Episode 9 Caught Red Handed


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Episode 9

A look at innovative ways of catching criminals. A masked intruder terrifies shop staff and a 14-year-old boy is badly beaten on a bus, but his attacker is caught on camera.


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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 anti-social behaviour,

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the police are now using new tactics

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where the bad guys actually get caught in the act.

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They're launching covert operations.

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Keep pretending you're talking on the phone for a bit longer.

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And setting clever traps...

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

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..that deliver unsuspecting crooks right into their hands.

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And there are also ways that we the public and local businesses can fight back

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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've caught you and we're sending you down.

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So anyone who's 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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A masked raider brandishing two carving knives

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terrifies a store in Lancashire.

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With two suspects in the frame, an image expert with a nose for detail

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works out from the footage which one could be the bad guy.

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And in Hull, a 14-year-old boy is viciously beaten on the back of a bus

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by a 19-year-old girl.

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I saw blood on my jacket.

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I thought, this is getting a bit bad now.

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Also, in London the devious lengths pickpockets will go to

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to get their hands on our stuff.

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But first, it's tea-time in Preston, Lancashire.

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And so far it's been a normal day at this corner shop.

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This is about to change.

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A young boy leaves the shop with a magazine he has bought just in time.

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A hooded man wearing a balaclava underneath

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bursts in wielding a carving knife in each hand.

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Waving the knives around, he shouts that he wants the till opened.

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The two members of staff don't want to get too close to him

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but they don't want to open the till either.

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The raider becomes more agitated,

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starts slashing at the man behind the counter...

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..who picks up a chair as a shield.

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Desperate, the raider then tries to force open the till himself.

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Failing to, he then becomes even more abusive

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and threatening with his knives.

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To try and get him to back off,

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the shopkeeper throws the chair at him.

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This, and the sound of another customer entering the shop,

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is enough to frighten the armed robber into running out of the store.

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He's gone away empty handed

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but with his balaclava he probably thinks he's safe from being recognised.

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But what he hasn't counted on

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is that a team of forensic experts are about to use the few vital visual clues

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provided by this footage to unmask him.

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The case lands on the desk of Detective Constable Les Clegg from Lancashire Police.

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He's keen to catch the would-be robber as soon as possible.

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As he knows another attempted incident like this

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could end up with serious injury or worse.

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The robbery has taken place when

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members of the public come into the shop. They're extremely scared.

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They are large carving knives.

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It is quite a horrific type of attack.

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Shopworkers all run the potential risk of getting caught up in a robbery attempt.

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The man behind the counter here, the shop owner,

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didn't want to talk about his experience.

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But another store owner, Robert Namadam,

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knows how it feels to be faced with an armed attacker.

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Robert's store suffered six robberies in a five-month spell.

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He has been threatened with knives, hit over the head with a bottle,

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and has even been shot at.

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It makes you worry, very much.

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You don't want to leave the shop

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in case something happens when you're not here.

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When it was happening to us, I wouldn't go home till we'd shut the shop.

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And I wouldn't have anything to eat cos I couldn't rest.

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-INTERVIEWER:

-Some people would say you're very brave.

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No, not brave at all. It's just it's my business and it's my livelihood.

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And I don't want anybody else to have it.

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Not all of the people who attempted to steal from Robert's store have been caught.

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And he recognises the difficulty in tracking criminals

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when they take steps to conceal their identity

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like the man in the Preston robbery attempt.

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There's not much of his face you can see, is there, really?

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This is the problem facing DC Les Clegg.

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But he still hopes there's enough evidence in this footage

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to help catch this dangerous man.

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Because he's got a balaclava on

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it makes it difficult to work out who that individual is.

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The only thing we had to go on

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was the partial shot of his nose

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and distinctive gloves and jacket.

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Our first thing was to locate the jacket.

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They ask local neighbourhood police teams

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about likely suspects for this crime on their patch,

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who have also been seen in a brightly coloured jacket like this one.

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They are given the name of Liam Gould

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who happens to live on the same street that, according to eye witnesses,

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the culprit was last seen fleeing down.

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DC Clegg and a colleague go to interview him about his movements the night before.

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Whilst there, that's where we had the lucky break.

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That's when we recovered the jacket

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which is distinctive cos it was green, white and black.

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The police take this jacket to the shopkeeper

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who confirms it's the same type worn by his attacker.

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So they go back and formally arrest Liam Gould for attempted armed robbery.

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But he protests his innocence

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and says that the jacket was left at his flat by a friend

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and it was actually this friend that carried out the crime.

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But when the friend is brought in for questioning, he insists it wasn't him.

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The police have a problem.

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The difficulties were identifying

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which one of the two individuals were responsible for the offence.

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The good thing from the investigation's point of view

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is the quality of the CCTV.

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So they call in the help of forensic imagery investigator Iwan Hughes.

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Iwan's job means he's used to picking out minute details.

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Iwan is given mugshots and custody footage of the first suspect

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and the friend he's accused.

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He'll compare their faces with the original footage of the robbery

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to see if he can eliminate either man as a suspect.

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First up, Liam Gould's friend.

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When comparing the second suspect's nose against the nose of the offender,

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we match them scale for scale.

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When the nose was viewed from the front,

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there was quite a clear and obvious difference with the suspect

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having a rather large bump on the bridge of his nose.

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Whereas the offender had a straight and uniform width to the bridge of his nose.

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When viewed in a profile view,

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the second suspect had a very obvious

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aquiline or a Roman appearance to his nose.

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The offender actually had a very straight bridge to the nose.

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Given these differences put together,

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that was enough for us to rule the second suspect out

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and eliminate him from the investigation.

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So that leaves Liam Gould. Could he be the offender?

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When we compared them, from the front

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you can see Mr Gould has a very straight appearance to the bridge of his nose.

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With a very uniform width.

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From the bottom of the eyebrow all the way to the tip of the nose.

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This was also a similar feature visible on the offender as well.

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When we view the noses from the side,

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Mr Gould again, you can see clearly the straight bridge of the nose.

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And small flare of the nostrils as well.

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These features were also similar in the offender.

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All these considered, there wasn't anything to permit us to eliminate Mr Gould,

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so he remained as a candidate for the offender.

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More evidence to build up the case that this man's the knife-waving attacker

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is provided when they find a pair of tatty gloves at his home.

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They look eerily familiar.

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Iwan gets a colleague to pose with the recovered gloves in exactly the same position

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as the original footage to see if they match the gloves used in the raid.

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You can see damage here on the index finger of the right hand.

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It's also evident quite clearly on the gloves worn by the offender.

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And also when held in a specific pose, you can see two clear pieces of damage

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on the ends of the fingers and thumbs there.

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Another small piece of damage halfway along the finger.

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You put all these things together, it's quite compelling evidence

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that the gloves used during the offence and the recovered gloves

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are one and the same items.

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Detective Constable Les Clegg and the police

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agree Liam Gould has effectively handed himself over.

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Especially when his DNA is found

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in the gloves and on the cuffs of the jacket he said was his friend's.

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So Liam Gould had worn that jacket and with the DNA to link it in

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that proved that a strong forensic case

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for us to charge Liam Gould with attempted robbery.

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A few weeks before his trial,

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Liam Gould, who claimed his innocence throughout

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and charmingly tried to make his friend a scapegoat for this vicious crime,

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eventually pleads guilty

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when he's made aware of the weight of evidence against him.

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He's sentenced to three years and two months in jail.

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I was very relieved that we managed to prove the offence.

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On its own, it would be very difficult to prove,

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but when you use neighbourhood policing, CID and forensic providers,

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all working together,

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it made a strong case to convict Liam Gould of attempted robbery.

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We've just seen how much evidence police can get from CCTV pictures.

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But sadly some criminals do still get away with it.

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Pickpockets, known to us as dippers,

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actually learn their trade,

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a bit like Fagin taught the boys in Oliver.

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They get really good at stealing from you without you even noticing.

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Ladies, I would suggest

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that you carry your bag diagonally across your body.

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So that the front of the bag is actually visible to you.

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And, gents, don't leave your wallet in your rear pocket

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or in an open coat pocket.

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They are at risk of being stolen.

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So, here's a dipping duo about to strike.

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Unaware that cameras are watching their every move.

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They walk into the bar of this restaurant.

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One of them immediately takes a quick scope of the area

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and takes great care to brush against

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this man's coat hanging off the back of his chair.

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By hitting the pockets, he can feel the weight of a wallet inside

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and does the same on the way back just to make sure.

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The diner, distracted by eating and talking with his companion,

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has now become the target.

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Over the next few minutes, menu in hand,

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they pretend to chat amongst themselves

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whilst sidling ever closer to the coat on the chair.

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One of the men has removed his own jacket

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to hang over his shoulder as a shield.

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Finally, he has one hand on hip

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and the other in somebody else's pocket.

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Once he's carefully prised out the wallet,

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the pair suddenly don't seem so hungry and leave immediately.

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They got around £150 in cash,

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cards and a driving licence.

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These two are still at large,

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so make sure they don't sidle up too close to you.

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Forewarned is forearmed.

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Best watch out for them.

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Still to come on today's Caught Red Handed...

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A man has a two-year battle with the council

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after filming a pair of traffic wardens he thinks have been very naughty.

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The wardens lay out there as predators almost, taking advantage of the situation.

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We're about to see an important use of new technology by the police

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which is helping make travel on public transport even safer.

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Anti-social behaviour used to be investigated on the buses, the trains, the trams,

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using undercover police officers.

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Recently we've been investing in a lot of technology

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on the public transport systems

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whereby we can tap into these CCTV images.

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We don't have to actually be on the bus to tap into the CCTV.

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We can monitor it remotely

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in control rooms via smartphones

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and we can monitor the behaviour of these individuals

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as they're travelling along the bus routes or even at bus stops.

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Thousands of us use public transport perfectly safely every day.

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But sometimes violent or threatening behaviour can be a problem.

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One of the most common crimes is vandalism or anti-social behaviour.

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Such as these lads causing mayhem on a late night train.

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First, they go around trying to rip fixtures off the sides of the carriage.

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Before letting off fire extinguishers

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that are supposed to be there for a real emergency.

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Wasting several extinguishers,

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they then leg it when they reach their stop.

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While it's in the station, a guard surveys the damage caused to this train.

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One that you or I might need to use tomorrow morning.

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But it can get more serious.

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Violent or threatening behaviour is another regular problem.

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In the West Midlands, it was to fight a rise in offences on public transport

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that led to the set up of the safer travel unit.

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Bus and rail companies have teamed up with the West Midlands Police

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and the British Transport Police to crack down on all types of crime.

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Anything from people putting feet on seats to smoking

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up to substance misuse and offences of violence occasionally.

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And offences involving robbery and theft of items as well.

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As well as police patrols they can also watch from afar from here.

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The safer travel CCTV control centre.

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At the moment we have approximately 800 static cameras across the West Midlands.

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What we're doing is adding to that with remotely deployable systems.

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The whole idea to work towards

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is ultimately when a bus driver or member of the public contacts us,

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the system can automatically switch on to live on board CCTV,

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and then we can pool resources

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and identify who is responsible.

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The ultimate aim is that to act as a deterrent rather than a catch and convict,

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and prevent this happening in the first place.

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It's not just the new technology police rely on.

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They also conduct spot checks, searching for things like drugs, weapons and fare evaders.

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Definitely is a link between people who don't pay their fare and other offences.

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If you look back at places like New York,

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they adopted a kind of a zero tolerance to fare dodging,

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and realised they brought down most other offences like robbery and things like that.

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For us, there definitely is a link.

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On both sides of the road, every bus is stopped and checked.

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The police also encourage the public themselves

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to fight crime with their fingertips.

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This card's called see something, say something.

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There is a number passengers can text to report any anti-social behaviour.

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We do respond to every single call we receive.

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So please do use these cards.

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It's violence like this that the police are encouraging the public to report straightaway.

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This is the bloody face of 14-year-old Jordan Duncan,

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and this is his story.

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Jordan is sitting just out of view

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of this CCTV camera at the back of a bus.

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Returning from an ice skating trip,

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it's the first time he's been allowed by his dad Craig

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to travel into the centre of Hull on his own.

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I wanted him to have a bit of responsibility of his own.

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So I was trying out him going to town, catching the bus by himself.

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And it all backfired.

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Jordan is the victim of an assault by a 19-year-old woman.

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I was just sat on the back by myself.

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I had a £5 note in my hand.

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I was rolling it in my hand

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and then she stood up and she was saying,

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"What's this fiver you've rolled?"

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I didn't have a clue what she was on about.

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And then she just come up to me and she tried grabbing my hat.

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Ripping my T-shirt.

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And just slapping me in the face.

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I wasn't going to give her the money cos it's not mine, it's change for my dad.

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The woman's slaps turn into punches.

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Having practised kick boxing for 11 years,

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Jordan has the skills to defend himself.

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But feels his hands are tied.

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I've always grown up being told never to hit a girl.

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I said politely, "Can you leave me alone, please?"

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And she just wasn't taking it.

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I saw blood on my jacket

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and I thought, this is getting a bit bad now.

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My eye was swollen, it felt bruised.

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My jaw was hurting.

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The woman eventually walks off with her friend.

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Not realising her outburst has been recorded.

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Jordan also gets up to leave.

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He asks the driver, who wasn't aware of the incident,

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to report it and runs home.

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My first thought was something really bad had gone on.

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Like he'd been run over or something.

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Cos there was that much blood and stuff everywhere.

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At first, they think it's just cuts and bruises.

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But after 24 hours of Jordan complaining about headaches,

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Dad knows he needs medical attention.

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We went to A&E,

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which they told us there and then that he'd broke his nose.

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Jordan and his dad face a wait to see if his attacker can be tracked down.

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One of the aims of these police searches is to help prevent violent crimes

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like the one committed against Jordan.

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And also to crack down on other crimes of anti-social behaviour.

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Such as passengers carrying and smoking drugs.

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Sergeant Brown is just dealing with one of the people that has been taken off the bus.

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Got a small quantity of cannabis in his possession.

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This is the kind of stuff we're targeting.

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People do report to us about anti-social behaviour on transport.

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Smoking of cannabis and the smell of cannabis. People don't like it.

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The establishment of the safer travel unit has had a marked effect on the West Midlands.

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Crime on the bus network is down 65 per cent over five years.

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And in the last year there has been a 12 per cent reduction

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in the number of offences on trains.

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And back in Hull, in an attempt to trap the woman

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who assaulted 14-year-old Jordan on a bus,

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the police publish the CCTV images of her face in the local press

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in the hope that somebody will identify her.

0:20:370:20:39

The night it was in the paper I got a phone call off the police

0:20:390:20:45

that they'd got her, they'd got this girl.

0:20:450:20:48

So it was pretty rapid. And it worked.

0:20:480:20:51

The 19-year-old woman pleads guilty to assault

0:20:530:20:55

and is handed down a 12-month community order with supervision.

0:20:550:20:59

She's also ordered to pay £300 compensation and attend alcohol management sessions.

0:21:000:21:06

Of course, some people choose to avoid public transport altogether.

0:21:150:21:19

But they can still be affected by crime.

0:21:190:21:21

Here's a simple tip for bike owners.

0:21:260:21:27

If you're securing your bike with a chain to the railings,

0:21:270:21:30

then don't just wrap it through one of your wheels.

0:21:300:21:33

-Otherwise it's

-wheely

-easy for a thief like this

0:21:330:21:38

to carry around their own wheel, pop the quick release on yours,

0:21:380:21:41

that's tied to the railing,

0:21:410:21:43

and then lift away the frame

0:21:430:21:44

before replacing it with the wheel they've brought along.

0:21:440:21:48

The frame is the most valuable part of the bike

0:21:490:21:52

and here it's gone in less than 60 seconds.

0:21:520:21:55

So when securing your bike to something,

0:21:550:21:58

always put the lock through the frame.

0:21:580:22:01

Yes, it does seem obvious,

0:22:010:22:03

but this thief wouldn't bother to carry round a wheel

0:22:030:22:06

if he didn't know a lot of people forget.

0:22:060:22:09

We've often seen the authorities catch our offenders on camera.

0:22:150:22:18

But in Nottingham, Tony here used a great deal of persistence

0:22:180:22:22

to turn the tables on a pair of officials

0:22:220:22:25

that he thought had crossed the line.

0:22:250:22:28

The yellow lines, to be precise.

0:22:280:22:30

Two years ago, on this street,

0:22:320:22:34

a long-running saga was kick started

0:22:340:22:37

when Tony witnessed an event that compelled him to tackle the traffic wardens.

0:22:370:22:41

It was the end of November 2010.

0:22:430:22:46

And Britain was in the grip of a big freeze.

0:22:460:22:49

Nottingham was no exception.

0:22:490:22:51

It was the worst night for snow for a long time

0:22:510:22:54

and people were abandoning their cars north of the city.

0:22:540:22:59

That was the reason I was still at work because staff couldn't get in.

0:22:590:23:04

Just gone 8pm,

0:23:040:23:06

Tony is interrupted by a knock on his office window.

0:23:060:23:09

There was a member of staff who said rather colourfully,

0:23:090:23:13

"Have you seen what these are doing out here?"

0:23:130:23:16

These are these two traffic wardens

0:23:160:23:18

taking an extra special interest in two parked cars.

0:23:180:23:22

The top half of this road you are allowed to park on.

0:23:220:23:26

Halfway down, you are not. And the double yellow lines start,

0:23:260:23:30

though it's seemingly impossible to tell that at the moment.

0:23:300:23:34

The cars that were outside were not covered with snow at the time but the road was

0:23:340:23:39

so the motorists had obviously come after the snow had fallen.

0:23:390:23:43

Not realising that there were double yellow lines there.

0:23:430:23:46

Before issuing a ticket,

0:23:460:23:48

a traffic warden has to have clear pictures of a vehicle on double yellow lines.

0:23:480:23:53

Of course, when you can't see the lines, this isn't possible.

0:23:530:23:57

But the warden solves the problem by doing a little shuffle

0:23:570:24:00

in the snow to wipe it away.

0:24:000:24:03

So a nice snap can be taken.

0:24:030:24:05

I thought this is just not on.

0:24:050:24:07

Angry, Tony starts to take some snaps of his own.

0:24:080:24:11

He also films the feed from the building security camera

0:24:120:24:15

as the wardens spend nearly 20 minutes circling these two cars.

0:24:150:24:20

This is part of it, they took so long.

0:24:220:24:24

They appear to have all the time in the world.

0:24:240:24:27

And this warden comes back.

0:24:270:24:30

She's not happy, I don't think, with the pictures she's taken,

0:24:310:24:34

because watch what she does now.

0:24:340:24:36

Removes more snow.

0:24:400:24:42

Another concerned passer-by!

0:24:430:24:45

I doubt very much they'll be saying, "Good on you, get on with it."

0:24:450:24:49

Eventually, having slapped two tickets on two windscreens,

0:24:510:24:54

the wardens leave.

0:24:540:24:56

But if they thought that would be the end of it,

0:24:560:24:59

they were sorely mistaken.

0:24:590:25:00

The wardens were out there as predators almost, taking advantage of the situation.

0:25:000:25:07

I thought, well, you can't deny this.

0:25:070:25:10

You've been caught red handed, really.

0:25:100:25:12

But deny it they did.

0:25:120:25:14

Tony decided to write a letter to Nottingham Council

0:25:140:25:18

complaining about the traffic wardens' actions

0:25:180:25:20

and saying the tickets should be revoked.

0:25:200:25:23

When the council wrote back in defence, Tony sent another letter.

0:25:230:25:28

This is one of the letters I received in the early part of the campaign.

0:25:280:25:32

"Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding the above.

0:25:320:25:36

"I am sorry that you feel disappointed with my response..."

0:25:360:25:40

The letter went on to say that the private contractors

0:25:400:25:43

who provided parking enforcement for the council

0:25:430:25:46

had been spoken to and...

0:25:460:25:48

"They have informed me that they did not sweep snow away from the double yellow lines."

0:25:480:25:53

Uh?

0:25:540:25:56

The wardens denied it and the Nottingham City Council were quite happy to go along with it.

0:25:560:26:01

I actually had evidence on film.

0:26:010:26:04

Tony sent in the footage.

0:26:040:26:06

Even so, the council wrote back saying that despite the pictures,

0:26:060:26:11

as both motorists in question had already paid the fines and hadn't appealed,

0:26:110:26:16

then as far as they were concerned, the case was closed.

0:26:160:26:19

Possibly some people would have been scared off

0:26:190:26:22

by the tone of some of the letters.

0:26:220:26:25

So I wrote back and said,

0:26:250:26:27

as far as I'm concerned it's a breach of public trust.

0:26:270:26:30

And I was angry enough to say, I don't care how long it takes.

0:26:300:26:34

I'll pursue this to the bitter end.

0:26:340:26:36

A cold war developed.

0:26:360:26:38

Tony sent a flurry of correspondence to the council

0:26:380:26:41

every time they tried to put the issue on ice.

0:26:410:26:43

Eventually, snowed under,

0:26:430:26:45

the council passed the matter over to their legal department,

0:26:450:26:49

and finally, 19 months after Tony's first letter,

0:26:490:26:53

the resistance melted.

0:26:530:26:54

The Nottingham City Council legal department wrote back to me.

0:26:560:26:59

They fully supported what I'd done.

0:26:590:27:03

They also added that they would refund the motorists.

0:27:030:27:08

They also gave me the fact that the company that was involved, which was a private company,

0:27:080:27:13

no longer had the contract for the wardens

0:27:130:27:17

so I'm thinking that this will not happen again.

0:27:170:27:21

Due to the persistent efforts of somebody they'd never met,

0:27:210:27:25

two probably rather surprised drivers

0:27:250:27:28

hopefully received a refund in the post.

0:27:280:27:30

I thought, good!

0:27:300:27:32

It just shows that if the little man does pursue things,

0:27:320:27:36

if he's prepared to pursue them

0:27:360:27:38

and has the time and resources to pursue them,

0:27:380:27:41

then you can get justice.

0:27:410:27:43

That's it for today.

0:27:480:27:49

Join us next time when the police and the public catch more criminals red handed.

0:27:490:27:54

A knife-wielding masked intruder terrifies shop staff - but police use vital visual clues to identify him, and a 14-year-old boy is badly beaten on a bus, but his attacker is caught on camera.