Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. A family plants a secret camera to catch a thief, and a local man joins in with a cross-country police pursuit.
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Thieves will steal our cars, our valuables,
just about anything they can get their hands on.
To cut down on crime and antisocial behaviour,
the police and other agencies are using new tactics and technology
so the bad guys get caught in the act.
The CCTV is gold dust.
-Great evidence for the police.
-Got to have him stopped.
Local councils, shops and businesses are laying some traps of their own.
The eureka moment when you get that evidence.
And the general public, too,
can help unsuspecting crooks get their comeuppance.
-People won't stand by.
-I couldn't sit back and do nothing.
Yes, we've got her!
So, anyone who's up to no good had better think twice.
They might just get caught red-handed.
Today, when a grandmother's money starts to missing,
the family are shocked to find out who's responsible.
This person betrayed all the trust we put in her.
It's the last person they suspected.
Also today, follow that car.
An exciting ride for a local man
whose four-by-four is commandeered by police for a pursuit.
I shuffled across, he jumped in and off we went in hot pursuit.
Just like the movies, but the going gets tough.
I didn't realise it could go that fast.
It's just, oh, dear, it's going to go bang in a minute.
And a robber holds up a corner shop at gunpoint
but, hold on - that's not a gun it's a banana!
These pictures are from elderly grandmother Barbara's living room.
Barbara suffers from Alzheimer's
and needs help from people like the carer shown here.
My mum really liked the carer.
She's the person that we'd bought wedding presents,
birthday presents for.
But when money keeps going missing from their mum's handbag,
they want to know what's going on.
So now, a home-made hidden camera is streaming footage
to Barbara's family, who are watching it live from miles away.
What they see happening, live in front of their eyes,
comes as a shock.
I was just so angry that this person betrayed
all the trust that we put in her
and betrayed the trust of a little old lady.
Colchester, east Essex.
For the past few years, Julie and her sister
have been looking after their mum, Barbara's, finances.
Barbara's family have asked that we don't use her real name
but, over half a century ago,
it was their mum who took good care of them.
My mum and dad were married for just under 50 years
and I have to say my mum really wore the trousers
and she did her best to make sure
that we had what we needed and that we had a great childhood.
Julie's father passed away in 1996.
Then, more than ten years later,
they noticed that their mum was becoming forgetful.
We didn't think it was Alzheimer's
because, quite frankly, my mum is a very smart person.
She was always on the ball and she was very informed.
But she was subsequently sent for tests,
where it was diagnosed that she did have Alzheimer's.
Julie and her sister are advised
to take over the running of their mum's affairs.
A power of attorney enables you to give someone that you really trust
complete control over your finances and your health and welfare.
So, for us, it meant that we could always look at her bank accounts
and we could talk to any authority about anything to do with my mum.
As the family don't live very near Barbara,
they arrange for a carer to visit her every day.
Mum really liked her, we were happy with her.
We were only concerned that my mum was being cared for properly
and that she liked the carer that was coming to see her every day.
Julie's sister drives over to visit her mum each week
to take her shopping. She gives her housekeeping money,
though Barbara is still able to withdraw cash herself.
Because she likes to pay the people that come to her house
to do her hair, to do her gardening.
But after a while,
Julie notices that her mum is taking money out more frequently.
I realised that my mother was actually spending
more than I do every week, which was impossible.
Julie needs to find out what's going on.
There were no pointers towards any one person
or it might have been my mum doing something really silly
with the money. We just didn't know.
She decides to investigate.
That's when we started to talk about putting cameras in the house,
just so that we could see what was happening.
But there's a problem.
Most hidden cameras require daily visits
to collect footage or to change batteries.
Julie and her sister live too far away.
So Julie asks friends if they have any ideas.
A family friend did explain to us that he could build a camera,
using a really small computer and that's exactly what he did.
He built the camera and we placed it in a radio in my mum's lounge.
The sisters don't want to worry their mum
by telling her about the camera.
They turn it on for the first time on Mother's Day.
It works by streaming live pictures over the internet
to the rest of the family's computers and smartphones.
My sister and the family friend who built the computer
did actually both watch, live on camera,
all the events that happened that morning and you can clearly see
my mum is walking around in the house looking very frail.
The camera points at Barbara's favourite chair.
She likes to sit here to read the newspaper
and keeps her handbag beside the chair.
The carer walked in about 8 o'clock.
She was the first person to be filmed.
Barbara leaves the room.
The carer places a glass of water and a pill dispenser on the table
but while she's stood by the chair,
she also rummages around by Barbara's handbag.
A few moments later, she's back.
She bends over, unfortunately blocking most of the camera's view.
But she delves into the handbag and pulls out Barbara's purse.
It's not easy to see, but twice,
she appears to pass something from the purse to her left hand.
She then closes the purse and places it back in the handbag.
As she turns, the stolen money can be seen in her hand.
Julie hears about what's happening from her sister,
who's been watching it all live.
My sister was absolutely devastated and I was just so angry
that this person that was always very friendly to us,
that we'd been so nice to, was stealing from this little old lady
who was really easy to care for.
She's always happy, she's always cheerful,
and she just betrayed all the trust we put in her, so mine was anger.
The shocking footage continues, as the woman makes herself at home.
To add insult to injury,
instead of doing what she's actually paid to do,
which was to tidy up all the mess you can see in the background here,
she actually sits down and has a good read of the paper.
The carer then checks her phone before settling back for a nap.
Obviously stealing from someone vulnerable and elderly
is exhausting work.
You feel disgust and relief
that you've actually caught this person who's betrayed your trust.
The following day, they watch the carer steal money again.
But this time, they accidentally stop the recording.
Julie's sister and family friend
take the footage of the first theft to the police.
They give witness statements for the second time they saw her steal.
They decided that there was absolute proof
that she was stealing from my mother and she was subsequently arrested.
The woman denies everything and protests her innocence.
Eventually the case goes to crown court and she pleads not guilty.
The jury made a unanimous decision,
on both counts of theft, that she was guilty.
The woman is sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.
She also has to pay fines and a victim surcharge.
The family are just relieved it's all over.
Barbara now has new carers
-who she and her daughters are very pleased with.
-My mum's quite happy.
Her Alzheimer's has progressed, it's all very slow,
but she's in her own little world, she's really happy,
she's always cheerful, she likes to have a giggle
and that's why we didn't want her to know about any of this.
Julie wants to stop others
from becoming a victim of this type of crime.
I think the most important thing that you can do is,
first of all, to get power of attorney,
both for their health and welfare and for their financial affairs.
Then it's really easy to do to put cameras in the home.
We've actually got cameras in more than one room now,
not because we're suspicious of anybody stealing,
but from a safety point of view for my mum.
If she wasn't in her chair for any length of time,
we'd be alerted to it. So, I think it's really important
and also you can monitor their spending.
Of course, the majority of carers are trustworthy,
but many of us and our vulnerable friends and relatives
have cash in the house from time to time
and there are things we can do to keep it from being stolen.
Keeping your money in a handbag or a purse,
perhaps on the kitchen worktop of the coffee table,
is a really bad idea because that's the first place someone will look.
Put your cash somewhere separate with your cards.
That way, if they do take your whole bag,
they're not taking your purse with it.
Perhaps you might want to consider recording the money you've got
and what you're spending,
so you can be absolutely sure if money's going missing.
If you do have to have some cash in your house,
for example, you've had some building work
and you need to pay the builder that week, then keep it quiet.
The fewer people that know about it, the better.
Don't put it anywhere obvious.
Think of somewhere random that's unique to your property.
They're not likely to look there, wouldn't know where to look.
And now, a robber who, literally, goes bananas.
As cheeky thefts go, this is the pick of the bunch.
Entering a grocery store, this man already has money in his hand,
but he wants more.
It turns out he's as bent as the bananas beside the counter
and, maybe, that's why they catch his eye.
Picking one up, he puts it in his pocket
and then goes to the shop assistant, pretending he's got a gun.
He demands the contents of the till and the assistant,
actually believing the man's armed, hands over the money.
The robber then asks for cigarettes.
One can only wonder what he'd have done
if something else had been next to the counter.
A melon or pineapple probably wouldn't be so effective.
Now another customer comes to the counter to buy a drink.
She's completely oblivious that she's interrupting a stick-up
but, deciding it would be fruitless to ask for any more,
the man with the banana splits -
though he fails to avoid
the potential banana skin of the rubbish bin.
and he's also slipped up by having his face caught on camera.
Keen to avoid another banana drama,
the police released these images,
asking the public to keep their eyes peeled,
so surely it won't be long before Banana Man is in custard -
Coming up, a thief works over a popular restaurant
in the middle of the night.
The longer I see this, the angrier I'm getting now.
He takes a fag break and leaves behind a clue - his cigarette butt -
and the restaurant owner's cameras smoke him out.
But first, an off-road Boy's Own adventure,
where a local man joins forces with the police
to track an elusive criminal.
Farmers' lives are being made a misery by a persistent thief
who's been stealing large amounts of their machinery and farm vehicles.
The impact of these thefts are massive.
These are pieces of equipment that are the livelihood
of the people that they're stealing from.
This is him, filmed from a police helicopter in a stolen four-by-four.
He recklessly destroys fences, putting animals in danger.
You can see the sheep, the horses, scattering all over the place.
The thief's getting away until a local man, David,
offers the police his own four-by-four.
He was looking up at me and I said, "You need one of these, mate."
And he said, "Can we borrow it?"
David and the police set off in hot pursuit.
-I didn't realise it could go that fast!
-The chase is on.
We're on the borders of County Durham and North Yorkshire.
David lives and works in this area of outstanding natural beauty.
It's stunning countryside, whichever way you look.
It's mainly arable land and it's big, big open fields.
These wide open spaces are David's office, so he knows them well.
I've worked here for, crumbs, 20-something seasons now,
so you know every farm, every landowner,
where the gates are, where the gates aren't.
But the isolated country lanes and fields
can also be useful to thieves who target farms.
You hear about it all the time, it's happened to us.
Sometimes you'll know who these people are
but you can't do anything about it.
But there's one thief that Superintendent Andy Huddleston
and his team from Durham Police are especially keen to track down.
This person was wanted for multiple offences
across the north of England.
He was pinching four-wheel drives, trailers,
anything that was agriculturally related, really.
These are crimes that are causing some real hardship for the victims.
They were farmers that were in parts of the world
that are not particularly wealthy.
That has a massive impact on how they do their business.
The police are desperate to catch this thief in the act
but when they've tried to follow him in the past,
he's used the rough terrain to escape.
Vehicles that he's stealing, he knows he could go off-road,
do things we physically couldn't do with the vehicles that we had.
But one afternoon in September, they get another chance.
The thief is driving off
with a stolen four-by-four pick-up truck and trailer
and he's been spotted.
A police helicopter tracks him,
while Andy and other officers approach in patrol cars.
They tell the driver to pull over but he has other ideas.
Suddenly veering off the road, the thief,
who's with an accomplice, busts through a fence.
They quickly detach the trailer,
so now the four-by-four can easily outmanoeuvre
the patrol cars on the rough ground.
The helicopter can follow the criminals
but will have to refuel at some point.
It's frustrating for Andy.
Yeah, you think, "What can we do to stop this person?"
Enter David, who's unwittingly about to get involved.
He's on his way home after a morning on the moors,
driving along a back road to avoid traffic.
Suddenly the stolen pick-up races out of some farmland
and onto the lane ahead of him.
This pick-up flies out in front of me here.
I think he brakes suddenly cos he saw there's a gap to a track,
so I stop and think, "What on Earth's going on?",
cos it all looked very dodgy and he tore across there,
up that track, to the bottom of that wood.
David doesn't know what to make of the situation.
All of this is bad boys. This looks interesting.
With that comes three police patrol cars.
The police are still on the tail of the four-by-four
but can't keep up over the rough farmland.
Andy's police car comes to a halt next to David.
I looked down at him, jokingly, cos he was looking up at me, and said,
-"You need one of these, mate."
-And that's just what Andy's thinking.
The vehicle was a Land Rover and, for me,
exactly what we needed to continue on with what we were doing.
He said, "Can we borrow it?" And I said, "Well, you can get in."
Andy explained that, as the vehicle's commandeered,
HE will have to drive.
I shuffled across, he jumped in and off we went in hot pursuit.
By now, the pick-up's far ahead
but the helicopter's still keeping track.
As Andy tries to catch up with the pick-up,
he has reservations about bringing David.
I wanted the vehicle. I didn't really want anybody else with me.
But David's local knowledge proves useful.
I said, "We can go up here, cos you'll cut him off.
"He's way in front now. You'll meet him."
This was a guy who knew the area.
I couldn't have asked for a better crew mate
to continue what we needed to do.
The helicopter camera shows Andy and David's vehicle
is a few fields behind the stolen four-by-four.
But they're closing in fast.
Everything was jumping around in the back.
I didn't realise it could go that fast!
Oh, dear, it's going to go bang in a minute.
The driver of the stolen pick-up
definitely isn't following the Countryside Code.
He had everything to play for.
He knew he was going to go to prison if he got caught.
He was going straight through everything.
I thought he was going to break the pick-up in the end.
But even the pick-up can't bust through a metal gate.
The passenger gets out and opens it.
He can see Andy and David are hot on their heels.
We nearly had him then. He slammed the gate, literally in front of us,
so we had to stop, open the gate and then he got away,
and that's when he disappeared into this farmyard.
The helicopter warns Andy the pick-up has suddenly stopped.
At first, it looks like the driver is trapped in a dead end,
but really, he's planning an ambush.
Andy said what they've done in the past,
is reverse straight into the radiator of the police car
and, literally, as we came round the corner,
his reversing lights are staring at us.
The stolen four-by-four tries to ram them, but Andy gets out of the way.
That was the funny moment.
He thought it was some farmer chasing him,
then he looked up and saw this guy in uniform, driving this Land Rover.
He was off again like a scalded cat.
Andy and David keep him in sight.
Never before had the police continued to follow him
with such degree of... We've got a vehicle that can match yours,
in terms of what you're doing.
But the driver's increasingly desperate attempt to evade capture
has taken its toll on the stolen pick-up.
We noticed pipework hanging out from underneath.
It had ruptured the fuel tank on his vehicle.
Running out of fuel, the driver speeds into a field
full of sheep and horses, nearly hitting the animals.
He's trying to escape onto the main road.
But David's already told the police there's only way out of the field
and they're waiting for the stolen vehicle there. It's boxed in.
And that, for me, was the turning point,
where he's decided it's game over.
Finally, after nearly half an hour off-road, the men give up.
As Andy goes to arrest the driver,
a plain-clothes officer comes to help,
while another deals with the accomplice.
It's the end of the road - and the off-road - for this driver.
He's charged with multiple offences.
In court, he's convicted of theft of vehicles
and other agricultural items.
He's sentenced to two years and eight months in jail.
This criminal had been a thorn in the side of local farmers.
Police were keen to reward David for his help.
I got a bottle of whisky off Durham Constabulary
-and a police commendation as well.
-David's an absolute star.
Had he not been the person with that knowledge and that vehicle,
we would not have had the result that we had.
Though on the day, David had a bit of explaining to do
to his wife and family.
When I got home, two hours later than they were expecting me back,
you didn't know where to start, really.
I had to explain why the Land Rover had a few scratches
and dents on it, so I got Andy to do that.
Smoking is not good for anyone's health.
But it's a particularly bad habit to have if you're a burglar.
Cardiff, South Wales. Meet Giovanni.
This flamboyant Italian is a well-known local restaurateur
and many famous celebrities have been through his doors.
We look after celebrities and lots of wonderful customers
and we love families together, having a great time.
That's special, you know.
But the high life can sometimes attract the lowlife.
This man has broken into the restaurant after closing time,
looking for items that aren't on the menu.
He's so brazen, in the middle of his raid, he even stops for a cigarette.
The longer I see this, the angrier I'm getting now. It's disgusting.
Hoping this crook can get served his just dessert,
Giovanni puts the restaurant's CCTV footage out on the internet.
We've got a massive following. It just went viral.
He hopes someone will give him a tip and identify the thief.
The Welsh capital, Cardiff, is a busy port
and its regular influx of tourists
means it has a thriving dining scene.
Born in Italy, Giovanni came to live here when he was three.
He now runs this restaurant in the city with his family.
I don't call it a job. I really call it a passion.
'We're traditional Italian.
'We do modern specialities, but a lot of our food is traditional
and we like being traditional and we love families together,'
having a great time. That's special, you know.
'And also, running it as a family, everyone's part of the family.'
Giovanni discovered his love of food at an early age,
helping out in the kitchen at his parents' takeaway business.
Then, as a young man, he travelled the world,
working as a waiter on cruise liners.
I missed sunny South Wales. The Welsh people are wonderful,
so I came back and decided to open a restaurant in Cardiff.
To begin with, Giovanni's restaurant is a humble affair.
I remember cooking on a four-burner cooker,
the way you cook at home, you know.
It's funny, when we first started,
we used to give customers barrels of beer to sit on and they'd say,
"We've got one more," and we'd say, "We've got no more chairs left."
Giovanni sticks at it. More than 30 years on, his restaurant has grown.
He's also had some rather famous diners through the doors.
If you've got passion
and you believe you're going to succeed, then chances are you will.
If you've got no heart, you've got no pasta.
Pasta? Where did that come from?
But Giovanni and his beloved pasta need protection from crime.
Having been a victim of thieves in the past,
he installs CCTV cameras and they soon prove their worth.
It's a Sunday morning
and Giovanni arrives to find there's been a break-in.
-Doors are damaged and equipment stolen.
When you work so hard and you buy things you need
and then somebody comes along and steals them,
you get really angry, you know.
Giovanni calls the police and then checks the CCTV.
It's nearly 4am when this man appears in the restaurant building.
The burglar alarm is ringing but it's a Saturday night
and there's loud music playing in a nearby nightclub.
So, with all the noise, nobody hears the alarm
and the burglar continues undisturbed.
But he's unable to get into the restaurant itself,
as there are strong combination locks on the doors.
So, after searching the rest of the building, he finds some tools.
And then he starts chiselling away at the padlock
on the door to the maintenance room.
The locks are very strong but, at some point, they are going to give.
Eventually, after using a chisel, a screwdriver and then a shovel,
he prises the door open and starts searching for stuff to steal.
He's so laidback, he even comes out for a fag break halfway through.
The longer I see this, the angrier I'm getting now.
It is, it's so...disrespectful.
After finishing his cigarette,
the thief flicks the butt up into a hole in the ceiling.
He then finally leaves, taking hundreds of pounds-worth of tools.
These tools, sadly, belong to one of my staff,
you know, who is our in-house maintenance chap.
Stealing something is bad enough.
Stealing tools, where a person needs to use them
to make a living, is disgusting.
Giovanni pays to replace the tools
and has to repair the damage caused to the doors.
But the thief has miscalculated.
He didn't realise there was cameras watching him.
And, after looking at the CCTV, the police go up into the ceiling,
retrieve the cigarette end and send it off for forensic analysis.
While the police investigate,
Giovanni also decides to do his own bit to help.
He puts images of the man on the restaurant's internet web page.
We've got a massive following because of Giovanni's restaurants.
We've got a lot a lot of customers.
They shared it and shared and shared it. It just went viral.
It's amazing how many people thought they recognised him.
The same name keeps coming up and Giovanni passes it on to the police.
The police then were able to do a search.
They knew who they were looking for.
In less than a month, the burglar is arrested
and smoking so nonchalantly leads him to getting his fingers burnt
because the discarded cigarette end has been analysed
and he's positively linked to the crime.
They took the DNA and they were able to match the DNA with the thief.
The restaurant thief has served himself up on a plate.
In court, he pleads guilty to burglary
and is given a 112-day prison sentence and fined.
Since the burglary, more cameras have been added
and the alarm system updated
to make sure service continues with a smile at Giovanni's.
Best feeling in the world is to see customers laughing,
to see customers having a great night out together.
That's why I can't understand thieves,
because there are so many ways to earn a living,
to feel good about it.
And Giovanni should know.
It's a far cry from customers sitting on beer barrels.
A long time ago.
In fact, I've gone from being the youngest restaurant owner
to the oldest restaurant owner.
Say no more. But I don't look it, don't worry.
That's it for today. Join us next time,
when police and the public catch more criminals red-handed.
A family plants a secret camera to catch a thief in the act, and a local man joins in with a cross-country police pursuit.