then called a second person over, he's got out of the car
and in a moment, you'll see them wheel it off.
In broad daylight, the pair brazenly roll the drum towards their car
but they don't know the camera's also rolling,
catching the registration number of the car in the process.
But Chris doesn't just have pictures.
His fellow officers followed the tracking signal
and caught the thief red-handed.
That was recovered at an address in Hailsham,
whereby it was found in the occupants' car.
He's been interviewed and admitted taking it from the side of the road.
A successful result.
The driver was given an official caution with the warning
that if he's caught doing anything like this again,
he'll face a heavier sentence.
Chris and the team know
the more people they can trap with their bait drum,
the less likely people are to steal cable in the area.
This person is going to talk to his mate,
who's going to talk to his mate, who's going to talk to his friend,
so it's a question of spreading that climate of fear
that if they see something lying at the side of the road,
is it baited or not?
At the end of the day, if it's not yours, you shouldn't be taking it.
There are many reasons why people steal
but sometimes, it's just an overwhelming desire
to have an unaffordable luxury
that proves too tempting to resist.
Musician Kelvin Ho runs this guitar shop.
He's used to people occasionally murdering Stairway To Heaven
but after three expensive guitars were stolen from his shop,
he decided this was a musical crime too far
and invested heavily in a decent CCTV system.
It soon proved a wise investment.
This young man walks in one afternoon,
guitar case over shoulder,
seemingly just to browse around.
Up on the wall, a classic Gretsch, worth around £2,500,
has caught his attention.
At that price, it's out of the reach of most people,
but not for this young man.
After grabbing the Gretsch,
he opens up his guitar case to reveal it's actually empty.
This is not the case for long, as he conceals the guitar inside.
Yet he doesn't fret about what he's done,
and calmly looks around the store for a few minutes
before walking out.
When Kelvin later discovered the guitar was missing,
he filed a police report
and put the footage up on the internet
to expose the thief publicly.
It proved instrumental.
The next day, the young man was marched in
by his extremely upset mother...
..to return the guitar.
# Highway to hell
# On the highway to hell... #
The mother begged for mercy,
saying he hadn't stolen anything before.
Feeling sorry for her, Kelvin decided not to press charges.
Hopefully, that young man will change his tune in the future.
Now, still to come on today's Caught Red Handed...
A covert operation to stop a dangerous crime -
illegal street racing.
You can see that the pedestrians here move out of the way,
and God forbid if that vehicle would have crashed into the side.
And another shoplifter caught on camera.
This one's not after a guitar, but a luxury blanket,
and you wouldn't believe the lengths he goes to to get it.
With CCTV cameras everywhere,
some people are saying that we're living in a surveillance society,
but as far as the police are concerned,
the more eyes looking out for the bad guys, the better.
Police welcome CCTV footage from members of the public.
It helps solve crime more quickly.
For example, when offenders are in police custody
and they're presented with CCTV evidence,
they're far more likely to plead guilty.
And of course, having CCTV outside your house
acts as a real deterrent.
In our next story, a man rigs up a CCTV camera system
to protect his house, and ends up helping out the neighbourhood too.
A few years ago, 38-year-old father of five Tariq
was diagnosed with severe pulmonary hypertension,
a disease affecting the heart and lungs.
I'm very limited in my mobility.
Sometimes when I'm trying to do normal things around the house
or trying to do the shopping, it causes me severe breathlessness
where I get chest pains and I'll start bringing up blood
because I've exerted myself so much.
If his condition gets worse, he could face an organ transplant.
In the meantime, a recent spate of crime in the neighbourhood
convinced him to rig up a four-camera surveillance system
around the outside of his house.
I had CCTV installed mainly for my own safety and my children's safety.
I felt a bit insecure, especially being disabled.
What Tariq didn't know was just how much crime his cameras would catch.
Just gone 3:00am.
A shadowy figure approaches Tariq's Ford Galaxy on the drive,
and starts fiddling around behind it.
He later goes to the back of two further cars in the street.
His intention? Arson.
The back of Tariq's car has caught fire.
Fortunately, another resident sees this
and runs up to hammer on his door.
I open the door to him, I said, "Come on in."
You know, ran into the kitchen,
got some pots and I chucked one at him.
I got one, I filled it with water, and he started filling up,
and I ran out and I started chucking it all over the car.
Tariq and his neighbour fought the flames
until the fire brigade arrived, but the car was gutted.
I felt absolutely devastated.
I was absolutely devastated that my car had been destroyed.
The Galaxy seven-seater meant a lot to me.
I have a lot of kids
and I do a lot of running around with family.
All the stuff as well, in the car. It meant a lot to me.
That was my pride and joy.
Five cars in total had been ignited that night.
Though at least Tariq, with the police in tow,
could check his cameras' footage to identify the perpetrator.
I was going through, and I recognised the guy who put my car on fire.
I said, "That looks like such-and-such person."
Eventually, with the information that they got from me,
they managed to make an arrest.
22-year-old Niall Key was caught
and sentenced to five years in prison.
A result, yes, but incredibly,
those cameras were going to come in useful again very soon,
because sadly, that wasn't the end of Tariq's bad luck.
Just days after suffering at the hand of one criminal,
Tariq was to become the victim of another callous crime.
Now with no car and a wait for the insurance money to come through,
Tariq was left with only one way of getting about -
his mobility scooter.
I bought a mobility scooter a couple of years ago,
but when the car burnt out,
I thought, well, what I could do is now is,
I could jump back onto the mobility scooter.
The mobility scooter needed a new fuse,
so Tariq went to buy a replacement.
With his return came an unpleasant surprise.
I thought, "Where's the scooter gone?"
And to my shock and horror, the scooter wasn't there,
so I started shouting to the kids,
I said, "Suleiman, where's the scooter?
"Sara, where's the scooter?"
And all I heard was, "I don't know, Dad. I don't know."
I said, "Are you messing about with me?"
They said, "No, we're not messing about, Dad."
So, another trip upstairs to look at the CCTV tapes,
and another depressing sight.
Just down from Tariq's drive, this scrap van has pulled up.
The mobility scooter, parked by the door,
has caught the driver's eye.
He sends his mate over to have a closer look.
So he tried the door, and obviously,
there was no response because no one was in,
so he thought, "Field day. I can have the scooter for nothing."
The driver leaps out as well to lend a hand.
In broad daylight, the pair heave the scooter across the road
and then struggle with the weight
as they try to hoist it up onto the fully stocked van.
Seeing as it's giving the two able-bodied men such a hard time
to do this, you'd think they might spare a thought
for the less physically able person they're nicking it from.
Nope. They just drive off.
I feel that's very, very cheeky.
How can people, knowing that a mobility scooter
is for someone who is disabled, come on your drive and just take it?
That scooter brand new is worth £2,000.
To me, I can't comprehend how can someone be so sick
and knowing that is for a disabled person and taking it.
Police are hunting the thieves, who are still at large.
A few months on, and insurance paid out.
Tariq has been able to replace his car and scooter.
But as he previously had both taken from him
in the space of four weeks, you wouldn't have blamed him
for wanting a change of scene.
It just made me feel like I just wanted
to sell the house and move on.
And in another way, I kind of feel like, why should I run away?
Why should I run scared?
Why should I give the children that impression,
that it's better to walk away or it's better to run away,
and we should fear criminals?
You know, and so I thought,
no, I'm not running away from no-one.
Instead, Tariq is using his CCTV system
to help clean up the neighbourhood generally.
I'm so happy that I've got it, I would never change it.
In fact, I've had a lot of people approach me
and they've always asked me,
"Can you look back on such-and-such day for me,
"because this happened to me?"
So I was more than happy to oblige them to have a look.
I felt very happy about it.
Most thieves try to act quickly, to get away as soon as possible,
but not our next thief.
A contender, perhaps, for the most drawn out theft award.
In Ohio, the couple who own this store
went back through this CCTV footage after noticing
that a blanket like this had been stolen the day before.
And this is what they saw -
the blanket that went missing is here.
Watch this man with a baseball cap and beard closely.
He quickly grabs the rolled-up blanket
and puts it down on the floor out of prominent view.
He then makes a great show of not looking at the blanket,
checking his watch and talking to another customer.
As the shop fills up, he gets spooked
and walks to another part of the store.
But just over a minute later, he's back,
and moves the blanket once more,
behind a stand out of camera view.
Taking off his jacket, he places it over the blanket on the floor.
He then picks up his jacket with the blanket wrapped inside it.
But just before he makes the door, one of the shop owners walks in.
Fearing she may be watching him, he then swiftly puts
the blanket into a cupboard
and pretends to look at something else...
..when it seems he really, REALLY wants to steal this blanket,
and he spends the next few minutes waiting for the perfect opportunity.
Finally, he reaches between two other shoppers
engrossed in conversation,
wraps blanket in coat once more and leaves the shop.
And that would have been that,
but the store owners put this footage up on the internet.
Recognising the thief, locals came forward in their droves
and provided his name, address and even phone number.
Shamed by his crime, the thief quickly returned the blanket,
leaving it on the shop doorstep.
That's all stitched up, then!
Now, to a different type of crime altogether
and one that's potentially life-threatening.
Between June 2011
and July 2012, there were nearly 25,000 people killed
or seriously injured on our roads and a quarter of these were caused
by dangerous driving, reckless driving and speeding offences.
Cameras have vastly reduced the number of collisions on our roads
and we've seen a 35% reduction at camera sites nationally.
But some people make a sport out of dangerous driving.
The screeching, squealing world of illegal underground street racing.
At night, dozens of cars and bikes tear around the roads
we use every day, while hundreds of spectators cheer them on...
..the driving often reckless, accidents frequent.
The problem was so bad in Birmingham, in particular,
that worried about the potential loss of life,
police launched a covert operation to crack down on it.
Sergeant Paul Bieliauskas was part of the investigation team
tasked with stopping the races.
People would turn up en masse and then race along the public road.
We had speeds of 127mph.
This will go on up until about one, two o'clock in the morning,
keeping up residents,
but this is all about public safety - somebody will die.
24-year-old Chris Sinclair knows all too well
about the dangers of street racing.
He had just left work for the night on his motorcycle.
Ahead, two cars had started racing each other
on this single-lane main road,
weaving in and out of traffic.
At this junction, one lost control and swerved at 70mph
right into Chris, who was coming the other way.
What I do remember from the accident was crunching, engine noise,
a sound of a high-revving car, another crunch,
and then it all went quiet and I closed my eyes then.
The car that hit Chris's motorcycle was driven by Nikash Sultan.
His car was so badly damaged by the impact that it couldn't move.
The other car was driven by Umair Qureshi.
He fled the scene of the accident.
It was two whole weeks later before Chris woke up in hospital.
I've been told when the car hit me,
I was 50-odd metres down the road, you know,
my body was higher than the lamppost, top of the lamppost
I was spinning in the air and I landed quite hard on my neck.
The damage to his brain, caused by the blow he'd received, had left him
temporarily unable to recognise his friends and work colleagues.
He had shattered his left leg, with the ankle, knee, thigh bone
and hip all broken.
Both his wrists were fractured
and there were three breaks in his neck, which meant he had to wear
a metal head brace for three months, day and night, while they healed.
He had also lost the sight in his right eye -
all as a result of the foolhardy driving of two men.
It was exactly to avoid this kind of accident happening
that the police wanted to clamp down on the illegal street races
congregating in Birmingham.
When Paul and his fellow officers came across these gatherings
they were a no-go zone, even for the police.
It was too dangerous because there was 400-500 people, literally.
A number of people damaged police vehicles - they have flat tyres
or windscreens had been smashed by people throwing bricks.
Outnumbered, Paul and his colleagues needed a new tactic.
They had to get intelligence on who the regular offenders were.
They pinpointed this set of traffic lights as key to identifying
and catching them.
Two vehicles would pull up alongside each other
and race from the traffic lights into the distance.
They'll do a track along the Heartlands Parkway and the A47
and come back and literally do the same thing again.
Paul and the team asked special permission from
Birmingham City Council to install surveillance at this crossing.
They fit multiple cameras with microphones.
If the racers stop here, then they can be clocked
and their numberplates read.
And when the footage comes back, even experienced officers
are shocked by the behaviour these cameras capture.
While one car waits at the lights,
another one fails to brake in time.
God forbid if that vehicle would have crashed into the side,
heaven knows what would have happened.
But the worst was yet to come.
A 15-year-old boy is taken out into the middle of the speeding traffic
by the adult in charge of him and encouraged to start a race.
A few minutes later, he's back out on his own again.
And I knew if we didn't do something, that there would be
some serious harm or a fatality.
But now the police COULD do something.
With this footage, they could identify the cars
and numberplates of offenders
and when the culprits were unmasked, there was a surprise.
The term "boy racer" doesn't describe them.
The majority of people are late 30s, early 40s,
that have grown up with this culture.
The police brought 400 separate prosecutions,
with many receiving heavy fines and driving bans.
The operation has had a massive impact.
Street racing has significantly reduced to the point where
members of the public and local businesses are saying,
"This is no longer a racetrack," and they're able
to go about their daily business and use the road as they once did.
The two reckless drivers that caused Chris's horrific crash
were eventually found guilty of dangerous driving
and jailed for 16 months apiece.
They were also banned from being behind the wheel for five years.
Chris faces a long struggle to recover but he's now engaged
and getting on with his life.
He has a message, though, for anyone tempted to race.
Go to Silverstone, take your car
as fast as you can round there.
If you crash,
you crash into the tyre wall,
you're crashing into sand.
Don't put other people's lives at risk.
It's just not worth it.
Join us next time when the police
and the public catch more crooks red-handed.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Callous thieves steal a mobility scooter, but do not realise their evil actions have been recorded. Plus, police fight back against illegal street racing which left one innocent man with horrific injuries.