Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. Councillor Ken loves his garden bench - but unfortunately for him, a local thief seems to love it too.
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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.
Got to have him 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's up to no good had better think twice.
They might just get caught red-handed.
Today, barman David thought he was in for a quiet night...
..but then suddenly, three armed men come into his club.
I was very frightened, scared witless, to be fair.
The robbers demand to be taken to the safe and they aren't taking no for an answer.
They forced me to walk in first,
followed by this great big scaffold pole behind my head.
I thought, my life's going to come shattering between my eyes in a minute.
Also today, local councillor Ken loves his garden bench.
But unfortunately for him, a local thief seems to love it too.
One of the things that surprised me was the speed of the crime.
The thief just sauntered up the path, there was no furtive looks,
in fact if he'd had a few furtive looks,
he might have seen there was CCTV cameras.
Ken has a plan to get his bench back with the help of the police,
who get a bit more than they bargained for.
And Brendan runs a restaurant called The Unruly Pig, but one weekend,
it's some unruly customers that are doing the running.
First, a couple eat it and beat it without paying.
Literally legging it over the wall of the decking area
with bottle in hand.
And then, why are six people making a mad dash into the woods?
Heavens above, look at what on earth has happened here.
Soon, the police arrive.
Is someone about to get their just deserts?
The Stick and Wicket sports club in the sleepy town of Aldridge
is one of the last places you'd expect to be hit by armed robbers.
It's been run by Andy and his wife, Kath, for almost 30 years and
specialises in cricket and hockey.
Andy was introduced to the club as a member by his mother in the 1980s.
The first time I came up here, my mother played hockey here.
She used to volunteer behind the bar.
Then I volunteered behind the bar.
And from there on in, I took over the stewardship of the club,
my wife is the stewardess, so she does the catering.
Everybody's happy-go-lucky, we all get on well,
it's just a nice place to be.
Andy and Kath live near to the club,
along with 22-year-old daughter Chloe,
who also works behind the bar.
My fondest memories do include all my birthday parties that I've had here.
I've had loads, ever since I was tiny,
at school, right up until my 18th and 21st.
The clubhouse is like my second living room,
so all the members of the club, they become your extended family.
One member of that extended family is long-serving barman David.
Andy, Kath and Chloe are just the best thing since sliced bread.
I wouldn't change them for the world.
I love them to pieces and I'd do absolutely anything for them.
I've known David my whole life.
He used to play cricket and then he ended up working on the bar.
He's worked on the bar for about 15 years now.
Been good fun. If I'm not at home, I'm here.
They are a happy group of people, running a happy club.
Until one night, their peace of mind is shattered.
It's a Thursday night in early January.
Andy, Kath and Chloe had just got home after visiting family in Scotland.
I wasn't feeling particularly well all over Christmas and New Year,
so I had something to eat and went to bed, basically.
They ask David to run the bar that evening.
The club's CCTV cameras record what happens next.
It's about 10:30pm and David's sitting down
near the only two customers who are in.
But as the cameras show, their evening is about to be interrupted
in a shocking and violent manner.
Outside, a sinister group of hooded figures cross the cricket field.
Suddenly, they burst through the door of the club.
I saw three blokes walk in, with balaclavas on,
scaffold poles in their hand.
I thought, this ain't no joke.
I was very afraid.
Scared witless, to be fair.
Two of the men approach David and the customers.
And force them to lie down on the floor.
One of the customers is dragged and kicked in the head.
I was thinking, what on earth am I going to do?
With them scaffold poles, they can do some damage.
The robbers take everyone's mobile phones,
then they identify David as the barman
and demand he opens the club safe.
I wasn't exactly going to say, "No, I'm not going to open the safe for you."
They frogmarch him to the office.
I was petrified.
He forced me to walk in first...
..followed by this great big scaffold pole behind my head.
I thought, my life's going to come shattering between my eyes in a minute.
The robbers empty the contents of the safe, totalling over £1,500.
He said, was there any more money about?
I said no.
David's brought back to where the customers are being held.
The robbers leave the club...
..jump into a getaway car...
..and speed off.
It was scary, very scary.
David rushes to Andy and Kath's house to raise the alarm.
He was very shook up when he came to the door.
We knew what had happened, just by looking at his face.
He was obviously scared stiff.
There were two other lads in there, both friends of ours.
The first concern is, are they OK?
The customers are shocked but safe.
Andy tells David that he handled the situation well.
He said, "You did the right thing in giving it to them.
"You should just do as they say, and not as you want."
I would always encourage the staff not to attempt to stop those people.
Money can be replaced. People can't.
They phone the police and then call Chloe so she's prepared
for the scene when she arrives at the club.
We pulled up, me and my boyfriend,
and there was just police cars everywhere.
The police walking around with sniffer dogs.
We came inside and David was there.
As soon as I walked in, I could tell by the look on his face
that he was in shock. Obviously, you would be, you know.
The police search the area
and manage to recover David's and the customers' mobile phones
that had been flung from the getaway car.
Detectives take the CCTV recording of the robbery to be analysed.
They are on the trail of a gang that has committed a series of robberies in the area.
It's just a case of being able to piece things together and
hopefully catch them in the end.
It's been a horrible ordeal for all of them, particularly David,
but the next day a function has been booked at the club
and they need to prepare for it.
If something's on here, and we can do it, then we always do.
Even in light of what had happened.
But I think it's very difficult to just switch off and put it behind you.
You don't forget about it. You just...
..block it out of your mind and just get on with it.
He was really brave. He didn't particularly want to lock up that night,
which is understandable.
I'm glad I faced the demons.
Several weeks go by at the sports club
and then they get some very welcome news from the police.
Three robbers have been arrested,
two brothers in their 20s and a 15-year-old juvenile.
We were really happy they'd been caught because obviously
you're thinking, if they've done it once, they might come back again.
So obviously, we were over the moon with that.
The police charge the suspects with conspiracy to commit robbery,
which can carry a substantial sentence.
I felt relieved they had been caught and charged because then they
wouldn't do it to somebody else.
Together with other evidence,
the club's CCTV footage helps the detectives build a compelling case
against the suspects for conspiracy to commit a series of robberies.
In the end, all three plead guilty.
In court, the 15-year-old was sent to a detention centre for five years.
The brothers were given a combined total of just under 20 years in prison
for conspiring to commit their robberies.
Security at the sports club has now been tightened.
We've had extra security lighting put all around the building.
We have panic buttons which are directed straight to the police station.
We've had an upgrade on the CCTV.
We also tend to lock the door when there's only a few customers in,
just to make it more secure.
And David is now well and truly over what happened.
It's a lovely club. Lovely people.
So, it's onwards and upwards.
This woman is eyeing up a large pink piggy bank.
It's actually a collection box for a children's charity.
But the woman's not interested in feeding the pig with a big donation.
Actually, she's aiming to take this little piggy all the way home.
Because she's a thief.
Having made sure no-one's watching, she comes back,
ready to go the whole hog and get her hands on the cash.
She uses her jacket as a blanket to hide the enormity of the crime.
Then, off she trots with the pig.
But there's a twist to the tale.
The thief's face has been recorded on camera.
And when police put the footage out on the internet,
somebody squeals on her.
She ends up with an 18-month community order,
which will give her plenty of time to reflect
on how she's made a real pig's ear of things.
Burglars aren't just interested in what's inside our houses.
Property in our garden shed,
our backyards, and even right outside our front door
is also vulnerable.
A mysterious visitor late at night leads to an unpleasant surprise for
a homeowner the following morning.
But this thief has picked up a whole load of trouble.
Presumably we're looking for someone with a hernia,
after carrying that about.
You know, he must have struggled with that, really.
This local town councillor decides to turn detective.
The community of Newtown Aycliffe in County Durham has grown rapidly since World War II.
It's now home to nearly 30,000 people
and you're unlikely to find a prouder resident than Ken.
Newtown Aycliffe is an absolutely brilliant place.
As a young boy of 14, I watched my town grow.
They were building estates, virtually every week there was something new going in.
There are lots of things that have gone on here that are absolutely fantastic.
Ken was a process worker in a local factory, moulding plastics,
until a bad back to its toll.
As I retired through ill health, I had to find something to do
because if you don't, your brain goes
and that's the most important organ in your body.
First, Ken started a local neighbourhood watch,
then he set up a residents' association, and this year,
he was officially elected as a town councillor.
My back was fixed, I was raring to go, I've rejuvenated myself,
so what do you do with your time?
You put it into the community, give something back.
And something that's proved useful in helping Ken keep in touch with his community
has been this Jack and Jill garden bench.
Complete with ornamental fox Ferdinand,
it has pride of place on his driveway.
I view my bench as being my outside office.
'It's very important that people are able to come and see me,
'and nine times out of ten,
'I can solve a lot of their problems just by talking to them'
and they're quite happy to sit down and tell me their life stories.
But not everybody who walks up Ken's drive is as public-spirited as he is.
As he recently found out to his cost.
It's a Sunday morning in summer and Ken is off to do a good deed,
picking up litter with some friends.
It's quite the social occasion.
I have a few friends and we meet every Sunday morning,
we litter-pick in a local park.
It's our way of giving something back.
But after giving up a morning for the good of his fellow man,
Ken returns to find someone's taken something away from him.
My wife says, "What have you done with the bench?"
At which point, you look, don't you?
And how can you explain a bench that just disappears?
And who would want one?
Like any good neighbourhood watch man,
Ken has security cameras and he hopes these will show why
he's suddenly bereft of his bench.
I never look at it but on this particular occasion,
it was being very, very useful.
According to Ken Cam, at 4:10 that morning,
a man cycles past his drive.
Something in Ken's porch seems to catch his eye.
After leaving his bike somewhere,
he returns and walks up Ken's drive like a man with a mission.
Moments later, it's bye-bye, bench.
Presumably, we're looking for someone with a hernia
after carrying that about.
You know, he must have struggled with that, really.
The bench is gone in less than 20 seconds.
One of the things that surprised me was the speed of the crime.
The thief just sauntered up the path, there was no furtive looks.
In fact, if he'd had a few furtive looks,
he might certainly have seen there was CCTV cameras.
Ken isn't one for letting things lie and decides to contact the police.
I must admit, I felt a little bit embarrassed talking to the control room
to say I wanted to report a bench that had gone walkies.
When the call comes in,
police community support officer Steve Gill is on duty.
It was a strange request to get a phone call to tell us
that a bench had been stolen
but it was great going to Ken's house, knowing that he's got CCTV
because there was a spate of incidents
around the area, so when CCTV is available
and it shows someone doing something
like that, then it opens up the doors for the other garden thefts.
Steve takes a copy of the footage to try and identify the thief.
Meanwhile, Ken wants to do his bit to find the felon who took his Jack and Jill up the hill.
He puts the video on Facebook.
If you can send an image out to thousands of people, that person,
it's a good bet, will see his self committing the crime,
feel embarrassed when his mum's watching it,
his sister's watching it, his girlfriend's watching it, and to me,
embarrassment is a wonderful weapon.
The police's local knowledge is a good weapon too.
And one of Steve's colleagues at the station
recognises the thief on the footage. They go to arrest him.
Ideally, we wanted to get him as soon as possible to try and retrieve some
of the items that had been taken from some of the garden thefts,
so we attended the man's house.
But the man's not there,
so they start visiting other addresses he's known to frequent.
Back on his computer,
Ken's had a huge response to the footage he shared online.
People I know,
people I hardly know, people I don't know,
all came on to tell me that they knew who this person was.
Ken's contacts confirm the prime suspect's name
and it's not long before the police track him down.
We were able to find where the man was staying and that resulted in him being arrested.
The lucky thing is that when the police arrested this guy,
he coughed up to about 12 other incidents,
so we managed to clear up a crime spree from one CCTV camera.
In custody, the thief reveals where he stashed Ken's bench and
other garden items he's stolen.
But they're very well hidden.
Officers have the unenviable task of hunting for a wooden bench in the woods.
He just said it was the woods on the road,
so it didn't really narrow it down too well.
We were in there for about an hour, an hour and a half,
searching for the items that had been put in there.
But finally, they get to see the wood for the trees.
It's such a rewarding feeling when...
Especially when you've stayed on after your duty and you locate this item
and you do manage to take it back round to the owner's house.
Unfortunately, Ken wasn't in,
so we put the bench back in its place
with his little fox ornament on the top.
Ferdinand's back where he belongs.
I was very bemused when I returned from shopping to find the bench,
and a note to say, "With regards, Steve and Mike, here's your bench back."
It was a pleasant surprise.
In court, the magistrate sitting on his bench ordered the man to pay
compensation to his victims, including £50 to Ken.
Ken's taken steps to avoid being unseated again.
I've bolted the bench to the wall,
so next time somebody decides to lift it,
they'll have an even bigger hernia trying to carry it away.
Councillor Ken, Ferdinand and his guests are sitting pretty once more.
For a small crime,
I was ever so pleased with the service
that I got from the neighbourhood beat team
and I was really pleased with the reaction of my friends and neighbours.
Give them a chance, and thieves will steal just about anything they can lay their hands on.
Garden furniture, bicycles, even garden gnomes are up for grabs.
Now, we can't lock every single little thing away,
so what can we do to protect our belongings?
Things like gravel paths, extra lighting,
prickly hedges could be a deterrent for a wannabe thief
because they make things really noisy on the approach to your house
and that obviously brings unwanted attention
and it can be really uncomfortable to try and climb over to get into your property as well.
Motion-activated lights on your property or on your outbuildings are
really useful, not least because
they will give the offender a fright when they first activate.
They give passers-by, neighbours,
yourself the opportunity to see the offender.
If you've got a workshop or a shed that does have electricity to it,
then don't forget to use the same thing you use inside your house,
which is timer lights,
so you put that on for a little while
and that makes it feel like it's being utilised.
Thieves will steal anything.
You might think it's too heavy for them to lift -
you'll be wrong, they'll take it. If possible, secure it
to something immovable or even think about cementing it down.
When a former lawyer opened a restaurant,
he thought he could forget about the law and focus on fine dining.
But in a single weekend,
he has to cope with illegal immigrants in his car park...
..and customers who bolt down his food
and bolt off with his wine without paying.
But this ex-legal eagle is on their case.
A few miles from the small town of Woodbridge
on the road to the Suffolk coast
lies a pub and restaurant called The Unruly Pig.
It's owned by Brendan, who was a lawyer for 36 years before
opting for a change of career.
In many ways, I'm one of those cliches,
who dream about doing something else,
who wasn't really satisfied in their career.
I'm getting on in life and my wife says,
"Are you going to do something about it? Well, if you're not, shut up about it."
So that was the boot up the backside that I needed.
Brendan took the plunge after finding this pub for sale.
He renamed it The Unruly Pig and braced himself
for months of building work and preparation before he could open.
It was mayhem. We fundamentally changed the look of the place but there was
a great buzz and excitement because we wanted to get going.
But soon after opening,
the pub suffered a major fire in the middle of the night.
50 firefighters tackled the blaze
but almost half the building was destroyed.
It took months before Brendan could reopen the doors for business.
-Two pheasants going for service, please.
-When he did,
he enlisted Amy as restaurant manager and soon,
The Unruly Pig was back on its feet.
I love it here. I think it's really cosy and just a nice environment.
'And no day is ever the same.
'In hospitality, you can't ever get complacent.'
There's always just a little unexpected thing...
pretty much every day.
And some bigger unexpected things too,
as Brendan and Amy experienced one weekend.
It's a Friday evening in early autumn.
One of the pub's CCTV cameras shows a couple arriving.
They take time to look at the menu, just like normal customers.
But there is something rather different about this pair.
It was very busy on that night and the couple came in...
They catch Amy's eye and she goes over to greet them.
They were both very friendly.
The woman, she actually said, "Oh, I went to school with you."
For the life of me, I couldn't remember. I'm awful with names.
I sort of went, "Yeah, yeah. Oh, yes. I remember."
The couple haven't booked but are happy to sit outside
and pick a spot near the road.
Over the next two hours, they order and consume a three-course meal
with no expense spared,
including wine and liqueurs, totting up a bill of £147.85.
It started to get quite chilly so they were the only ones out there.
But they aren't out there for much longer.
Just before closing time,
a waiter goes out to find that the couple have disappeared.
A rather panic-stricken waiter came to me saying...
"Have they paid?"
"I think they've done a runner."
Amy and Brendan go and fire up their CCTV to see if the security camera
recording can shed any light.
A lawyer likes to have reliable evidence.
You have to be really careful about jumping to conclusions unfairly.
But the video leaves them in no doubt.
There's this shot of them literally legging it,
legs akimbo over the wall of the decking area with bottle in hand.
I was quite shocked because it's just not something that happens.
It wasn't a nice feeling to see that.
Dine and dash, as it's sometimes called,
leaves restaurant owners heavily out of pocket, and it's on the increase.
It's breaking the law, and as an ex-lawyer,
Brendan doesn't think the couple should get away with it.
If anybody had had £150 taken from their wallet,
they would want to try and identify the thieves and get it back.
Brendan reported the incident to the police
and gets back to the weekend's work.
But there are still some unexpected events in store for him.
The following evening, his CCTV picks up more people doing a runner.
At 5:47pm on Saturday, a Range Rover careers into the car park,
narrowly missing a vehicle before screeching to a halt.
Six people leap out and sprint into the woods.
And next minute, the police arrive.
What is going on?
The police walk in the door and they said, "Have you got CCTV?"
"Of course." We went up and looked at it together at and...
"Heavens above, look at what on earth has happened here."
It turns out the people are immigrants,
brought into the country illegally by traffickers at the coast.
They scarpered when they knew the police were onto them,
never to be seen again.
There isn't much Brendan can do about the illegal immigrants.
But he's determined not to let the couple get away with their free dinner.
With Brendan's legal background,
they really picked the wrong place to do it.
The woman thinking she recognised Amy from school
is a clue that she lives locally.
Brendan gathers still images of the couple.
There was great CCTV footage, so I thought,
social media would be a good tool.
He posts photos of the dine-and-dashers online
and also goes to the local press with the story.
The coverage soon pays off.
The response was good.
We had about six or seven people phoning us up
and identifying who they were.
Simultaneously, the police also were able to identify them.
While the police go looking for the couple, something unexpected happens.
Brendan gets a visit from the woman's parents.
They had the grace to apologise on behalf of their daughter,
and they felt the need to offer to pay.
There's a question there, is it the right thing to do?
Should they bail them out?
But for them, it was a matter of honour.
The parents insist Brendan takes what's owed.
He agrees but says he'd rather receive the money from their daughter herself,
telling them he'll pay them back if he does.
And a few days later, that starts to look highly likely.
The police track her down, along with her boyfriend.
They were eventually able to find them at an address,
needless to say not their normal home.
In court, both the man and the woman pleaded guilty to dishonestly
making off without paying and were ordered to compensate Brendan.
The woman was also fined for breaching a conditional discharge,
and the man put under curfew with an electronic tag for other offences.
The restaurant is now thriving,
which makes it easier to look back on the dine-and-dash drama with a smile
and for Brendan to tease Amy about putting the couple outside.
It's all her fault.
He's been terrorising me about it ever since(!)
And his roller-coaster first year hasn't put Brendan off his new venture.
Do I get out of bed with slumped shoulders any more?
It's a fun thing to do and I'm pleased I've done it.
That's all we have time for today.
An increasing number of criminals are being captured on camera every year.
Join us next time to see more villains who've been caught red-handed.
Barman David thinks he is in for a quiet night, but then suddenly three armed men come into his club and demand to be taken to the safe. And councillor Ken loves his garden bench - but unfortunately for him, a local thief seems to love it too.