Dom Littlewood shows how technology is used to catch crooks. This episode features a pub landlord who misses a pair of prolific burglars by seconds.
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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... SIREN WAILS
..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 pub landlord smells a rat
when he finds his back door left open.
This is the same door only seconds earlier
and, in fact, there's two rats.
They're burglars and the landlord's just missed them.
They were very, very lucky that they got out before I caught them.
Also today, like a scene from a thriller,
a burglar with a knife lurks in the dark.
He's sitting, just, like, talking to the mirror,
with a knife in his hand.
I imagine him saying, "You talking to me?" kind of thing.
He's learning his lines
and he's about to appear in a sinister role on camera.
And here's a thief who really puts her foot in it.
If you're going to steal someone's trainers,
first check they've not been treading in anything nasty.
Starting from Harlow in Essex,
two men set out on a pub crawl around the country,
but they're not binge drinkers -
these are binge burglars,
stealing a total of around £20,000 in 60 break-ins.
One day they committed eight in a three-hour period.
The raids hit their victims hard.
DC Kirsty Swan's determined to call time on their crime spree.
You take it quite personally.
You want justice for the victims, and that's why I do my job.
Harold took over the Phoenix pub in Harlow three years ago,
after being made redundant.
I've done 20 years in Royal Mail,
and I ran a pub back in the '80s in East London,
and it was quite good days.
It's somewhere to work, it's somewhere to live,
so, I thought, "I'll give it a go."
The Phoenix had few customers when Harold first started.
It was cold. It needed atmosphere.
Hopefully we provided that by making people welcome,
putting on functions for them,
and we were happy that families came back into the pub,
cos it is a community pub.
Harold lives above the pub with his own extended family.
Originally it was just me and the girlfriend,
but now my daughter moved in and grandsons.
Erm, no, we have a good time upstairs
and it's easier just to commute down the stairs to work.
But one Tuesday lunchtime
this welcoming pub faces an unwelcome intrusion.
Harold's served his 12 o'clock regulars,
and he's on his way to grab his own lunch upstairs
when he notices something odd.
I started to go through the private area
and I saw my front door open,
so I stuck my head out the front door
and didn't see no-one.
The rest of the family are out so it's a puzzle.
He goes upstairs to investigate.
I saw the kitchen drawers were pulled out,
so I went into the bedrooms and all the drawers were pulled out.
My back went up, and I thought to myself,
"Oh, someone has been in here."
He goes back downstairs to the bar to find out
if the customers have seen anyone.
The customers said they saw two guys
shoot across the car park like Linford Christie.
He checks his CCTV recording.
And to my astonishment
I saw these guys in my corridor and I was really, really fuming.
Harold's been burgled.
Two thieves have forced open the door lock.
They head towards where Harold keeps his safes.
His CCTV system is there too so they can see Harold,
who's serving at the bar, just on the other side of the wall.
It's frightening. One was monitoring the CCTV screen
while the other one was attempting to get into the safes.
But the burglars can't open the safes,
so they decided to sneak upstairs and raid the flat instead.
Going through my personal stuff, looking for money.
Returning downstairs, the men try to open the safes again,
but a moment later they hear Harold heading towards them
and run out of the door.
He misses seeing them by these few short seconds.
Oh, it just gets me, seeing this footage again.
I wish I'd caught them actually in that corridor,
cos the intrusion, it's unbearable.
It really, really gets my back up. It makes me very angry.
Harold's daughter gets home
and discovers her savings of £250 are missing,
but apparently, nothing else.
She was upset that people had been through her drawers
and some personal things, but mostly she was angry.
Harold calls the police
and Detective Constable Kirsty Swan takes the case.
It was a routine day at work.
I had a call in from the Phoenix pub.
It came in as a burglary.
I didn't initially think this would be part of a bigger investigation.
Kirsty visits Harold and his family at the pub.
Burglary is an awful crime.
You know, your home is your castle and it's your personal space,
and when somebody invades that personal space for their own gain,
it's quite distressing.
She looks at the footage.
The CCTV was just brilliant.
They didn't take any option of trying to cover their faces,
so somebody out there would be able to identify these offenders.
Kirsty circulates still images of the two men around the force.
Meanwhile Harold's daughter also puts the footage out on social media
to find out if the burglars have been spotted in other local pubs.
Within an hour
she's had replies that said other pubs had been affected.
Two landlords had discovered the men behaving suspiciously
but didn't call the police because nothing was stolen.
Harold tells Kirsty.
And you just started to see more offences coming to light.
Then there's a breakthrough -
two of Kirsty's colleagues recognise the men.
We got an identification on both suspects within a day.
The two men are brothers - Warren and Wesley Linehan -
and there's a further development.
Kirsty hears something that suggests their crimes may
spread wider than Harlow.
I just happened to be driving in my car,
listening to the news on the radio,
and they were saying about five burglaries that had happened in pubs
in the south of the county of Essex, and I just thought,
"That sounds really, really similar to what happened at the Phoenix."
Harold's burglary could be just the tip of the iceberg.
Reports of more pub raids continue to come in.
Kirsty finds there are similarities between them.
Their MO was to come in the pub during opening times -
they'd look like a normal customer -
and then they would go towards the toilets,
establish exactly where the private doors were,
and then make their way through those private doors,
whether they'd be locked or not.
If a pub is shut the pair will still try to break in.
This is footage from the Old Ship in Aveley.
While this suspect is searching behind the bar area,
the other suspect disappears and goes up to the private residence.
Fortunately, on this occasion, they didn't get away with anything.
The landlord at the Spread Eagle in Harlow isn't as lucky.
They've stolen around about £1,300, £1,400 in cash,
and the cheek of them, you can see then
they leave with the cash in the victim's own bag as well.
If they were confronted they would have a cover story
and that's usually, "Oh, we were trying to find the toilets,"
or, "Is this a hotel? Oh, I thought it was a B&B."
Kirsty needs to stop the brothers.
Armed with their pictures, she puts out a police bulletin
and appeals on local news for help from the public.
Then she spreads her investigation even wider.
You start looking at other forces
and making inquiries with them to see if they've had similar offences.
She discovers that pubs are being burgled across seven other counties.
On one day they committed eight in a three-hour period.
It's real paramount that we located them in order to arrest them
and stop them.
There's now a police manhunt for the brothers across a wide area,
and they soon almost catch them
after a burglary in the south of Essex.
The brothers escape on foot
after dumping their car during a chase,
but they've left valuable evidence behind.
Within that car we found a hoodie and two mobile phones.
The logo on this hoodie is the same as clothing
caught on CCTV at some of the pubs,
and the two mobiles hold some clues too.
The phones were forensically examined
and the DNA came back to one of our suspects.
Kirsty asks the phone service providers for data that
shows when and where the phones have been over the past few weeks.
Once we've got that cell site data
it tells us that that mobile phone was in that particular area
at the relevant date and time
of when those burglaries were committed.
That was just gold dust to me.
It was fantastic.
Kirsty has strong evidence but the burglars are still on the loose.
She decides to make another appeal on local media
for help to find the men.
It pays off.
Somebody called in that they'd seen them in another pub
and officers gave chase and apprehended them
and I was just so relieved.
I thought, "Finally, we've got them."
The brothers' criminal pub crawl is over.
They've stolen around £20,000 in just six weeks.
The total number was 60 burglaries.
My drive was to make sure that I got justice for
every single one of those victims.
Kirsty is able to charge the brothers with a serious offence -
conspiracy to burgle.
It carries the same maximum sentence as burglary.
Now she needs to show the brothers are responsible
for the whole crime spree.
The evidence was different for every single offence -
some we had CCTV,
some we had the phones,
some, you know, we just had descriptions,
but when you overlaid everything,
it was easy for me to look at them as one bigger conspiracy.
The weight of Kirsty's evidence is overwhelming.
The brothers decide to plead guilty.
In court, they are both sentenced to five and a half years in prison.
Kirsty is pleased, for the victims' sake,
that the brothers have been brought to justice.
The reason I became an investigator was this kind of investigation.
You know, you take it quite personally.
You want justice for the victims and that's why I do my job.
That's what I love about it is that when you can get all of this
evidence, bring it together and put these people behind bars.
Back at the Phoenix, Harold hears that the men have been jailed.
DC Kirsty Swan, I love her.
She is brilliant.
She helped us immensely, cos, erm...
it's a shock...
of having these people intrude on your privacy,
and she helped us through it.
A big thank you to the police.
To truly understand someone
they say you need to walk a mile in their shoes.
Well, I wouldn't try that with this next thief.
It's the early hours when this woman strolls down the street
and starts suspiciously trying car doors.
Giving up on the idea of a grand theft auto,
she then set her sights a little lower.
Creeping into this front garden, she disappears from camera view
and comes back with a pair of trainers.
Seeing they'd gone missing,
the owner couldn't help but see the funny side
because the trainers had been left outside for a month
as they were covered in cow muck and stank.
She may think she has this stealing thing down pat
but she's about to discover she's DUNG the wrong thing.
The owner decides not to bother reporting the theft.
Let's face it, nobody's going to be keen on sniffing this thief out.
That thief, like many others,
was initially looking to steal from cars.
Opportunistic car crime is very common,
so how can we best avoid being a victim ourselves?
It's daily business for a thief to go around trying every
car door handle until they find the one that's been left unlocked.
It's like going shopping for them,
so they're going to look in your vehicle and see anything of value -
it might be a jacket, it might be a laptop, it might be tools.
If you're using a remote locking system,
just make sure that you double-check that the car has actually locked.
And criminals can be more sophisticated now,
and they've got products that can jam the signal between the fob
and the vehicle itself,
so you may think that you've locked the car
when, in fact, is still open.
So just make sure you do that double-check
and it'll always remove that risk.
It's not only high-valued vehicles that are at risk.
Often criminals will steal a low-value car
and use it to commit a crime.
The older cars tend to come with less security,
so it's easier for them to be stolen.
The car becomes disposable.
It's not traceable back to them
and they can just leave it around the corner.
Coming up... A chilling sight for a cafe manager
when his security camera shows there's been a burglar with a knife
waiting at the foot of his stairs.
And that, for me, is the worst part of the entire footage.
It wasn't absolutely a nice feeling to see that.
I mean, it's the place that I come to work every day,
and the place I lock up at night on my own.
Now, for a bit of dirty business in Buckinghamshire,
and an ex-cop who follows his nose to track down the culprits.
A quiet country lane near Burnham, Buckinghamshire -
a car pulls over and a couple get out,
but they're not stopping for a picnic or to enjoy the view.
They're here to spoil the countryside
with foul-smelling waste.
Oh, you could literally smell it from ten metres away.
In terms of the stench,
it was one of the worst ones I think I've ever been to.
And this couple aren't the only ones to dump rubbish
at this beauty spot,
which is why ex-cop Chris Smith, from the council,
has decided to drop something off there, himself.
He's planting some cameras.
It's a job that I feel passionate about
and, when I do get my hands into a case that is detectable,
I won't let go until I get the man.
a few years ago, the council calculated that every year
so much rubbish is dumped in the county
it could cover an entire football pitch at a metre deep.
Ever since, they've been on a crusade to stop fly-tipping.
Chris Smith joined them as an enforcement officer.
If you do not jump on fly-tipping, it will expand.
If somebody sees a pile of rubbish,
the chances are that they will add to it and make the situation worse.
Fly tippers beware,
Chris has been used to chasing and catching lawbreakers of all sorts.
I was a police officer before
and when the opportunity of this job came up I jumped at it
because it's a job that I enjoy,
that I feel passionate about in terms of the environment,
but, also, it's using skills that I had and developed in the police.
He investigates in three main ways.
One is our covert camerawork.
One is finding evidence amongst the waste and following up those leads
and finally we have the public reporting incidents
that they have eyewitnessed to us.
Chris puts hidden cameras in place
when an area becomes a dumping hot spot,
and recently a country lane near Burnham is targeted.
Adrian lives at one end of it.
Allerds Road is an idyllic little road.
It's very quiet and very peaceful, not too much traffic,
and a very nice place to go for a stroll.
Just after moving here,
he discovers that there's a problem with rubbish.
Within two weeks of moving in,
one morning, it was literally, completely blocked,
with furniture that had been tipped there overnight.
The barricade of rubbish cuts off the lane,
and Adrian has to find another, longer way to work.
He's sad that the area has been blighted.
And I just thought, "It's just such a shame on such a beautiful lane."
The council clear the waste away
but for Adrian it turns out to be just the beginning of
many unpleasant encounters with other people's rubbish.
There would be literally one a week, two a week,
then I think the worst week there was five incidences in one week.
It's just a terrible thing.
It's astonishing when you consider the local tip
is at the other end of the lane.
They take... Literally, everything that has been dumped in the lane
could have gone there.
There is no excuse for not being able to go
during their opening hours.
But now Chris is on the case, it's time for action.
We've arrived here in Allerds Road and, as you can see,
there's a fly-tip of green waste here at the side of the road,
and it will just get added to if it's left.
Here we are at the household waste recycle centre.
It's literally 400 or 500 yards away.
Chris hides one of his cameras in the lane.
Our cameras are very small, they're very covert,
and they're triggered by movement.
We always deploy them at night
and, trust me, you will not see a camera when we've deployed it.
The public are warned that cameras are in use.
I spotted there were some signs
that say that surveillance was underway.
Adrian doesn't know where the cameras have been hidden
but he's on hand to report any new piles of rubbish to Chris.
It's a big help.
He made us very aware which made our life easier.
If he could say, "Well, there was a fly-tip overnight,"
we would go in, get the card
and we'd know that it was last night, you know.
And very soon there is a new case of dumping overnight.
The fly-tippers probably think the cameras can't see them
in the dark, but they're wrong.
I went down to have a look
and there was a pile of household waste at the side of the road
and it looked very promising that it was within the view of the camera.
Chris checks the footage.
The camera is designed to record a series of still frames.
It clearly captures the numberplate of the fly-tipper's van.
When you do get a result like this
it is very exciting and very encouraging.
The van's interior light helps
give a clear picture of the man's actions.
This was brilliant.
It enables us to see the offender depositing stuff
at the side of the road.
The man dumps a variety of household objects,
including an old ironing board and a chest.
As he drives off, his headlights reveal the pile of rubbish
he leaves behind.
The council clear it away
but Chris suspects there might be more rubbish dumped at that spot.
We were happy that we had deployed the camera in a good location,
so we decided to leave the camera in
and not make any attempt to contact that offender
until we removed the camera,
and lo and behold a few weeks later another offence occurred.
Once again, it's reported by Adrian.
There was a red crate.
It was exceedingly smelly.
You could literally smell it from ten metres away.
In terms of the stench
it was one of the worst ones I think I've ever been to.
Again, Chris checks what the camera's recorded.
Another very exciting moment,
and a good result for the camerawork.
A couple pull up in their car.
It must have been a smelly ride over.
They put on gloves and open the boot.
Then the woman backs up the car
while the man looks up and down the road.
We see their, sort of, furtive behaviour,
where he goes up and down to make sure that nobody's looking.
It just convinces me that they know what they're doing is wrong.
They dump the crate of rotting rubbish and leave.
Chris has the evidence he needs.
He traces the owners of the vehicles.
It's then that I write to the owner of the vehicle
and ask them for an explanation.
The couple reply straight away.
Bizarrely, they say that they dumped this waste
because they thought it was too smelly to take to
the recycle centre, and that they were going to get turned away.
I don't understand that, I really don't,
but that's... that was their explanation.
Chris discovers the night-time fly-tipper used a rental van
but Chris gets his details from the hire company.
We invite him into a local police station
and we conduct what's called a voluntary PACE interview,
in which he did admit what he had done.
In court, the man pleads guilty
and is ordered to pay £600 in costs and fines.
The couple also plead guilty.
Their combined total of fines and costs is £1,554.
Chris and his colleagues have a high conviction rate
and the word is spreading.
In the past few years,
fly-tipping in Buckinghamshire has reduced by nearly 90%.
We're proud of that performance and we always publicise it
to try and remind people that they're committing a crime
at the end of the day, and we think it's acting as a deterrent
to other would-be fly-tippers
and deterring them from committing offences in Buckinghamshire.
Guess who's coming to dinner?
A couple of men arrive at a restaurant without a reservation
and it turns out they've no reservations about stealing, either.
In fact, just about anything they can lay their hands on.
Ayr, Scotland -
it's a Monday evening
and these two men are checking out the town's new vegetarian cafe,
but the cafe closed hours ago and they're not customers.
When the manager arrives at the scene, he finds the door smashed in.
I didn't know, was someone in here?
I got a really horrible feeling of dread.
For good reason.
CCTV shows the men are burglars
and one of them is ready with a knife for anyone who disturbs them.
He's clearly intending to use it if he needs to.
Ayr is a major port on Scotland's West Coast,
great for shopping and dining out.
Just off the high street
Euan is the manager of a new basement bistro.
So, when we took this building on, it had been a coffee house,
so it wasn't a million miles away from what we were doing,
but that was pitch-black.
We spent probably about the best part of a month
preparing the building before we opened.
But Euan and his team are taking a risk -
theirs is the first cafe in Ayr to serve only vegetarian food.
You get your usual people who's like,
"Oh, I don't eat vegetarian food."
You know, ignoring the fact that, that salad is vegetarian.
Early on, it looks like their gamble may not pay off...
At the start we had a lot of quiet days.
We'd be lucky to serve a handful of coffees.
..but over the next few months,
word-of-mouth means they slowly build a loyal following.
My favourite thing is the customers.
We get to develop a real relationship with them.
The cafe is in a basement, with its entrance at street level.
They use CCTV cameras to look out for customers
coming through the door.
Security wasn't really the aspect that we got it for.
When you've got all these great intentions for your business,
and great visions, you don't really think about
the bad things that'll happen.
But the business has been open barely three months
when Euan get a nasty surprise.
When he arrives to open up one Tuesday morning,
he finds the door's been kicked in.
He's been burgled.
And the till was forced open, wedged open,
and everything was lying all over the place.
I looked at the kitchen - the doors were hanging off.
The fridge was broken, the food was everywhere
and it obviously started to sink in what had happened.
At that point, I didn't know, was someone in here?
And I didn't want to find out, you know.
There's sharp knives in the kitchen.
I got a really, kind of, a horrible feeling of dread,
so I just, kind of, left the building.
Euan waits for the police to arrive,
and then he replays the previous night's CCTV to see who's caused
all this damage to the new business.
The cameras show that at 7.20pm the night before
these two men approach the entrance.
Checking the coast is clear, they prise open the metal shutter
and then batter down the door.
It's totally dark inside but the burglars don't realise
that the cafe's cameras are infrared and are seeing
and recording their every cautious move.
Forcing open the till, they find only small change
as the day's takings have been banked.
The pair start searching the rest of the cafe.
Then one produces a large kitchen knife.
It's a frightening image.
He's walking around the building with an extremely sharp knife,
clearly intending to use it if... if he needs to.
No-one carries a knife unless they would use it.
The men take their time ransacking the bistro for valuables
for over three quarters of an hour,
and then, standing in front of a mirror,
the knifeman's behaviour takes a sinister turn.
This is the weirdest part.
He's sitting, just, like, talking to the mirror
with a knife in his hand.
I imagine him saying, "You talking to me?" kind of thing.
It looks like he's rehearsing a possible confrontation.
Suddenly the man hears a noise.
He darts over to hide by the stairs with
the knife at the ready in his hand.
It's a chilling sight for Euan.
It's the place that I come to work every day,
and the place I lock up at night on my own most nights.
I don't know, it just wasn't the nicest feeling in the world.
Satisfied no-one is there, the man grabs his stuffed bag and leaves.
The thieves have stolen food, knives and some money,
but all the remaining food in the kitchen has to be thrown out
for fear of contamination.
The clean-up operation means the cafe has to close for two days
and loses nearly £2,000.
You're kind of dejected about the whole situation
because it's everything you've been working on,
is all of a sudden, just, you know, flung up in the air,
just because some idiots decide that their needs outweigh yours.
Euan worries about the cafe's future,
but, thanks to the high-quality cameras,
at least the police can clearly see the burglars' faces,
and more than that, they recognise them.
They were impressed.
They said it was, like, the best CCTV footage they'd seen.
I put it on for, I think, all of 30 seconds, and they knew who it was.
The police track the men down and they are arrested.
In court, pleading guilty to charges of housebreaking
and malicious mischief,
One of the burglars is sentenced to a year's imprisonment.
The second man, who carried the knife,
is jailed for 18 months.
Since the burglary
Euan's vegetarian cafe has not only survived in Ayr - it's thrived.
We got shown a lot of support.
Our customers became more dedicated to us, you know,
in sort of a small level of defiance perhaps, I don't know.
The local press featured the story and that's helped the cafe.
The amount of people we've just got coming down for a coffee.
"So, is this the place that got broken into?
"Is this the place in the papers?" It was quite funny.
It was quite good, as well, cos it got us new customers out of it,
so I can't complain about that.
That's it for today.
Join us next time when police and the public
catch more criminals red-handed.
This episode features a pub landlord who misses a pair of prolific burglars by seconds and a thief with a knife who waits at the bottom of the stairs.