Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. A couple come face to face with armed robbers but refuse to hand over their money.
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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 - a husband and wife come face-to-face
with two armed robbers in their shop.
He said, "Give me your money,"
and took out the gun. This was a really big gun.
They're petrified, but refuse to hand over the money.
I told him, "No, I'm not giving you anything."
And I was thinking, "Oh, God. How to stop him?"
Also today - the secrets of the cashpoint scam.
Crooks can steal our cash when they're nowhere to be seen.
I thought, "It's my village, they're doing it in my village."
I think it's absolutely disgusting that they were taking money from people.
But Megan and the police show us how the scammers can be stopped.
And, where have all the flowers gone?
The mystery of a grand theft floral.
But a planted camera weeds out the culprit.
The town of Bacup near Burnley in East Lancashire.
It's a quiet Tuesday lunchtime for the couple who run this post office and shop.
Suddenly, two armed robbers storm in through the door.
One has a gun and the other's wielding a metal rod.
He said, "Right now,
"give me everything. Give me your money."
It was scary, really scary.
I was thinking if we will not give anything
then they will definitely shoot.
But even though they're held-up at gunpoint,
the shop owners bravely take a stand.
It just came in my mind, "No, I'm not giving you anything."
They set off a loud alarm and the robbers run out empty-handed.
So they still need money.
We don't know what they're capable of
and how far they're willing to go to get the money they need.
Two armed and dangerous robbers are at large in the town.
The Lancashire town of Bacup sits at the foot of the Pennines.
It grew as a mill town,
and its strong community spirit has helped it prosper,
and it continues to thrive today.
Sunny and Komal own a post office and shop in the
quiet area of Britannia on the outskirts of Bacup.
They've been married for over a quarter of a century
and work side-by-side everyday.
We hardly have the time to fight because we're always working!
He's on the quieter side,
and I'm a bit talkative.
So that's how I think it's balanced out.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I work happily and enjoy working together.
So no problem at all.
I think we are right for each other.
That's why we must have spent 25 years together!
The couple moved here seven years ago.
It's a really quite good area and excellent.
People are very nice, and good support we got from them.
Basically, I love talking to customers, that's my passion.
And that's why I've chosen this job,
because every day you'll learn something from some customer.
Historically, Bacup has a low crime rate
and the couple have never been victims of crime.
But aware that businesses like theirs can attract thieves,
Komal has put in CCTV cameras and panic buttons.
I know the post office is a target,
so just to protect ourselves it's better to have cameras
because you never know when trouble comes to you.
And one Tuesday in May, trouble does come to Sunny and Komal.
It's around midday and there are no customers in the shop.
Sunny's working behind the counter.
Komal is doing paperwork in the post office section behind him,
when suddenly two robbers wearing hoodies burst through the door.
It's so sudden, Sunny freezes in shock.
He said, "Right now, give me everything. Give me your money."
The robber in a grey hoodie has a gun.
The other, dressed in white with their face covered,
is a brandishing a metal bar.
It's a terrifying sight.
Then I came to realise, "Oh, my God, these are robbers."
And that was a very scary thing, you know?
The robber in grey heads straight for the post office counter.
Komal looks up from her work to find that she's
staring down the barrel of a gun.
I'd never seen a gun in my life.
I thought, "If he's shooting then no-one is going to survive."
The gunman demands cash. But despite her fear,
Komal refuses to hand it over.
It's very hard to make money.
It just came in my mind, "No, I'm not giving anything."
The pair turn their attention to Sunny,
who's standing next to the till.
The gun was at my head.
I was just thinking, "What will happen now?"
Sunny has to save himself, so he put both his hands up.
Sunny thinks he's facing two men.
But when the robber next to the door shouts and threatens him
he's shocked to find he's mistaken.
It was not a guy, it was a girl holding a steel rod.
Sunny's frightened, but he doesn't intend to hand over the cash.
He knows there's a panic button by the till
and, bravely, he decides to trick the robbers.
So, I said, "All right, I'll give you everything."
But I had to open the till
and I don't want to give her everything, you know.
But instead, he reaches forward and presses the panic button.
It triggers a very loud alarm and sends an alert to the police.
And it has a dramatic effect on the robbers.
They panic and run out of the door.
And Sunny runs after them!
I was trying to catch them!
Komal is horrified.
He just ran after them, thinking what, I don't know.
-I shouted behind him. I said, "Don't run!"
-But he won't listen.
The two armed robbers split up and disappear into the town.
So Sunny returns to the shop.
We hugged and we thought, oh, we are, you know, OK, both of us.
The police are there within minutes of the alarm and,
with two armed robbers on the loose,
Detective Constable Haydn Sibley knows there's no time to lose.
A firearm's been used in this offence,
so everybody that was available at that moment in time was
deployed to Bacup to try and locate these suspects.
police gather vital evidence...
His face covering lowers, which means we can see his face.
..and they get extra help from the townspeople.
Word spread very fast about what had happened at the post office.
The town of Bacup has two armed robbers running free in its streets!
When a floral display suddenly disappears,
grazing deer are suspected.
But the pest turns out to be of the two-legged variety.
Some thefts really are quite bizarre!
On this covered walkway, it looks like this woman's filling
some empty plant boxes, but actually, she's emptying them!
She's stealing the flowers from what were boxes
full of beautiful blooms planted by local girl guides.
And it's not the first time the flowers have gone missing.
The local residents think they keep being eaten by deer.
When the council check their CCTV, what do they find?
Not deer, but "Oh, dear!"
The petal pincher is a local woman who should know better.
Even the dog looks embarrassed to be there!
Obviously, the town think this is a blooming disgrace and, in court, the
woman's fined hundreds of dollars and has to pay for the flowers.
Hopefully, her descent into a life of crime has been nipped in the bud!
Coming up, this burglar's made up his mind
what he wants at a Chinese takeaway.
He's going to take away the chef's most valued possessions.
We felt our blood literally run cold, cos someone had crept up
into our private quarters while we were still there.
Two restaurateurs combined
to cook up a way to get the thief his just deserts.
When we use a cash machine, I think most of us
would check that there are no shady characters lurking around.
But here's a warning of a way that some sneaky thieves will try
and get their hands on our cash, even if they're nowhere to be seen.
The village of Esh Winning in County Durham.
This man's bank card is stuck in a cashpoint machine.
He believes it's been swallowed up by the ATM, so he leaves.
Shortly after, another man arrives to make a withdrawal, but what he's
actually taking out of the machine is the first man's bank card.
It's a scam.
They will withdraw the money very quickly, before the victim realised.
The area where these people were targeting were pit villages.
A pair of crooks are stealing hundreds of pounds
from people's bank accounts. The police warn the public
by putting pictures of the thieves out on social media.
I look at the police website every day, and it wasn't nice to see
that something like that was happening in this village.
Then, Megan spots a couple of familiar faces.
I couldn't believe my eyes. It was definitely them!
Esh Winning in County Durham is a former mining village.
Coal was mined nearby for over 100 years
and, although that industry's gone,
there's still a strong sense of community here.
PC Mick Renshaw has worked in the area for over ten years.
The city of Durham is surrounded by
a number of pit villages, which are quite rural, um,
very small populations, quite quiet little places.
The area in general, Durham, is a very safe area to be.
That view is shared by local resident Megan,
a 20-year-old mental health support worker.
I was born and bred in Esh Winning.
It's a very quiet village, um, there's no crime.
Megan likes to keep up with what's going on in the village,
so she keeps an eye on the Durham Police social media page,
in case there's any news about Esh Winning.
I look at the police website every day.
I mean, it's the village that I live in and you've got to look out
for everybody else in your village as well, not just yourself.
And the fact that Megan is looking out for everyone proves to be
important, when local villagers start losing hard-earned cash.
Reports come into the police from villages around Durham that
several people have fallen victim to cashpoint scammers
and have had money stolen from their bank accounts.
The police believe it could be the work of one gang.
I think the areas were being targeted, because generally,
the cash machines do get used on quite a regular basis, so they've
got the best of both, where the cash machines are getting used,
but the area in general is also very quiet.
Then, on a Sunday evening in August, the crooks come to Esh Winning.
A customer has some money taken from their account after using the ATM.
The cashpoint machine has a CCTV camera next to it.
So the police study the footage from around the time the victim
used the machine, and this is what they see.
A man approaches. He's wearing a cap that hides his face.
He pulls a device from his pocket
and plants it in the top left-hand corner of the cashpoint.
It's actually a tiny hidden camera.
He pulls out a second item, a gadget designed to trap a bank card.
He fits it into the slot and then disappears.
Moments later, the unlucky victim puts his card into the machine.
He types in his PIN, but the card stays stuck.
After seven minutes trying, he gives up and walks away.
Just two minutes later, another man in a cap approaches.
He's part of the scam.
He picks up the hidden camera that will have recorded
the customer's PIN number.
He extracts the victim's captured card and pockets it.
The thieves then head to a different cashpoint
to withdraw the victim's money.
Mick explains how it works. First, the hidden camera.
It's very simple, but very effective.
A fascia, with a small hole cut in,
magnets attached to the fascia, to the cashpoint, and then the device
records the victim putting their PIN number into the machine.
And a separate device is used to capture the card.
When the machine tries to inject the card,
it's trapped by the piece of metal to the rear.
And a message flashes up to the victim, which says,
"Your card has been taken by the machine."
And can be hours or even days before the theft is noticed.
The victim doesn't realise that some money's gone from their account.
They simply just assume that the card's been swallowed,
so a lot of these crimes do go unreported.
It can have a huge impact on victims, both financially
and emotionally, and also, it makes them think,
next time they go to a cash machine, "Can I really trust what I'm doing?"
About a month later, the thieves return to Esh Winning.
This time, it's in broad daylight,
making their appearance more recognisable.
He's wearing a very distinctive jacket,
which can be seen in the picture here.
He also has a cap on and he also has a satchel.
The police have been warning the public and appealing for help
by posting clear pictures of the thieves on the intranet.
Social media is really important.
It's members of the public who take the time to view
the Durham Constabulary website
and look at these articles that enable us to catch people.
Megan makes her daily check of the police website and is
shocked to see that Esh Winning has been targeted by criminals.
The image of those two people, it made me stop and look,
because I think that's absolutely disgusting that they've been
taking money from people. They could be taken from an elderly.
It wasn't nice to see.
A few days later, Megan's out with friends in the village.
I was having a few drinks with my friends in the club.
The bar they're in is just down the road
from the cashpoint in Esh Winning.
That same night, the pair of thieves decide to return
to plunder the village cash machine a third time!
The man in a cap plants the devices.
An unsuspecting member of the public's card is trapped.
After he walks away, the other man in a cap arrives
to steal the bank card.
But this time, he's been spotted by more than just the CCTV camera.
I came out for a cigarette with my friends
and I spotted someone acting very strange at the cashpoint.
And Megan's sure he's identical
-to the man she saw on the police appeal.
-I couldn't believe my eyes.
It was the same clothing, so it was definitely them!
I thought, "It's my village, they're doing it in my village,
"and I'm ringing the police."
Megan phones 999.
And where they've been seen, the man takes the captured card,
but he leaves their devices in place.
They aim to capture another card.
But they've picked the wrong time to get greedy.
As they watched their next victim lose his card,
the police are on their way, thanks to Megan!
Then we had some immediate response units
and went off to them and stopped them.
The two men are arrested.
At the cash point, a team retrieve the camera and card trap.
The thieves are caught carrying over £700 of other people's money.
We were very satisfied we had enough evidence
to get these two gentlemen charged and convicted of the offences.
Mick pulls all the evidence together.
In court, they are both found guilty
and sentenced to 12 months in prison.
It was a great result for ourselves and the constabulary as a whole.
It sends out a clear message to anybody who's coming
to County Durham to commit this type of crime that we will stop you,
we will catch you and we will convict you.
Social media has proved to be a useful tool in the fight
against crime, and Megan's delighted with the part she played.
It was quite a relief that they had been locked up
and I was pleased with myself as well, for the fact that
I rang the police and got criminals took off the street.
This type of crime is, thankfully, rare.
But there are things we can do
to avoid falling victim to cashpoint scams.
One of the easiest things
is make sure nobody's looking over your shoulder.
Hide your pin number, make sure people are far enough away from you
or why are they so close?
There are lots of devices that I've seen used by criminals,
including a full fascia,
which went over the entire cash machine.
So, if there's any additional objects,
or insecure things attached to it, then have some concerns about that.
Are there any loose wires? Is there something that appears to be hanging
from the machine that doesn't look like an average ATM machine?
If there is an issue with the cash machine, and your card is
swallowed, you might suddenly get a very helpful stranger, so just
be wary that that person might actually be involved in the scam.
If your card's been swallowed, contact the bank
and, if you think it's a scam, contact the police.
I wonder what burglars do when they go on holiday?
Do they take a day off from crime? Or do they carry on
with their day job and bring home stolen souvenirs?
Late night at a Chinese takeaway.
A customer walks in and up to the counter.
But this man's going to take away
something more valuable than a Chinese meal.
He's a burglar!
When we saw this footage,
we felt our blood literally run cold, cos someone had crept
up into our private quarters while we were still there.
The coastal town of Bridlington
attracts tourists in the busy summer months.
It's also home to Michael's family, who run this Chinese restaurant.
Our whole family's involved.
It started when we had a trailer and then,
my mum eventually saved up enough money to buy this place.
The restaurant's thrived, serving food that's authentic,
because it's cooked by a real Chinese chef.
Yang comes over to England to cook while his wife
and family live in China.
Our chefs actually live above the restaurant.
Yang has been working with us for eight years, so, essentially,
he is part of our extended family.
The restaurant is open till late at night,
so the family's installed CCTV, but there's never been any trouble.
until the Tuesday night in August,
when this man walks into the takeaway part of the restaurant.
It's late. The main restaurant has closed
and the family are eating their own supper in the restaurant area,
just the other side of the door on the right.
Takeaway customers normally ring for staff to come
and take their order, but this man doesn't.
The bell didn't ring and we didn't think anyone came in.
He seems interested in the stairs
leading to the chef's living quarters.
After taking a good look behind the counter,
the man suddenly head upstairs.
And a few minutes later, he creeps back down, clutching a laptop.
He pauses to listen for a moment.
Then hurries back out onto the street.
When the family finish their supper,
chef Yang goes back to his room and he gets a shock!
He was obviously panicked, so he ran downstairs and he shouted at us,
"My laptop and my phone's gone!"
For Yang, so far from home, it's like losing a lifeline.
He was very distressed, because, working here from China,
it's the only way he can contact his wife and his family.
Michael calls the police and then checks back on the CCTV.
When we saw this footage, we felt our blood literally run cold,
cos someone had crept up into our private quarters
while we were still there!
Michael is determined to find out who this burglar is.
He shows the footage to a friend who works at the nearby pizza place.
And he's in luck.
His friend recognises the thief from earlier that evening.
He told me he had been a bit... a bit lairy,
just really there to make a nuisance of himself.
But nobody knows the man's identity,
and neither do the police when they arrive.
Bridlington's not a big place
and they're fairly sure he's not a local.
Michael shares the pictures around town, so there's
a lot of people looking out for the man and the stolen goods.
And they were all really disgusted, cos, you know,
this is quite a small town and we all know each other,
and our regulars obviously felt really sorry for us.
And then, a few days later,
Michael gets a surprise call from his friend at the pizza place.
And he says, "I've seen the guy! The guy who stole the laptop!
"I'm hid in the bus stop looking at him right now."
Michael's friend has already called 999 and keeps the man in sight.
The police arrive and arrest him.
Michael gets the news.
We're like, "Great, what about the laptop and the phone?"
And they said, immediately, that he
had already said that he would be willing to give them back.
Yang is very relieved.
He was absolutely over the moon,
cos it's practically being reunited with your family.
And there's a reason nobody knows the man, because it turns out
he's in Bridlington on holiday with his family.
In court, the man pleads guilty to burglary
and is sentenced to two years and five months in prison.
Since the theft, Yang the chef makes sure he locks his door.
And behind another locked door, this burglar must be regretting
he never finished his short holiday,
because now, he's going to be away from home a lot longer,
serving time somewhere they don't serve takeaways.
Back to Bacup, East Lancashire.
And the attempted armed robbery at a shop and post office.
Unusually, the raiders appear to be a man and a woman.
Shopkeepers, Sunny and Komal, have been held up at gunpoint,
but they have bravely refused to hand over any money.
And when Sunny presses the alarm button,
the panicked robbers take off.
Detective Constable Haydn Sibley is investigating the case.
Mr and Mrs Goplani were very shook up, which is understandable.
Mr Goplani's has a firearm
pushed in his face.
It's been a terrifying ordeal! And afterwards, the couple realise
how the robbery could've had a very different outcome.
When we had time to ourselves, then it started sinking in.
It was really shocking and frightening, you know. I was
also thinking, "What would happen if anybody was hurt?" you know.
The following day, they're still shaken,
but Sunny and Komal are determined to carry on.
When I woke up the next day morning, then I cried first time.
It went into my... You know. ..head, like, "What has happened?"
And I thought, "OK, no, we have to now forget this,"
or keep it aside, otherwise, if we lose confidence,
then you just lose it, you know, there's no point.
They open up as usual the next day.
At the same time, the police are doing all they can
to catch this pair of criminals who are armed and potentially dangerous.
We don't know what they're capable of and how far
they're willing to go to get the money they need.
We need to catch them before they go and commit another offence.
Scenes of crime officers scoured the shop for traces of fingerprints
and DNA evidence, but they draw a blank.
Haydn studies the shop's CCTV and he notices,
at one point during the robbery, the gunman's mask slips.
The face covering lowers, which means we can see his face,
giving us a chance of catching the subject.
It's vital evidence. Now, with clear images from the CCTV,
police can circulate the pictures around the local area,
to see if anyone recognises the robbers or their clothing.
Because Bacup is such a tightknit community,
word spread very fast about what had happened at the post office.
I think Mr and Mrs Goplani are very well liked in the area.
We did receive some vital community information.
Two names are put forward to the police.
The suspects - a man and a woman - are arrested
and brought in for questioning.
Both were interviewed at Burnley Police Station.
Both denied the offence in interview.
Police have a clear CCTV image of a man with a gun and, when the
male suspect is shown the footage, it's evidence that's hard to deny.
Seeing this, he admitted his part in the offence.
They got their man!
But what about the woman?
Haydn has no solid evidence that links her to the crime.
He turns back to the CCTV.
They suspect at the door is
holding the hood of their jumper around their mouth.
That person was shouting and demanding money.
Haydn knows the missing jumper is the vital evidence he needs.
If we recover that clothing,
that person's saliva will be on the inside of that hoodie.
Then there's a breakthrough!
Police track down a bag hidden by the pair after the robbery,
containing items used in the raid.
This weapon and the clothing
were hidden in a black bin bag at the rear of an associate's address.
It's a metal air pistol
and, if this is pointed in your face in an aggressive manner -
like it was during this offence -
you're going to be extremely frightened.
And most important?
The woman's hoodie is amongst the recovered clothes.
It is an exact match. We have the stripes down the shoulders
and we have the blue piping around the waist.
It's sent to the forensic lab to see if it has traces of DNA.
And it does!
With both suspects identified,
they are charged with attempted armed robbery.
In court, the two raiders are sentenced to six years in prison.
Haydn's pleased with the outcome.
You don't often get a six-year sentence, but this is a violent case
involving a firearm and I think the sentence is justified.
Well, he's doing a wonderful job. Excellent job.
Sunny and Komal have received
a lot of support from neighbours and customers.
They're determined not to let the incident
spoil their enjoyment of running their shop.
We will stay, because we both love our jobs.
Mind you, Komal's not too happy about something else
she noticed watching that CCTV -
proof that Sunny has a habit of sneaking secret snacks.
-Whenever it's quiet...
-..he always keeps eating.
People always asking, "What, are you eating?"
-"I'm hungry! That's why I'm eating."
That's it for today. Join us next time
when police, and the public, catch more criminals red-handed.
A couple come face to face with armed robbers but refuse to hand over their money, and secrets of the cash point scammers are revealed.