Episode 15 Caught Red Handed


Episode 15

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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Transcript


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Thieves will steal our cars, our valuables,

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just about anything they can get their hands on.

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To cut down on crime and antisocial behaviour,

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the police and other agencies are using new tactics and technology

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so the bad guys get caught in the act.

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The CCTV is gold dust.

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-Great evidence for the police.

-Got to have him stopped.

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Local councils, shops and businesses are laying some traps of their own.

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The eureka moment when you get that evidence.

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And the general public, too,

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can help unsuspecting crooks get their comeuppance.

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-People won't stand by.

-I couldn't sit back and do nothing.

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Yes, we've got her!

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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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Today, when a grandmother's money starts to missing,

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the family are shocked to find out who's responsible.

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This person betrayed all the trust we put in her.

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It's the last person they suspected.

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Also today, follow that car.

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An exciting ride for a local man

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whose four-by-four is commandeered by police for a pursuit.

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I shuffled across, he jumped in and off we went in hot pursuit.

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Just like the movies, but the going gets tough.

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I didn't realise it could go that fast.

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It's just, oh, dear, it's going to go bang in a minute.

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And a robber holds up a corner shop at gunpoint

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but, hold on - that's not a gun it's a banana!

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Colchester, Essex.

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These pictures are from elderly grandmother Barbara's living room.

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Barbara suffers from Alzheimer's

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and needs help from people like the carer shown here.

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My mum really liked the carer.

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She's the person that we'd bought wedding presents,

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birthday presents for.

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But when money keeps going missing from their mum's handbag,

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they want to know what's going on.

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So now, a home-made hidden camera is streaming footage

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to Barbara's family, who are watching it live from miles away.

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What they see happening, live in front of their eyes,

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comes as a shock.

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I was just so angry that this person betrayed

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all the trust that we put in her

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and betrayed the trust of a little old lady.

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Colchester, east Essex.

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For the past few years, Julie and her sister

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have been looking after their mum, Barbara's, finances.

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Barbara's family have asked that we don't use her real name

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but, over half a century ago,

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it was their mum who took good care of them.

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My mum and dad were married for just under 50 years

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and I have to say my mum really wore the trousers

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and she did her best to make sure

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that we had what we needed and that we had a great childhood.

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Julie's father passed away in 1996.

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Then, more than ten years later,

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they noticed that their mum was becoming forgetful.

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We didn't think it was Alzheimer's

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because, quite frankly, my mum is a very smart person.

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She was always on the ball and she was very informed.

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But she was subsequently sent for tests,

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where it was diagnosed that she did have Alzheimer's.

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Julie and her sister are advised

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to take over the running of their mum's affairs.

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A power of attorney enables you to give someone that you really trust

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complete control over your finances and your health and welfare.

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So, for us, it meant that we could always look at her bank accounts

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and we could talk to any authority about anything to do with my mum.

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As the family don't live very near Barbara,

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they arrange for a carer to visit her every day.

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Mum really liked her, we were happy with her.

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We were only concerned that my mum was being cared for properly

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and that she liked the carer that was coming to see her every day.

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Julie's sister drives over to visit her mum each week

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to take her shopping. She gives her housekeeping money,

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though Barbara is still able to withdraw cash herself.

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Because she likes to pay the people that come to her house

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to do her hair, to do her gardening.

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But after a while,

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Julie notices that her mum is taking money out more frequently.

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I realised that my mother was actually spending

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more than I do every week, which was impossible.

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Julie needs to find out what's going on.

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There were no pointers towards any one person

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or it might have been my mum doing something really silly

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with the money. We just didn't know.

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She decides to investigate.

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That's when we started to talk about putting cameras in the house,

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just so that we could see what was happening.

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But there's a problem.

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Most hidden cameras require daily visits

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to collect footage or to change batteries.

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Julie and her sister live too far away.

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So Julie asks friends if they have any ideas.

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A family friend did explain to us that he could build a camera,

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using a really small computer and that's exactly what he did.

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He built the camera and we placed it in a radio in my mum's lounge.

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The sisters don't want to worry their mum

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by telling her about the camera.

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They turn it on for the first time on Mother's Day.

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It works by streaming live pictures over the internet

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to the rest of the family's computers and smartphones.

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My sister and the family friend who built the computer

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did actually both watch, live on camera,

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all the events that happened that morning and you can clearly see

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my mum is walking around in the house looking very frail.

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The camera points at Barbara's favourite chair.

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She likes to sit here to read the newspaper

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and keeps her handbag beside the chair.

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The carer walked in about 8 o'clock.

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She was the first person to be filmed.

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Barbara leaves the room.

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The carer places a glass of water and a pill dispenser on the table

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but while she's stood by the chair,

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she also rummages around by Barbara's handbag.

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A few moments later, she's back.

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She bends over, unfortunately blocking most of the camera's view.

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But she delves into the handbag and pulls out Barbara's purse.

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It's not easy to see, but twice,

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she appears to pass something from the purse to her left hand.

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She then closes the purse and places it back in the handbag.

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As she turns, the stolen money can be seen in her hand.

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Julie hears about what's happening from her sister,

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who's been watching it all live.

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My sister was absolutely devastated and I was just so angry

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that this person that was always very friendly to us,

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that we'd been so nice to, was stealing from this little old lady

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who was really easy to care for.

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She's always happy, she's always cheerful,

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and she just betrayed all the trust we put in her, so mine was anger.

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The shocking footage continues, as the woman makes herself at home.

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To add insult to injury,

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instead of doing what she's actually paid to do,

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which was to tidy up all the mess you can see in the background here,

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she actually sits down and has a good read of the paper.

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The carer then checks her phone before settling back for a nap.

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Obviously stealing from someone vulnerable and elderly

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is exhausting work.

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You feel disgust and relief

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that you've actually caught this person who's betrayed your trust.

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The following day, they watch the carer steal money again.

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But this time, they accidentally stop the recording.

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Julie's sister and family friend

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take the footage of the first theft to the police.

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They give witness statements for the second time they saw her steal.

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They decided that there was absolute proof

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that she was stealing from my mother and she was subsequently arrested.

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The woman denies everything and protests her innocence.

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Eventually the case goes to crown court and she pleads not guilty.

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The jury made a unanimous decision,

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on both counts of theft, that she was guilty.

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The woman is sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

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She also has to pay fines and a victim surcharge.

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The family are just relieved it's all over.

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Barbara now has new carers

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-who she and her daughters are very pleased with.

-My mum's quite happy.

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Her Alzheimer's has progressed, it's all very slow,

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but she's in her own little world, she's really happy,

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she's always cheerful, she likes to have a giggle

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and that's why we didn't want her to know about any of this.

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Julie wants to stop others

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from becoming a victim of this type of crime.

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I think the most important thing that you can do is,

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first of all, to get power of attorney,

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both for their health and welfare and for their financial affairs.

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Then it's really easy to do to put cameras in the home.

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We've actually got cameras in more than one room now,

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not because we're suspicious of anybody stealing,

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but from a safety point of view for my mum.

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If she wasn't in her chair for any length of time,

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we'd be alerted to it. So, I think it's really important

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and also you can monitor their spending.

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Of course, the majority of carers are trustworthy,

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but many of us and our vulnerable friends and relatives

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have cash in the house from time to time

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and there are things we can do to keep it from being stolen.

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Keeping your money in a handbag or a purse,

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perhaps on the kitchen worktop of the coffee table,

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is a really bad idea because that's the first place someone will look.

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Put your cash somewhere separate with your cards.

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That way, if they do take your whole bag,

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they're not taking your purse with it.

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Perhaps you might want to consider recording the money you've got

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and what you're spending,

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so you can be absolutely sure if money's going missing.

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If you do have to have some cash in your house,

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for example, you've had some building work

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and you need to pay the builder that week, then keep it quiet.

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The fewer people that know about it, the better.

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Don't put it anywhere obvious.

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Think of somewhere random that's unique to your property.

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They're not likely to look there, wouldn't know where to look.

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And now, a robber who, literally, goes bananas.

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As cheeky thefts go, this is the pick of the bunch.

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Entering a grocery store, this man already has money in his hand,

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but he wants more.

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It turns out he's as bent as the bananas beside the counter

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and, maybe, that's why they catch his eye.

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Picking one up, he puts it in his pocket

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and then goes to the shop assistant, pretending he's got a gun.

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He demands the contents of the till and the assistant,

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actually believing the man's armed, hands over the money.

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The robber then asks for cigarettes.

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One can only wonder what he'd have done

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if something else had been next to the counter.

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A melon or pineapple probably wouldn't be so effective.

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Now another customer comes to the counter to buy a drink.

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She's completely oblivious that she's interrupting a stick-up

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but, deciding it would be fruitless to ask for any more,

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the man with the banana splits -

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though he fails to avoid

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the potential banana skin of the rubbish bin.

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and he's also slipped up by having his face caught on camera.

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Keen to avoid another banana drama,

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the police released these images,

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asking the public to keep their eyes peeled,

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so surely it won't be long before Banana Man is in custard -

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sorry, custody.

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Coming up, a thief works over a popular restaurant

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in the middle of the night.

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The longer I see this, the angrier I'm getting now.

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He takes a fag break and leaves behind a clue - his cigarette butt -

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and the restaurant owner's cameras smoke him out.

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But first, an off-road Boy's Own adventure,

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where a local man joins forces with the police

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to track an elusive criminal.

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Farmers' lives are being made a misery by a persistent thief

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who's been stealing large amounts of their machinery and farm vehicles.

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The impact of these thefts are massive.

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These are pieces of equipment that are the livelihood

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of the people that they're stealing from.

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This is him, filmed from a police helicopter in a stolen four-by-four.

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He recklessly destroys fences, putting animals in danger.

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You can see the sheep, the horses, scattering all over the place.

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The thief's getting away until a local man, David,

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offers the police his own four-by-four.

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He was looking up at me and I said, "You need one of these, mate."

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And he said, "Can we borrow it?"

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David and the police set off in hot pursuit.

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-I didn't realise it could go that fast!

-The chase is on.

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We're on the borders of County Durham and North Yorkshire.

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David lives and works in this area of outstanding natural beauty.

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It's stunning countryside, whichever way you look.

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It's mainly arable land and it's big, big open fields.

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These wide open spaces are David's office, so he knows them well.

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I've worked here for, crumbs, 20-something seasons now,

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so you know every farm, every landowner,

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where the gates are, where the gates aren't.

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But the isolated country lanes and fields

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can also be useful to thieves who target farms.

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You hear about it all the time, it's happened to us.

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Sometimes you'll know who these people are

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but you can't do anything about it.

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But there's one thief that Superintendent Andy Huddleston

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and his team from Durham Police are especially keen to track down.

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This person was wanted for multiple offences

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across the north of England.

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He was pinching four-wheel drives, trailers,

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anything that was agriculturally related, really.

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These are crimes that are causing some real hardship for the victims.

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They were farmers that were in parts of the world

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that are not particularly wealthy.

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That has a massive impact on how they do their business.

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The police are desperate to catch this thief in the act

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but when they've tried to follow him in the past,

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he's used the rough terrain to escape.

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Vehicles that he's stealing, he knows he could go off-road,

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do things we physically couldn't do with the vehicles that we had.

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But one afternoon in September, they get another chance.

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The thief is driving off

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with a stolen four-by-four pick-up truck and trailer

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and he's been spotted.

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A police helicopter tracks him,

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while Andy and other officers approach in patrol cars.

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They tell the driver to pull over but he has other ideas.

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Suddenly veering off the road, the thief,

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who's with an accomplice, busts through a fence.

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They quickly detach the trailer,

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so now the four-by-four can easily outmanoeuvre

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the patrol cars on the rough ground.

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The helicopter can follow the criminals

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but will have to refuel at some point.

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It's frustrating for Andy.

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Yeah, you think, "What can we do to stop this person?"

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Enter David, who's unwittingly about to get involved.

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He's on his way home after a morning on the moors,

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driving along a back road to avoid traffic.

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Suddenly the stolen pick-up races out of some farmland

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and onto the lane ahead of him.

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This pick-up flies out in front of me here.

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I think he brakes suddenly cos he saw there's a gap to a track,

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so I stop and think, "What on Earth's going on?",

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cos it all looked very dodgy and he tore across there,

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up that track, to the bottom of that wood.

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David doesn't know what to make of the situation.

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All of this is bad boys. This looks interesting.

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With that comes three police patrol cars.

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The police are still on the tail of the four-by-four

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but can't keep up over the rough farmland.

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Andy's police car comes to a halt next to David.

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I looked down at him, jokingly, cos he was looking up at me, and said,

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-"You need one of these, mate."

-And that's just what Andy's thinking.

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The vehicle was a Land Rover and, for me,

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exactly what we needed to continue on with what we were doing.

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He said, "Can we borrow it?" And I said, "Well, you can get in."

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Andy explained that, as the vehicle's commandeered,

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HE will have to drive.

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I shuffled across, he jumped in and off we went in hot pursuit.

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By now, the pick-up's far ahead

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but the helicopter's still keeping track.

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As Andy tries to catch up with the pick-up,

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he has reservations about bringing David.

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I wanted the vehicle. I didn't really want anybody else with me.

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But David's local knowledge proves useful.

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I said, "We can go up here, cos you'll cut him off.

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"He's way in front now. You'll meet him."

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This was a guy who knew the area.

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I couldn't have asked for a better crew mate

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to continue what we needed to do.

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The helicopter camera shows Andy and David's vehicle

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is a few fields behind the stolen four-by-four.

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But they're closing in fast.

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Everything was jumping around in the back.

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I didn't realise it could go that fast!

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Oh, dear, it's going to go bang in a minute.

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The driver of the stolen pick-up

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definitely isn't following the Countryside Code.

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He had everything to play for.

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He knew he was going to go to prison if he got caught.

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He was going straight through everything.

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I thought he was going to break the pick-up in the end.

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But even the pick-up can't bust through a metal gate.

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The passenger gets out and opens it.

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He can see Andy and David are hot on their heels.

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We nearly had him then. He slammed the gate, literally in front of us,

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so we had to stop, open the gate and then he got away,

0:18:300:18:34

and that's when he disappeared into this farmyard.

0:18:340:18:37

The helicopter warns Andy the pick-up has suddenly stopped.

0:18:400:18:43

At first, it looks like the driver is trapped in a dead end,

0:18:460:18:49

but really, he's planning an ambush.

0:18:490:18:51

Andy said what they've done in the past,

0:18:510:18:54

is reverse straight into the radiator of the police car

0:18:540:18:56

and, literally, as we came round the corner,

0:18:560:18:58

his reversing lights are staring at us.

0:18:580:19:00

The stolen four-by-four tries to ram them, but Andy gets out of the way.

0:19:000:19:05

That was the funny moment.

0:19:090:19:10

He thought it was some farmer chasing him,

0:19:100:19:12

then he looked up and saw this guy in uniform, driving this Land Rover.

0:19:120:19:16

He was off again like a scalded cat.

0:19:160:19:18

Andy and David keep him in sight.

0:19:210:19:24

Never before had the police continued to follow him

0:19:240:19:26

with such degree of... We've got a vehicle that can match yours,

0:19:260:19:29

in terms of what you're doing.

0:19:290:19:31

But the driver's increasingly desperate attempt to evade capture

0:19:310:19:34

has taken its toll on the stolen pick-up.

0:19:340:19:36

We noticed pipework hanging out from underneath.

0:19:360:19:39

It had ruptured the fuel tank on his vehicle.

0:19:390:19:41

Running out of fuel, the driver speeds into a field

0:19:410:19:44

full of sheep and horses, nearly hitting the animals.

0:19:440:19:47

He's trying to escape onto the main road.

0:19:470:19:50

But David's already told the police there's only way out of the field

0:19:550:19:59

and they're waiting for the stolen vehicle there. It's boxed in.

0:19:590:20:03

And that, for me, was the turning point,

0:20:030:20:05

where he's decided it's game over.

0:20:050:20:08

Finally, after nearly half an hour off-road, the men give up.

0:20:090:20:13

As Andy goes to arrest the driver,

0:20:130:20:15

a plain-clothes officer comes to help,

0:20:150:20:18

while another deals with the accomplice.

0:20:180:20:21

It's the end of the road - and the off-road - for this driver.

0:20:240:20:27

He's charged with multiple offences.

0:20:270:20:30

In court, he's convicted of theft of vehicles

0:20:330:20:36

and other agricultural items.

0:20:360:20:39

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

0:20:390:20:42

This criminal had been a thorn in the side of local farmers.

0:20:440:20:48

Police were keen to reward David for his help.

0:20:480:20:51

I got a bottle of whisky off Durham Constabulary

0:20:510:20:53

-and a police commendation as well.

-David's an absolute star.

0:20:530:20:56

Had he not been the person with that knowledge and that vehicle,

0:20:560:20:59

we would not have had the result that we had.

0:20:590:21:01

Though on the day, David had a bit of explaining to do

0:21:010:21:05

to his wife and family.

0:21:050:21:07

When I got home, two hours later than they were expecting me back,

0:21:070:21:10

you didn't know where to start, really.

0:21:100:21:12

I had to explain why the Land Rover had a few scratches

0:21:120:21:16

and dents on it, so I got Andy to do that.

0:21:160:21:19

Smoking is not good for anyone's health.

0:21:260:21:29

But it's a particularly bad habit to have if you're a burglar.

0:21:290:21:33

Cardiff, South Wales. Meet Giovanni.

0:21:350:21:39

This flamboyant Italian is a well-known local restaurateur

0:21:400:21:44

and many famous celebrities have been through his doors.

0:21:440:21:48

We look after celebrities and lots of wonderful customers

0:21:480:21:51

and we love families together, having a great time.

0:21:510:21:54

That's special, you know.

0:21:540:21:55

Voila. Salute.

0:21:550:21:57

But the high life can sometimes attract the lowlife.

0:21:570:22:01

This man has broken into the restaurant after closing time,

0:22:010:22:04

looking for items that aren't on the menu.

0:22:040:22:07

He's so brazen, in the middle of his raid, he even stops for a cigarette.

0:22:070:22:12

The longer I see this, the angrier I'm getting now. It's disgusting.

0:22:120:22:16

Hoping this crook can get served his just dessert,

0:22:160:22:19

Giovanni puts the restaurant's CCTV footage out on the internet.

0:22:190:22:24

We've got a massive following. It just went viral.

0:22:240:22:26

He hopes someone will give him a tip and identify the thief.

0:22:260:22:30

The Welsh capital, Cardiff, is a busy port

0:22:360:22:40

and its regular influx of tourists

0:22:400:22:42

means it has a thriving dining scene.

0:22:420:22:44

Born in Italy, Giovanni came to live here when he was three.

0:22:460:22:50

He now runs this restaurant in the city with his family.

0:22:500:22:53

I don't call it a job. I really call it a passion.

0:22:530:22:57

'We're traditional Italian.

0:22:570:23:00

'We do modern specialities, but a lot of our food is traditional

0:23:000:23:04

and we like being traditional and we love families together,'

0:23:040:23:07

having a great time. That's special, you know.

0:23:070:23:09

'And also, running it as a family, everyone's part of the family.'

0:23:110:23:15

Giovanni discovered his love of food at an early age,

0:23:150:23:18

helping out in the kitchen at his parents' takeaway business.

0:23:180:23:22

Then, as a young man, he travelled the world,

0:23:220:23:25

working as a waiter on cruise liners.

0:23:250:23:28

I missed sunny South Wales. The Welsh people are wonderful,

0:23:280:23:31

so I came back and decided to open a restaurant in Cardiff.

0:23:310:23:34

To begin with, Giovanni's restaurant is a humble affair.

0:23:340:23:38

I remember cooking on a four-burner cooker,

0:23:380:23:40

the way you cook at home, you know.

0:23:400:23:42

It's funny, when we first started,

0:23:420:23:44

we used to give customers barrels of beer to sit on and they'd say,

0:23:440:23:47

"We've got one more," and we'd say, "We've got no more chairs left."

0:23:470:23:50

Giovanni sticks at it. More than 30 years on, his restaurant has grown.

0:23:500:23:55

He's also had some rather famous diners through the doors.

0:23:550:23:58

If you've got passion

0:23:580:24:00

and you believe you're going to succeed, then chances are you will.

0:24:000:24:03

If you've got no heart, you've got no pasta.

0:24:030:24:06

Pasta? Where did that come from?

0:24:060:24:08

But Giovanni and his beloved pasta need protection from crime.

0:24:100:24:14

Having been a victim of thieves in the past,

0:24:140:24:16

he installs CCTV cameras and they soon prove their worth.

0:24:160:24:21

It's a Sunday morning

0:24:210:24:23

and Giovanni arrives to find there's been a break-in.

0:24:230:24:27

-Doors are damaged and equipment stolen.

-It's frustrating.

0:24:270:24:31

When you work so hard and you buy things you need

0:24:310:24:35

and then somebody comes along and steals them,

0:24:350:24:37

you get really angry, you know.

0:24:370:24:38

Giovanni calls the police and then checks the CCTV.

0:24:380:24:43

It's nearly 4am when this man appears in the restaurant building.

0:24:430:24:48

The burglar alarm is ringing but it's a Saturday night

0:24:480:24:51

and there's loud music playing in a nearby nightclub.

0:24:510:24:55

So, with all the noise, nobody hears the alarm

0:24:550:24:58

and the burglar continues undisturbed.

0:24:580:25:01

But he's unable to get into the restaurant itself,

0:25:010:25:04

as there are strong combination locks on the doors.

0:25:040:25:07

So, after searching the rest of the building, he finds some tools.

0:25:070:25:11

And then he starts chiselling away at the padlock

0:25:120:25:15

on the door to the maintenance room.

0:25:150:25:17

The locks are very strong but, at some point, they are going to give.

0:25:170:25:21

Eventually, after using a chisel, a screwdriver and then a shovel,

0:25:210:25:26

he prises the door open and starts searching for stuff to steal.

0:25:260:25:30

He's so laidback, he even comes out for a fag break halfway through.

0:25:300:25:36

The longer I see this, the angrier I'm getting now.

0:25:360:25:39

It is, it's so...disrespectful.

0:25:410:25:45

After finishing his cigarette,

0:25:450:25:47

the thief flicks the butt up into a hole in the ceiling.

0:25:470:25:51

He then finally leaves, taking hundreds of pounds-worth of tools.

0:25:510:25:55

These tools, sadly, belong to one of my staff,

0:25:550:25:58

you know, who is our in-house maintenance chap.

0:25:580:26:02

Stealing something is bad enough.

0:26:020:26:05

Stealing tools, where a person needs to use them

0:26:050:26:07

to make a living, is disgusting.

0:26:070:26:09

Giovanni pays to replace the tools

0:26:090:26:12

and has to repair the damage caused to the doors.

0:26:120:26:15

But the thief has miscalculated.

0:26:150:26:17

He didn't realise there was cameras watching him.

0:26:170:26:20

And, after looking at the CCTV, the police go up into the ceiling,

0:26:200:26:24

retrieve the cigarette end and send it off for forensic analysis.

0:26:240:26:29

While the police investigate,

0:26:290:26:31

Giovanni also decides to do his own bit to help.

0:26:310:26:34

He puts images of the man on the restaurant's internet web page.

0:26:340:26:39

We've got a massive following because of Giovanni's restaurants.

0:26:390:26:41

We've got a lot a lot of customers.

0:26:410:26:43

They shared it and shared and shared it. It just went viral.

0:26:430:26:46

It's amazing how many people thought they recognised him.

0:26:460:26:50

The same name keeps coming up and Giovanni passes it on to the police.

0:26:500:26:55

The police then were able to do a search.

0:26:550:27:00

They knew who they were looking for.

0:27:000:27:02

In less than a month, the burglar is arrested

0:27:020:27:05

and smoking so nonchalantly leads him to getting his fingers burnt

0:27:050:27:10

because the discarded cigarette end has been analysed

0:27:100:27:13

and he's positively linked to the crime.

0:27:130:27:16

They took the DNA and they were able to match the DNA with the thief.

0:27:160:27:21

The restaurant thief has served himself up on a plate.

0:27:210:27:24

In court, he pleads guilty to burglary

0:27:270:27:30

and is given a 112-day prison sentence and fined.

0:27:300:27:33

Since the burglary, more cameras have been added

0:27:360:27:40

and the alarm system updated

0:27:400:27:42

to make sure service continues with a smile at Giovanni's.

0:27:420:27:45

Best feeling in the world is to see customers laughing,

0:27:450:27:50

to see customers having a great night out together.

0:27:500:27:53

That's why I can't understand thieves,

0:27:530:27:56

because there are so many ways to earn a living,

0:27:560:27:58

to feel good about it.

0:27:580:28:00

And Giovanni should know.

0:28:000:28:02

It's a far cry from customers sitting on beer barrels.

0:28:020:28:05

A long time ago.

0:28:050:28:07

In fact, I've gone from being the youngest restaurant owner

0:28:070:28:11

to the oldest restaurant owner.

0:28:110:28:13

Say no more. But I don't look it, don't worry.

0:28:130:28:16

That's it for today. Join us next time,

0:28:200:28:23

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

0:28:230:28:27

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.


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