Episode 15 Caught Red Handed


Episode 15

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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Transcript


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Thieves will steal our cash, our cars, our valuables,

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just about anything they can get their hands on.

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But now the police are using cutting-edge technology to catch the bad guys.

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CCTV is gold dust.

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Great evidence for the police.

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Got to have him stopped.

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Local councils, shops and businesses are fighting crime

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with their own tricks and traps.

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There's a eureka moment when you get that evidence.

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And the public are using secret cameras to make sure

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crooks get their comeuppance.

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It makes me feel so angry.

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He's paid the price. He's been dealt with.

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Yes! We've got her!

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So, anyone who's up to no good had better think twice.

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They might just get caught red-handed.

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Today, barman David thought he was in for a quiet night...

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..but then suddenly, three armed men come into his club.

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I was very frightened, scared witless, to be fair.

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The robbers demand to be taken to the safe and they aren't taking no for an answer.

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They forced me to walk in first,

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followed by this great big scaffold pole behind my head.

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I thought, my life's going to come shattering between my eyes in a minute.

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Also today, local councillor Ken loves his garden bench.

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But unfortunately for him, a local thief seems to love it too.

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One of the things that surprised me was the speed of the crime.

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The thief just sauntered up the path, there was no furtive looks,

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in fact if he'd had a few furtive looks,

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he might have seen there was CCTV cameras.

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Ken has a plan to get his bench back with the help of the police,

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who get a bit more than they bargained for.

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And Brendan runs a restaurant called The Unruly Pig, but one weekend,

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it's some unruly customers that are doing the running.

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First, a couple eat it and beat it without paying.

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Literally legging it over the wall of the decking area

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with bottle in hand.

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And then, why are six people making a mad dash into the woods?

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Heavens above, look at what on earth has happened here.

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Soon, the police arrive.

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Is someone about to get their just deserts?

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The Stick and Wicket sports club in the sleepy town of Aldridge

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is one of the last places you'd expect to be hit by armed robbers.

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It's been run by Andy and his wife, Kath, for almost 30 years and

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specialises in cricket and hockey.

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Andy was introduced to the club as a member by his mother in the 1980s.

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The first time I came up here, my mother played hockey here.

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She used to volunteer behind the bar.

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Then I volunteered behind the bar.

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And from there on in, I took over the stewardship of the club,

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my wife is the stewardess, so she does the catering.

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Everybody's happy-go-lucky, we all get on well,

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it's just a nice place to be.

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Andy and Kath live near to the club,

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along with 22-year-old daughter Chloe,

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who also works behind the bar.

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My fondest memories do include all my birthday parties that I've had here.

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I've had loads, ever since I was tiny,

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at school, right up until my 18th and 21st.

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The clubhouse is like my second living room,

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so all the members of the club, they become your extended family.

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One member of that extended family is long-serving barman David.

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Andy, Kath and Chloe are just the best thing since sliced bread.

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I wouldn't change them for the world.

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I love them to pieces and I'd do absolutely anything for them.

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I've known David my whole life.

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He used to play cricket and then he ended up working on the bar.

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He's worked on the bar for about 15 years now.

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Been good fun. If I'm not at home, I'm here.

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They are a happy group of people, running a happy club.

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Until one night, their peace of mind is shattered.

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It's a Thursday night in early January.

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Andy, Kath and Chloe had just got home after visiting family in Scotland.

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I wasn't feeling particularly well all over Christmas and New Year,

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so I had something to eat and went to bed, basically.

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They ask David to run the bar that evening.

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The club's CCTV cameras record what happens next.

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It's about 10:30pm and David's sitting down

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near the only two customers who are in.

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But as the cameras show, their evening is about to be interrupted

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in a shocking and violent manner.

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Outside, a sinister group of hooded figures cross the cricket field.

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Suddenly, they burst through the door of the club.

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I saw three blokes walk in, with balaclavas on,

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scaffold poles in their hand.

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I thought, this ain't no joke.

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I was very afraid.

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Scared witless, to be fair.

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Two of the men approach David and the customers.

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And force them to lie down on the floor.

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One of the customers is dragged and kicked in the head.

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I was thinking, what on earth am I going to do?

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With them scaffold poles, they can do some damage.

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The robbers take everyone's mobile phones,

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then they identify David as the barman

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and demand he opens the club safe.

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I wasn't exactly going to say, "No, I'm not going to open the safe for you."

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They frogmarch him to the office.

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I was petrified.

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He forced me to walk in first...

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..followed by this great big scaffold pole behind my head.

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I thought, my life's going to come shattering between my eyes in a minute.

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The robbers empty the contents of the safe, totalling over £1,500.

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He said, was there any more money about?

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I said no.

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David's brought back to where the customers are being held.

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The robbers leave the club...

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..jump into a getaway car...

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..and speed off.

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It was scary, very scary.

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David rushes to Andy and Kath's house to raise the alarm.

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He was very shook up when he came to the door.

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We knew what had happened, just by looking at his face.

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He was obviously scared stiff.

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There were two other lads in there, both friends of ours.

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The first concern is, are they OK?

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The customers are shocked but safe.

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Andy tells David that he handled the situation well.

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He said, "You did the right thing in giving it to them.

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"You should just do as they say, and not as you want."

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I would always encourage the staff not to attempt to stop those people.

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Money can be replaced. People can't.

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They phone the police and then call Chloe so she's prepared

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for the scene when she arrives at the club.

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We pulled up, me and my boyfriend,

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and there was just police cars everywhere.

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The police walking around with sniffer dogs.

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We came inside and David was there.

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As soon as I walked in, I could tell by the look on his face

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that he was in shock. Obviously, you would be, you know.

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The police search the area

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and manage to recover David's and the customers' mobile phones

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that had been flung from the getaway car.

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Detectives take the CCTV recording of the robbery to be analysed.

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They are on the trail of a gang that has committed a series of robberies in the area.

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It's just a case of being able to piece things together and

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hopefully catch them in the end.

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It's been a horrible ordeal for all of them, particularly David,

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but the next day a function has been booked at the club

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and they need to prepare for it.

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If something's on here, and we can do it, then we always do.

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Even in light of what had happened.

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But I think it's very difficult to just switch off and put it behind you.

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You don't forget about it. You just...

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..block it out of your mind and just get on with it.

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He was really brave. He didn't particularly want to lock up that night,

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which is understandable.

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I'm glad I faced the demons.

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Several weeks go by at the sports club

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and then they get some very welcome news from the police.

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Three robbers have been arrested,

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two brothers in their 20s and a 15-year-old juvenile.

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We were really happy they'd been caught because obviously

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you're thinking, if they've done it once, they might come back again.

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So obviously, we were over the moon with that.

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The police charge the suspects with conspiracy to commit robbery,

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which can carry a substantial sentence.

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I felt relieved they had been caught and charged because then they

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wouldn't do it to somebody else.

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Together with other evidence,

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the club's CCTV footage helps the detectives build a compelling case

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against the suspects for conspiracy to commit a series of robberies.

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In the end, all three plead guilty.

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In court, the 15-year-old was sent to a detention centre for five years.

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The brothers were given a combined total of just under 20 years in prison

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for conspiring to commit their robberies.

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Security at the sports club has now been tightened.

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We've had extra security lighting put all around the building.

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We have panic buttons which are directed straight to the police station.

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We've had an upgrade on the CCTV.

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We also tend to lock the door when there's only a few customers in,

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just to make it more secure.

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And David is now well and truly over what happened.

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It's a lovely club. Lovely people.

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So, it's onwards and upwards.

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This woman is eyeing up a large pink piggy bank.

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It's actually a collection box for a children's charity.

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But the woman's not interested in feeding the pig with a big donation.

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Actually, she's aiming to take this little piggy all the way home.

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Because she's a thief.

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Having made sure no-one's watching, she comes back,

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ready to go the whole hog and get her hands on the cash.

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She uses her jacket as a blanket to hide the enormity of the crime.

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Then, off she trots with the pig.

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But there's a twist to the tale.

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The thief's face has been recorded on camera.

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And when police put the footage out on the internet,

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somebody squeals on her.

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She ends up with an 18-month community order,

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which will give her plenty of time to reflect

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on how she's made a real pig's ear of things.

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Burglars aren't just interested in what's inside our houses.

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Property in our garden shed,

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our backyards, and even right outside our front door

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is also vulnerable.

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A mysterious visitor late at night leads to an unpleasant surprise for

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a homeowner the following morning.

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But this thief has picked up a whole load of trouble.

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Presumably we're looking for someone with a hernia,

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after carrying that about.

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You know, he must have struggled with that, really.

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This local town councillor decides to turn detective.

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The community of Newtown Aycliffe in County Durham has grown rapidly since World War II.

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It's now home to nearly 30,000 people

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and you're unlikely to find a prouder resident than Ken.

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Newtown Aycliffe is an absolutely brilliant place.

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As a young boy of 14, I watched my town grow.

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They were building estates, virtually every week there was something new going in.

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There are lots of things that have gone on here that are absolutely fantastic.

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Ken was a process worker in a local factory, moulding plastics,

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until a bad back to its toll.

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As I retired through ill health, I had to find something to do

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because if you don't, your brain goes

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and that's the most important organ in your body.

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First, Ken started a local neighbourhood watch,

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then he set up a residents' association, and this year,

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he was officially elected as a town councillor.

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My back was fixed, I was raring to go, I've rejuvenated myself,

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so what do you do with your time?

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You put it into the community, give something back.

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And something that's proved useful in helping Ken keep in touch with his community

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has been this Jack and Jill garden bench.

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Complete with ornamental fox Ferdinand,

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it has pride of place on his driveway.

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I view my bench as being my outside office.

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'It's very important that people are able to come and see me,

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'and nine times out of ten,

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'I can solve a lot of their problems just by talking to them'

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and they're quite happy to sit down and tell me their life stories.

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But not everybody who walks up Ken's drive is as public-spirited as he is.

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As he recently found out to his cost.

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It's a Sunday morning in summer and Ken is off to do a good deed,

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picking up litter with some friends.

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It's quite the social occasion.

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I have a few friends and we meet every Sunday morning,

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we litter-pick in a local park.

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It's our way of giving something back.

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But after giving up a morning for the good of his fellow man,

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Ken returns to find someone's taken something away from him.

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My wife says, "What have you done with the bench?"

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At which point, you look, don't you?

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And how can you explain a bench that just disappears?

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And who would want one?

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Like any good neighbourhood watch man,

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Ken has security cameras and he hopes these will show why

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he's suddenly bereft of his bench.

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I never look at it but on this particular occasion,

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it was being very, very useful.

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According to Ken Cam, at 4:10 that morning,

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a man cycles past his drive.

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Something in Ken's porch seems to catch his eye.

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After leaving his bike somewhere,

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he returns and walks up Ken's drive like a man with a mission.

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Moments later, it's bye-bye, bench.

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Presumably, we're looking for someone with a hernia

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after carrying that about.

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You know, he must have struggled with that, really.

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The bench is gone in less than 20 seconds.

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One of the things that surprised me was the speed of the crime.

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The thief just sauntered up the path, there was no furtive looks.

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In fact, if he'd had a few furtive looks,

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he might certainly have seen there was CCTV cameras.

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Ken isn't one for letting things lie and decides to contact the police.

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I must admit, I felt a little bit embarrassed talking to the control room

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to say I wanted to report a bench that had gone walkies.

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When the call comes in,

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police community support officer Steve Gill is on duty.

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It was a strange request to get a phone call to tell us

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that a bench had been stolen

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but it was great going to Ken's house, knowing that he's got CCTV

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because there was a spate of incidents

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around the area, so when CCTV is available

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and it shows someone doing something

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like that, then it opens up the doors for the other garden thefts.

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Steve takes a copy of the footage to try and identify the thief.

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Meanwhile, Ken wants to do his bit to find the felon who took his Jack and Jill up the hill.

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He puts the video on Facebook.

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If you can send an image out to thousands of people, that person,

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it's a good bet, will see his self committing the crime,

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feel embarrassed when his mum's watching it,

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his sister's watching it, his girlfriend's watching it, and to me,

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embarrassment is a wonderful weapon.

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The police's local knowledge is a good weapon too.

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And one of Steve's colleagues at the station

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recognises the thief on the footage. They go to arrest him.

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Ideally, we wanted to get him as soon as possible to try and retrieve some

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of the items that had been taken from some of the garden thefts,

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so we attended the man's house.

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But the man's not there,

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so they start visiting other addresses he's known to frequent.

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Back on his computer,

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Ken's had a huge response to the footage he shared online.

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People I know,

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people I hardly know, people I don't know,

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all came on to tell me that they knew who this person was.

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Ken's contacts confirm the prime suspect's name

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and it's not long before the police track him down.

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We were able to find where the man was staying and that resulted in him being arrested.

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The lucky thing is that when the police arrested this guy,

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he coughed up to about 12 other incidents,

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so we managed to clear up a crime spree from one CCTV camera.

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In custody, the thief reveals where he stashed Ken's bench and

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other garden items he's stolen.

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But they're very well hidden.

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Officers have the unenviable task of hunting for a wooden bench in the woods.

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He just said it was the woods on the road,

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so it didn't really narrow it down too well.

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We were in there for about an hour, an hour and a half,

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searching for the items that had been put in there.

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But finally, they get to see the wood for the trees.

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It's such a rewarding feeling when...

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Especially when you've stayed on after your duty and you locate this item

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and you do manage to take it back round to the owner's house.

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Unfortunately, Ken wasn't in,

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so we put the bench back in its place

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with his little fox ornament on the top.

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Ferdinand's back where he belongs.

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I was very bemused when I returned from shopping to find the bench,

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and a note to say, "With regards, Steve and Mike, here's your bench back."

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It was a pleasant surprise.

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In court, the magistrate sitting on his bench ordered the man to pay

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compensation to his victims, including £50 to Ken.

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Ken's taken steps to avoid being unseated again.

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I've bolted the bench to the wall,

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so next time somebody decides to lift it,

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they'll have an even bigger hernia trying to carry it away.

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Councillor Ken, Ferdinand and his guests are sitting pretty once more.

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For a small crime,

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I was ever so pleased with the service

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that I got from the neighbourhood beat team

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and I was really pleased with the reaction of my friends and neighbours.

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Give them a chance, and thieves will steal just about anything they can lay their hands on.

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Garden furniture, bicycles, even garden gnomes are up for grabs.

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Now, we can't lock every single little thing away,

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so what can we do to protect our belongings?

0:19:250:19:28

Things like gravel paths, extra lighting,

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prickly hedges could be a deterrent for a wannabe thief

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because they make things really noisy on the approach to your house

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and that obviously brings unwanted attention

0:19:380:19:40

and it can be really uncomfortable to try and climb over to get into your property as well.

0:19:400:19:44

Motion-activated lights on your property or on your outbuildings are

0:19:440:19:48

really useful, not least because

0:19:480:19:50

they will give the offender a fright when they first activate.

0:19:500:19:54

They give passers-by, neighbours,

0:19:540:19:56

yourself the opportunity to see the offender.

0:19:560:19:59

If you've got a workshop or a shed that does have electricity to it,

0:19:590:20:02

then don't forget to use the same thing you use inside your house,

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which is timer lights,

0:20:050:20:07

so you put that on for a little while

0:20:070:20:08

and that makes it feel like it's being utilised.

0:20:080:20:11

Thieves will steal anything.

0:20:110:20:13

You might think it's too heavy for them to lift -

0:20:130:20:15

you'll be wrong, they'll take it. If possible, secure it

0:20:150:20:17

to something immovable or even think about cementing it down.

0:20:170:20:20

When a former lawyer opened a restaurant,

0:20:260:20:29

he thought he could forget about the law and focus on fine dining.

0:20:290:20:32

But in a single weekend,

0:20:330:20:35

he has to cope with illegal immigrants in his car park...

0:20:350:20:38

..and customers who bolt down his food

0:20:400:20:42

and bolt off with his wine without paying.

0:20:420:20:45

But this ex-legal eagle is on their case.

0:20:450:20:48

A few miles from the small town of Woodbridge

0:20:570:20:59

on the road to the Suffolk coast

0:20:590:21:01

lies a pub and restaurant called The Unruly Pig.

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It's owned by Brendan, who was a lawyer for 36 years before

0:21:060:21:10

opting for a change of career.

0:21:100:21:11

In many ways, I'm one of those cliches,

0:21:120:21:15

who dream about doing something else,

0:21:150:21:16

who wasn't really satisfied in their career.

0:21:160:21:19

I'm getting on in life and my wife says,

0:21:200:21:22

"Are you going to do something about it? Well, if you're not, shut up about it."

0:21:220:21:26

So that was the boot up the backside that I needed.

0:21:260:21:29

Brendan took the plunge after finding this pub for sale.

0:21:290:21:32

He renamed it The Unruly Pig and braced himself

0:21:320:21:35

for months of building work and preparation before he could open.

0:21:350:21:39

It was mayhem. We fundamentally changed the look of the place but there was

0:21:400:21:45

a great buzz and excitement because we wanted to get going.

0:21:450:21:48

But soon after opening,

0:21:500:21:52

the pub suffered a major fire in the middle of the night.

0:21:520:21:55

50 firefighters tackled the blaze

0:21:570:21:59

but almost half the building was destroyed.

0:21:590:22:01

It took months before Brendan could reopen the doors for business.

0:22:030:22:07

-Two pheasants going for service, please.

-When he did,

0:22:080:22:11

he enlisted Amy as restaurant manager and soon,

0:22:110:22:14

The Unruly Pig was back on its feet.

0:22:140:22:16

I love it here. I think it's really cosy and just a nice environment.

0:22:160:22:21

'And no day is ever the same.

0:22:210:22:24

'In hospitality, you can't ever get complacent.'

0:22:240:22:26

There's always just a little unexpected thing...

0:22:260:22:31

pretty much every day.

0:22:310:22:33

And some bigger unexpected things too,

0:22:340:22:37

as Brendan and Amy experienced one weekend.

0:22:370:22:40

It's a Friday evening in early autumn.

0:22:450:22:48

One of the pub's CCTV cameras shows a couple arriving.

0:22:480:22:52

They take time to look at the menu, just like normal customers.

0:22:530:22:57

But there is something rather different about this pair.

0:22:570:23:00

It was very busy on that night and the couple came in...

0:23:000:23:06

They catch Amy's eye and she goes over to greet them.

0:23:060:23:09

They were both very friendly.

0:23:090:23:11

The woman, she actually said, "Oh, I went to school with you."

0:23:110:23:13

For the life of me, I couldn't remember. I'm awful with names.

0:23:130:23:16

I sort of went, "Yeah, yeah. Oh, yes. I remember."

0:23:160:23:21

The couple haven't booked but are happy to sit outside

0:23:220:23:25

and pick a spot near the road.

0:23:250:23:27

Over the next two hours, they order and consume a three-course meal

0:23:290:23:33

with no expense spared,

0:23:330:23:34

including wine and liqueurs, totting up a bill of £147.85.

0:23:340:23:41

It started to get quite chilly so they were the only ones out there.

0:23:410:23:46

But they aren't out there for much longer.

0:23:460:23:48

Just before closing time,

0:23:480:23:50

a waiter goes out to find that the couple have disappeared.

0:23:500:23:54

A rather panic-stricken waiter came to me saying...

0:23:540:23:57

"Have they paid?"

0:23:570:23:58

"I think they've done a runner."

0:23:580:24:01

Amy and Brendan go and fire up their CCTV to see if the security camera

0:24:010:24:06

recording can shed any light.

0:24:060:24:08

A lawyer likes to have reliable evidence.

0:24:080:24:10

You have to be really careful about jumping to conclusions unfairly.

0:24:100:24:15

But the video leaves them in no doubt.

0:24:150:24:18

There's this shot of them literally legging it,

0:24:180:24:20

legs akimbo over the wall of the decking area with bottle in hand.

0:24:200:24:24

I was quite shocked because it's just not something that happens.

0:24:260:24:29

It wasn't a nice feeling to see that.

0:24:290:24:31

Dine and dash, as it's sometimes called,

0:24:330:24:36

leaves restaurant owners heavily out of pocket, and it's on the increase.

0:24:360:24:40

It's breaking the law, and as an ex-lawyer,

0:24:400:24:43

Brendan doesn't think the couple should get away with it.

0:24:430:24:46

If anybody had had £150 taken from their wallet,

0:24:460:24:49

they would want to try and identify the thieves and get it back.

0:24:490:24:55

Brendan reported the incident to the police

0:24:550:24:57

and gets back to the weekend's work.

0:24:570:24:59

But there are still some unexpected events in store for him.

0:24:590:25:02

The following evening, his CCTV picks up more people doing a runner.

0:25:030:25:07

At 5:47pm on Saturday, a Range Rover careers into the car park,

0:25:090:25:13

narrowly missing a vehicle before screeching to a halt.

0:25:130:25:17

Six people leap out and sprint into the woods.

0:25:180:25:20

And next minute, the police arrive.

0:25:220:25:25

What is going on?

0:25:250:25:27

The police walk in the door and they said, "Have you got CCTV?"

0:25:270:25:30

"Of course." We went up and looked at it together at and...

0:25:300:25:33

"Heavens above, look at what on earth has happened here."

0:25:330:25:36

It turns out the people are immigrants,

0:25:360:25:39

brought into the country illegally by traffickers at the coast.

0:25:390:25:42

They scarpered when they knew the police were onto them,

0:25:420:25:45

never to be seen again.

0:25:450:25:46

There isn't much Brendan can do about the illegal immigrants.

0:25:480:25:51

But he's determined not to let the couple get away with their free dinner.

0:25:520:25:56

With Brendan's legal background,

0:25:570:25:59

they really picked the wrong place to do it.

0:25:590:26:03

The woman thinking she recognised Amy from school

0:26:030:26:06

is a clue that she lives locally.

0:26:060:26:08

Brendan gathers still images of the couple.

0:26:080:26:11

There was great CCTV footage, so I thought,

0:26:110:26:15

social media would be a good tool.

0:26:150:26:17

He posts photos of the dine-and-dashers online

0:26:170:26:21

and also goes to the local press with the story.

0:26:210:26:24

The coverage soon pays off.

0:26:240:26:26

The response was good.

0:26:260:26:28

We had about six or seven people phoning us up

0:26:280:26:32

and identifying who they were.

0:26:320:26:35

Simultaneously, the police also were able to identify them.

0:26:350:26:41

While the police go looking for the couple, something unexpected happens.

0:26:410:26:45

Brendan gets a visit from the woman's parents.

0:26:450:26:48

They had the grace to apologise on behalf of their daughter,

0:26:480:26:52

and they felt the need to offer to pay.

0:26:520:26:56

There's a question there, is it the right thing to do?

0:26:560:26:58

Should they bail them out?

0:26:580:26:59

But for them, it was a matter of honour.

0:26:590:27:02

The parents insist Brendan takes what's owed.

0:27:020:27:04

He agrees but says he'd rather receive the money from their daughter herself,

0:27:040:27:09

telling them he'll pay them back if he does.

0:27:090:27:11

And a few days later, that starts to look highly likely.

0:27:110:27:15

The police track her down, along with her boyfriend.

0:27:150:27:19

They were eventually able to find them at an address,

0:27:190:27:21

needless to say not their normal home.

0:27:210:27:24

In court, both the man and the woman pleaded guilty to dishonestly

0:27:270:27:31

making off without paying and were ordered to compensate Brendan.

0:27:310:27:35

The woman was also fined for breaching a conditional discharge,

0:27:350:27:39

and the man put under curfew with an electronic tag for other offences.

0:27:390:27:43

The restaurant is now thriving,

0:27:480:27:50

which makes it easier to look back on the dine-and-dash drama with a smile

0:27:500:27:55

and for Brendan to tease Amy about putting the couple outside.

0:27:550:27:58

It's all her fault.

0:27:580:27:59

He's been terrorising me about it ever since(!)

0:28:010:28:06

And his roller-coaster first year hasn't put Brendan off his new venture.

0:28:060:28:11

Do I get out of bed with slumped shoulders any more?

0:28:110:28:14

Absolutely not.

0:28:140:28:16

It's a fun thing to do and I'm pleased I've done it.

0:28:160:28:19

That's all we have time for today.

0:28:240:28:26

An increasing number of criminals are being captured on camera every year.

0:28:260:28:30

Join us next time to see more villains who've been caught red-handed.

0:28:300:28:34

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.