Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. When a woman suspects her elderly aunt is being fleeced by a thief in her own home, she sets up a stakeout.
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Thieves will steal our cash, our cars, our valuables,
just about anything they can get their hands on.
But now the police are using cutting-edge technology
to catch the bad guys.
CCTV is gold dust.
-Great evidence for the police.
-We have got to have them stopped.
Local councils, shops and businesses are fighting crime
with their own tricks and traps.
There's a eureka moment when you get that evidence.
And the public are using secret cameras to make sure crooks
get their comeuppance.
It makes me feel so angry.
-He's paid the price.
-He's been dealt with.
Yes! We've got her.
So anyone who is up to no good had better think twice,
they might just get Caught Red Handed.
When Debbie suspects her elderly aunt is being fleeced by a thief
in her own home, she and husband Danny turn detective
and set up a nerve-racking stakeout
involving two separate cars and live video pictures.
He sat in his car, I sat in mine.
When the villain is caught on camera pocketing cash,
it's time to call the police and pounce.
Danny was banging on my car window, saying, "We've got her."
Also today, an armed robber
with a knife gets more than he bargained for
when he tries to raid a supermarket.
Not only does the assistant on the till refuse to hand over the cash,
her colleague decides to put a dampener on his big moment.
But first, cafe owners Michelle and Phil,
who are trying to run a successful business,
suffer at the hands of the same burglar twice in two nights,
and it doesn't end there.
To actually watch him come down the wall just gave me the creeps.
The thief proves elusive.
Until he does a smash and grab burglary
in full view of security cameras.
I don't think he's collecting those bricks for his rockery.
There is a secret garden hidden near the centre of Newport in Wales.
It's at the back of a cafe run by long-term couple Michelle and Phil.
Phil used to be a civil engineer,
but found himself working away from home for weeks on end.
So, together with Michelle,
he decided to take a life-changing risk.
Michelle really wanted to set up a cafe, so I said,
"I can probably raise the money for the lease."
Then one day, we found this place that had been closed for about
ten months. And I just fell in love with it.
They named the cafe after Michelle's favourite book
and decided it needed totally renovating.
They did all the work themselves.
We made our tables and we made our bar.
We hand-sanded floors and painted all the furniture.
We didn't have any money at all.
I mean, we were haemorrhaging money when it first started, like,
£1,000 a month.
With the arrival of another mouth to feed, baby daughter Phoebe,
Phil and Michelle desperately needed their business to succeed,
but their takings were about to be hit by an extraordinary series of
burglaries, one night after another.
It's early on a Friday in June, and Phil goes to open the cafe.
I come into work in the morning, I saw the door was ajar,
and noticed the till was slightly open,
but it didn't click straightaway.
So I am getting on with my morning routine,
trying to get everything done.
Phil checks the till and finds all the float money's gone.
I'm, like, "Wow, I've been robbed."
And you're, like,
you just want to swear or shout.
Then you feel a bit, sort of, vulnerable all of a sudden,
which isn't nice. So I just phoned the police, phoned Michelle.
It was just devastating.
The feeling that came over me, I know it's not my home,
but I spend more time in this place than I do my home.
It was just a horrible feeling.
Michelle discovers the burglar broke in through the back of the building.
Where the door is completely sealed with a five point lock and PVC,
that's the last place I expected them to actually try and get in.
It's not just the door that's damaged.
The burglar smashed their security lights and a CCTV camera.
He grabbed a broom, and he just looked up and saw the camera,
The police arrive but can't find any forensic evidence.
However, when they check the CCTV,
they discover it captured some valuable material
before it was sabotaged.
Just after 11pm,
a shadowy figure is shown clambering down a wall into the garden.
To actually watch him come down the wall just gave me the creeps.
After checking the back door, the man smashes the camera.
He's in the dark, nosing around my cafe,
it just made me feel physically sick.
But another CCTV camera inside the cafe picks him up moments later.
He steals about £60 from the till and a bottle of whiskey worth £20.
It's taken him 20 seconds to cause us that amount of distress
But the theft is just the start of it.
The damage he left behind needs repairing,
and the bill comes to over £700.
People think perhaps robbing a business
rather than someone's home is a victimless crime, and it's not,
because there's still a family behind that business.
We have a little girl.
And she had to go without that month,
we all had to tighten our purse strings because we had to pay
those things to make our business secure again.
The single biggest outlay is getting a new £270 back door.
The locksmith told us his repair was a completely sealed unit,
and there was no way that anybody
was going to be able to break in again.
Confident her cafe is now secure,
Michelle goes for a night out with friends.
But towards the end of the evening,
she checks her phone and gets a shock.
There was a message from a neighbour, "The alarm has gone off.
"Get to the cafe ASAP."
She gets there as fast as she can.
I felt so anxious,
I couldn't actually get my key into the lock
to open the door fast enough.
When Michelle gets in, she finds her worst fear has come true.
Unbelievably, the thief has hit the cafe for the second night running.
The intruder has gone,
but so has all the float money in the till AGAIN.
Altogether, they've now lost over £1,000.
Just devastated when I opened the till again.
I couldn't believe it, because we paid so much to fix the door.
I just felt a bit stupid for leaving it there in the first place,
although, you know, we were told that the building was secure.
The police arrive, but just like the previous break-in,
they can't find any forensic evidence.
The next day, Michelle and Phil decide to join in the search
to identify the burglar using the CCTV footage from the first raid.
I couldn't basically sustain another break-in.
So after looking at the CCTV, we videoed it on our phones,
and we circulated that on social media to try and see if anybody
recognised this guy.
The cafe's well-known, and their plea for help has a quick result.
Literally, in a couple hours, somebody gave us his name.
Michelle passes the name onto the police,
and the case is handed over to PC Alex Mills.
The officers that'd been to the cafe, looking at that name,
were aware that that's somebody who's dealt with by my department.
Alex works in a unit that deals with prolific offenders.
The footage was clear enough for one of my colleagues,
who knows the person,
to actually say that he was confident as well
as the name that'd been provided
that this was the person we were looking for.
But knowing the thief's identity is one thing,
catching him is quite another.
We weren't able to find him at any of the locations that we had
information where he might be, which was really frustrating for us,
obviously, because we knew he was in the area,
was still actively doing crimes, and yet we couldn't find him.
So Phil and Michelle's cafe burglar is still at large.
Later, Phil and Michelle decide to barricade their cafe just in case.
But surely the thief won't strike in the same place a third time?
-He'd still managed to open that door.
With the wood underneath the handle, he still managed to pop it open.
Here's a contender for world's worst armed robber.
Pointing a knife at the shop assistant,
he demands she fills his hat with money out of the till.
But she flatly refuses!
A brave reaction that surprises him.
He rushes down to the end of the counter, and again demands cash.
But again, the shop assistant refuses.
The robber's flummoxed.
The shop assistant's colleague is equally unimpressed,
and throws a jug of water over the knifeman.
The soggy scoundrel runs off empty-handed.
Police are on his trail.
Attempted armed robbery is a serious offence.
But maybe this armed robber will think twice
about a life of crime now.
Thanks to two brave shop assistants, he knows that he's not big,
and he's not clever.
There are nearly 12 million people over the age of 65 in the UK,
and that number is growing every year.
Many pensioners come to rely on carers,
and whilst most are honest, sadly, some are not.
This woman is a thief, stealing from a defenceless elderly pensioner.
She thinks no-one can see her.
But they can. Thanks to a little electronic eye in the corner,
we're all in the room with her, watching everything she gets up to.
Debbie and Danny live in the North London borough of Enfield.
Their children have grown up,
so now it's just them and their three dogs at home.
For many years, they looked after Danny's elderly aunt Ellen
in her house nearby. Sadly, Ellen has now passed away.
Ellen was very proper, a very refined lady.
She liked nice clothes, she loved gardening.
Gardening was her absolute passion.
Debbie's aunt Ellen had found a soul mate early on -
her childhood friend and husband, Frank.
Ellen and Frank lived in the same house when they were kids.
He lived upstairs, she lived downstairs.
And eventually, they were sweethearts, and they got married.
And they were married for 56 years.
The couple both worked full-time.
They didn't have children of their own
but doted on their nieces and nephews, and each other.
They lived in each other's pockets.
And so when Frank died, it was a great loss to Ellen.
And life changed very much for the worse for her.
Family members did their best to try and fill the void.
She was always taken out to nice places,
but it's not quite the same as having your partner around, is it?
Day in, day out.
Their house became particularly comforting to her.
She had all the memories of Frank around her.
Through her 80s, Ellen overcame a series of serious illnesses.
But then she had a bad fall.
After weeks in hospital, she was allowed out,
provided she got full-time care.
Because Ellen was so adamant that she didn't want to go into a home,
that's when I made the decision to go and live with her.
Life wasn't grand, but we tried to make the most of it.
We had a good time, we used to laugh a lot together,
and I used to try and brighten her days.
But caring for Ellen 24 hours a day took its toll on Debbie.
It was just too much.
She was awake a lot during the night,
and I needed the support of other people,
so I could come home and sleep occasionally.
Debbie contacted a care agency,
and a rota was set up for carers to visit Ellen
when Debbie needed a break.
On the whole, 99% of them were really good at their jobs.
Debbie's husband Danny looked after Ellen's finances.
She insisted on paying for things herself,
so he made sure she always had enough cash.
Danny did Ellen's money reconciliations every week,
and he would put the bulk of the money into an envelope
in her bag and just some petty cash into her purse.
Ellen's care arrangements ran smoothly to begin with.
But unfortunately, this didn't last.
The problems started one February morning
when Debbie arranged a treat for Ellen.
We'd organised for a hairdresser to go to the house,
who gave her a little bit of a spruce over, freshen her up.
And when she came to pay,
I gave Ellen the bag for her to take her money from the purse.
And she said to me, "That's odd.
"There's no money in my purse."
Debbie also finds that the cash reserve kept in the envelope
in Ellen's handbag is £100 short.
She questions Danny about the discrepancy.
We argued because I said that he was negligent
with somebody else's money.
Was it perhaps Ellen asking the carers to take the money
from the bag and put it somewhere else?
We thought we'd wait until the following week
to see if more money went missing. And it did.
This time, they believe one of the carers must be stealing from Ellen.
I felt so angry that the culprit would've taken from somebody
so vulnerable. I felt betrayed, very much.
I felt I couldn't report it to the agency,
because they'd start an investigation,
and the culprit then would be given a heads up on what was going on.
And I wanted them caught.
Danny and Debbie believed that the money's going missing
sometime over the weekend.
There are three carers who regularly work those shifts.
To try to find out who the culprit is, they decide to buy a spy camera,
which is hidden in a small clock.
Ellen wasn't aware that this camera was going in at all.
If she'd known that somebody had been stealing from her,
that would have been catastrophic for her.
Danny tops the money up in Ellen's handbag, as usual, on Friday.
They set the clock camera going and wait to see what happens.
On the Monday when we went back to the bag, the money had gone.
And we ran furiously to the clock to see what it had recorded.
And unfortunately, it failed.
It didn't work.
It was so, so frustrating.
We were angry with each other.
I just couldn't believe it just hadn't recorded.
Maybe they made a mistake setting up the spy cam.
But they decide to try a different type of camera.
This time in the guise of a loudspeaker.
We took some advice on a camera that live streams to your telephone,
so that you actually know if it's working or not.
They leave the speaker camera on the bedside table,
where it gives a clear view of any activity around Ellen,
who's lying in bed.
Ellen's handbag is just out of shot to the bottom left of screen.
Outside the house in his car,
Danny is able to watch live video
of what's happening on his mobile phone.
As well as the camera recording,
the couple are hoping the bank notes
left in Ellen's handbag could also provide valuable evidence.
We decided that we would take a note of the serial numbers of the money
that we planted in the envelope on the Friday when we did
They inform the police about their plan
and get a thumbs up to go ahead.
On Saturday morning, they drive to Ellen's house.
Got there early to make sure
that the live streaming was OK, and it was.
It was fine. He sat in his car, I sat up in mine.
The first carer arrives.
-Sorry I'm a bit late.
There's your tablets.
Danny and Debbie have come in separate vehicles,
thinking they could block a carer's car in
if one of them does turn out to be a thief.
Unfortunately, the first carer turned up on foot.
So that thwarted our first plans,
and set us into a bit of a panic because the police had told us
that we needed to keep her there.
If necessary, do a citizens arrest.
Not knowing which of the three carers is stealing
means they could be spending a long time waiting in their separate cars.
And only Danny's phone is getting
the live video from the hidden camera.
He's watching it, and I'm just sat like a plum,
waiting to find out what's going on.
And suddenly, Danny was running up the road towards me,
banging on my car window, saying to me, "We've got her!
"We've got her!"
Debbie transfers the video onto her phone, and this is what she sees.
The carer takes Ellen through to the bathroom.
A moment later, she comes back alone.
She is about to change the bedding,
when suddenly she stops and reaches for Ellen's handbag.
She thinks no-one can see her,
but there's a hidden eye on the table that means
that we can see what she does next.
She quietly opens the zip, knowing Ellen has good hearing,
and not wanting to give the game away.
The carer goes straight to the envelope
and takes two £20 notes out.
She then has a look into Ellen's purse...
..but doesn't take anything...
..and puts it back in the bag.
She carefully closes the zip
and places the bag back where she found it.
The carer then pockets the two £20 notes and leaves the room.
My gut reaction was just fury,
just absolute rage that she would do that.
The carer comes back into the bedroom.
She walks over to a chest and opens a draw.
She's opening a purse that I didn't even know was in that drawer.
This is going on actually in front of us.
The adrenaline is pumping like you cannot believe.
The carer puts the purse back in the drawer and goes to see Ellen.
Outside, having viewed the footage...
..a shocked Debbie calls the police.
She left the house on foot, and Danny followed her on foot.
When the police arrive,
Debbie jumps into their car and they pick up the carer.
She denies stealing the money.
At that point, I was going a bit ballistic,
telling the police the money is in that pocket.
I was so angry with her.
And this adrenaline that goes through you is just churning.
They search her pocket and find the two £20 notes.
Danny shows the officers the serial numbers he had jotted down,
and they match those on the notes.
The woman is arrested.
In court, she was sentenced to eight weeks in prison,
suspended for a year.
She was also given a community order
to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work
and ordered to pay £165 in surcharges and costs.
Not surprisingly, she was fired by the agency.
I was so pleased to see her go.
I was so pleased that she couldn't then go on.
She was booked for more care sessions that day.
I was just so glad that she wasn't able to do this job any more.
Debbie and Danny made sure Ellen's last days
were as comfortable as possible.
Thankfully, Ellen never did find out what happened.
Unfortunately, a couple of months after we caught this carer,
Ellen desperately wanted to die.
She'd had enough,
and she went and met Frank.
There are millions of carers in the UK,
and very few of them are dishonest.
But that doesn't mean people
shouldn't take precautions when looking for help for themselves
or their loved ones.
What you'd do if you're hiring anybody,
then they should come with their own DBS checks,
which is the Disclosure and Barring Service checks
to make sure there aren't any issues in the background.
I don't think there's a case where you can never be too shy
or polite when it comes to checking out potential people
who are going to work in your home.
We can feel that we shouldn't intrude,
or that may be a little bit too much,
but I always think you should find out as much as possible.
Go online, put their details in, their name, where they're from,
that will return any information
that might have been in the newspaper.
And you'd be amazed at what you can find out about them.
It could be from any of the social media sites that you find out
the life that they actually do lead,
as opposed to the life that they're trying to tell you that they lead.
I would thoroughly recommend that you actually go through an agency
or even just check out a list of
approved carers through social services
or your local authority,
which again just gives you that level of reassurance.
Back to Newport,
where the cafe run by Phil and Michelle
has been burgled not just once,
but two nights in a row.
They've identified the man responsible by posting CCTV footage
on the internet, together with the local knowledge of the police...
..who are now hunting for the thief.
But he's gone to ground.
Phil and Michelle are worried in case the thief comes back again.
The cost of any more burglaries could close their business.
Phil thinks he should guard the cafe throughout the next night.
On Saturday, I decided to just come down and the neighbours said they'd
happily come over and we'd sort of sit-in in the dark and stay here
in case he turned up.
Maybe a bit an excuse for Phil to have a few drinks anyway.
You know, we do drink some rum and make a lot of noise.
Not surprisingly, the burglar doesn't make an appearance.
It was kind of a wasted evening, although I got the night out!
The following night, they take steps to deter the burglar again.
We'd left lights on.
We'd left music on.
We put a big plank of wood behind the door handle,
so he couldn't open the door outwards.
We also barricaded the door with chairs, with big, heavy tables.
He couldn't open the door physically,
he would literally have to smash it open.
Hopefully, it would take him a lot longer and he'd get caught,
it's just slowing him down.
The couple believe they've done all they can.
But just a few hours later, the phone rings.
It's their neighbour. For the third time in four days,
the man's tried to break in again.
Just bolted down there in the car as quick as safely possible.
Thankfully, the neighbour had seen the man by their back door
in the nick of time.
With the wood underneath the handle,
he'd still managed to pop it open.
So if she hadn't made a lot of noise that she knew he was there,
he would've been in again.
At the police station,
PC Alex Mills is trying everything to track down the burglar.
We were putting out social media of our own to say that
this person's wanted and that we're looking for them.
We're checking not only the addresses in the local area,
we're also tracking back to old addresses, old acquaintances
and family, and we've tried all of that.
And unfortunately, it didn't turn up anything for him,
which was really frustrating.
He was on the lips of every police officer in Gwent at the time.
I mean, and I've seen them, they're quite a scary bunch of blokes!
So I wouldn't be happy being him.
It's just a case of waiting for that one call to say,
"Somebody's found him," that last little piece of luck.
And their luck IS about to change.
A week later, in the early hours of the morning, a CCTV operator, Paul,
is working at the council's monitoring station.
He receives an alert about two men loitering in Newport city centre.
The call came in from the shopping centre security,
and it only took me seconds to pick them up.
Paul's an experienced operator with 16 years of service.
He knows the suspicious signs to look out for.
You can tell that they're not looking in shop windows for shoes
or handbags, they're definitely after something.
One of the men appears to look closely
at the shutters of a jewellers.
Later, he starts prising out some loose paving bricks.
That's not normal behaviour for this time in the morning.
I don't think he's collecting those bricks for his rockery,
so I'm trying to get as much information as I can on camera -
facial shots, clothing shots, anything that when it goes to court,
if anything happens,
then there is no discrepancy of who these individuals are.
Suddenly, the man throws the bricks at the glass front door
of a shoe shop, triggering the alarm.
Paul calls the police immediately while the men walk away,
probably to check if the noise has alerted anyone nearby.
A moment later, one of the men goes into the shop,
clearly up to no good.
My job, then, is to make sure that I can track these people
to be apprehended. You cue up certain cameras,
make sure they're pointed the right way.
The burglar leaves the shoe shop and runs down the road
with the other man.
He's stolen money from the till.
We pick them up on another camera,
which gets them going into the underground car park
of the shopping centre.
Paul directs the police to the car park.
And a few minutes later, they arrest the two men.
When one of them tells officers his name,
they find it's the same suspect Alex has been chasing for days -
the cafe burglar.
Very good piece of work by the CCTV operator.
It's, like, yeah, there, finally, we've got that.
Now the work starts - we've then got to deal with him,
do the interviews for the cases that we've got against him.
Michelle and Phil are told the news
that the burglar is in police custody.
Just an enormous sense of relief
and also a bit of a victory that we'd all sort of pulled together.
So a little bit triumphant when we heard he'd finally been caught.
In court, the cafe burglar pleaded guilty to seven burglaries
and two counts of theft. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison.
The other man with him in the street pleaded guilty to theft
and trespassing and was sentenced to 60 days in prison.
Michelle and Phil are determined to take something positive away
from their traumatic experience.
What I have learned from all of this is the fact that we have got
We've got some really good friends on this street.
And they have big plans for the future of the cafe.
We are kind of outgrowing the business now.
We need a bigger place, and we've got the confidence to do it.
We haven't got the money, but we've got the confidence!
So hopefully, that'll be enough.
That's all for today.
Thousands of criminals are captured on camera every year.
Make sure you join us next time to see more villains
who've been Caught Red Handed.
When a woman suspects her elderly aunt is being fleeced by a thief in her own home, she and her husband set up a nerve-racking stakeout. And a couple suffer at the hands of the same burglar twice in two nights - and it doesn't end there.