Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. A shop manager is forced into fighting off a burglar much stronger than he is.
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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.
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.
Today, a warning to all burglars.
Never underestimate the brave British public.
Like shop manager Neil...
..who's forced into fighting off a burglar much stronger than he is.
He said, "I've got a gun, move out of the way."
But Neil has the bottle to fight back.
Seeing somebody walk out of the shop door with £3,000 worth of cigarettes
is just wrong. And I couldn't live with myself
if I just watched that happen.
Also today, pub landlady Diane wakes up with a mystery to solve.
Somebody's been creeping about in my back yard while we are asleep,
it felt like it was sort of like a violation.
Diane turns private detective to investigate
what exactly these two shady characters have been up to.
But first, Marcus runs a garden centre
that's a haven for adults with special needs,
until late one night,
its tranquillity is shattered by burglars.
They ransacked the place.
I just can't comprehend that somebody would do this to a charity.
These are organised criminals on a rampage,
attacking more than 100 businesses to steal safes,
taking £250,000 in the process,
and causing more than half a million pounds' worth of damage.
A team of detectives is tasked to stop them.
They use that level of violence on every occasion,
taking sledgehammers, crowbars,
to destroy property, and intimidate and threaten people.
On the outskirts of Salisbury,
nestled in the quiet Wiltshire countryside,
is a garden centre run for and by an inspiring bunch of gardeners,
with the aid of Marcus and his team from the charity, Alabare.
-Why don't you try and draw the butterfly from there?
The centre is run for anyone with any disability.
Learning disabilities, mental health, autistic,
sensory and physical disabilities.
The trainees learn carpentry and how to grow their own fruit and veg.
And the charity strives to help them achieve their full potential.
We provide a service here to help the clients
progress into more independent living.
Nearly there, nearly there. Well done.
They actually come here and learn things
and feel good about themselves.
This place is special. The atmosphere is tranquil,
a really nice environment for people to work in.
But the happy atmosphere of this idyllic garden centre
will soon be torn apart by burglars
who have no regard for the trail of destruction they leave behind.
It's shortly after 8.30pm on a Wednesday in mid-September.
And parked up on the perimeter of the garden centre
is a car containing a sinister group of masked men.
And now, under the cover of darkness,
they are ready to make their move.
As they approach the building,
two of the men are picked up on the centre's infrared CCTV.
One of them can be seen carrying a crowbar.
He's obviously aware they are being filmed
so comes up to the camera and smashes it.
But a second camera picks them up inside the building.
One of the intruders removes a fire extinguisher
while a second masked man
follows him into the next room.
Out of range of the camera,
they use the extinguisher to break into an office
where they then remove
the charity's heavy safe from the building.
The burglar alarm is triggered.
Five minutes later, the two men can be seen running away,
closely followed by a third man
who was covering his head with a grey hoodie.
Because the alarm has been activated,
Marcus is alerted at home.
I had a phone call notifying me that the alarm has gone off.
As I arrived, there was a lot of police presence.
When he gets inside,
Marcus is staggered by the extent of the damage.
Our kitchen door had been smashed in, tables were turned upside down,
locked cupboards smashed open, total needless destruction.
My worst fear was the amount of damage straightaway,
or what has been taken.
He discovers that the safe containing £750 is missing.
I just can't comprehend any of it,
that somebody would do this to a charity.
The next morning, Marcus and his team calculate the total cost
of the burglary, nearly £4,000 in stolen cash
and damage to the building.
When the clients came in and saw the damage,
they felt violated that somebody had been in their place
and destroyed it.
Four miles away, at Salisbury police station,
the case lands on the desk of Detective Sergeant Nigel Porter.
He's leading a team that's
investigating a spate of similar burglaries of safes from businesses.
They believe it's the work of an organised gang
of ruthless criminals.
The great deal these victims had suffered
at the hands of these people
as a result of the amount of damage and violence
that was shown to their property,
the emotional aspect to the victim is profound.
Nigel's team are specialists in putting gangs behind bars,
and they've been working on this case for several months.
Their first task was finding out the extent of the crimewave,
and it turned out more than 80 businesses
had been attacked across seven counties.
They were able to link the crimes, because the burglars used the same
distinctive method each time.
They generally chose remote, isolated locations.
They came over rural ground, out of sight, back of the premises,
and used extreme violence to enter it.
After smashing their way in, they locate the company's safe.
They loosen safes where they were in situ,
just enough for them to put a strap around the safe,
attach it to the rear of their four-wheel drive,
then they drag the safe out, causing untold damage.
Look at the sparks coming off the ground,
to show the impact as it smashes its way out.
The gang then go to secluded spots
where they break into the safes
using industrial disc cutters.
The CCTV footage from the garden centre raid
shows another link with the other burglaries,
the robbers often remove fire extinguishers.
Their MO is that they get the fire extinguishers
from the attacked premises to cool down
the cutting effect on the safes.
And that stops the money inside burning.
The burglars may think they have a slick operation,
but Nigel's convinced he knows who they are.
He's had a major lead
because of a car seen in the vicinity of a burglary
failing to stop for local police.
This person owned a vehicle
similar to one that was seen at one of the offences.
So therefore, we had reasonable cause to suspect he was involved
and his actions to try and evade the police later on
gave us enough grounds for his initial arrest.
They've traced the man's address from his number plate
and searched his property,
soon realising they're on the right track.
The team came away with a Subaru, with a four-wheel drive vehicle,
which had some straps we believed they'd used for pulling safes,
and a number of telephone handsets.
The man's mobile phones have provided valuable information,
including the names of two more suspects.
At that point, we've got our three offenders,
we now have to build the evidence around them.
There isn't enough solid evidence to charge the suspects
for committing the burglaries
because their faces are always covered,
and they never leave fingerprints.
I felt pressure to catch these people as quickly as possible,
so that a member of the public wasn't seriously injured or harmed.
You saw the speed that that smashes its way through the door jam,
as it comes out, which could quite clearly kill somebody
arriving at the scene.
If Nigel can prove the suspects
are responsible for planning the raids,
he can put them behind bars
on conspiracy charges, and a conspiracy case
enables him to use every small shred of evidence.
What we try to do is build a wall of evidence.
Each brick helps build a picture of whether be it
somebody's present near the offence,
a vehicle owned by them is nearby,
or there is DNA from a removable object
at the scene of one of those offences.
In the weeks that follow,
Nigel and his team confirmed that on the nights businesses were raided,
the suspects' mobile phones and vehicles were in the area.
They build a strong enough case to move in
and arrest all three suspects.
87 officers from three counties descended on four addresses.
Vital evidence is unearthed at those addresses.
We found another Subaru, and in the boot of the Subaru,
we found a disc cutter, we found crowbars,
and in the garden of that person, we found fire extinguishers.
They also find clothes clearly seen on CCTV of the raids.
This hooded top appears and reappears on a number of offences.
All three suspects are remanded in custody.
And over the next few months,
Nigel gets a further indication that he has the right men.
Whilst they were on remand,
we did not have one other offence
of this nature in the whole of Wiltshire.
The crimewave, in which 120 businesses were hit, is at an end.
Nigel and his team build such a watertight case
that all three suspects
had no choice but to plead guilty.
The three men were jailed
for a combined total of 24 years for conspiracy to burgle.
It's a good outcome,
and business owners in seven counties
can breathe a sigh of relief.
There's no feeling better than being successful at court,
and we were so overwhelmed by the victims' response
to the fact that we caught the people.
It was a good feeling to see them all get custodial sentences.
And those at the charity garden centre
can now put the burglary behind them
and keep building on their success.
There's lots of things going on,
we are looking to put a cafe in,
so we can offer catering and retail qualifications for our clients.
So the outlook is really good.
If you were to think of a likely suspect for keying a car,
a 44-year-old woman walking a little pug dog
probably wouldn't be first pick.
But here she is,
and this is her looking round before using a key
to maliciously scratch this car from one end to the other.
The owner of the car had set up cameras
after some previous vandalism,
and was shocked to see a total stranger
casually maiming her vehicle.
But this car isn't the only victim of this middle-aged vandal.
After pausing for a cigarette break,
yes, criminal damage can take it out of you,
she keys another two cars as she nonchalantly strolls on her way.
But as hooligans go, she obviously isn't the sharpest key on the ring.
Being caught on CCTV
means the police have a perfect mug shot of the woman,
and she's soon identified and collared.
She's taken to court and ordered to pay a fine of £340.
I suspect next time she takes her pug for a walk,
she'll keep her keys firmly in her pocket.
A robber might think a small local shop
in a quiet town would be an easy target,
but some shopkeepers will do anything
to protect their hard-earned cash.
A desperate struggle erupts when shop manager Neil
tries to stop a thief
stealing goods worth thousands.
Regular customer Nicky was only popping to the shops,
but now she's forced into action.
He looked very shocked,
he didn't have a clue what was going on.
I stopped, and then I thought, no, he can have some more.
Boston Spa is a village near the city of Leeds.
For nearly three decades,
57-year-old Neil has been manager of the local convenience store.
Boston is one of the nicest places
to live in the whole of the North of Britain.
I just could not have come to a better place to live.
My customers, the regulars, a lot of them, they come in every day,
every week, and after 27 years, I do know the vast bulk of them.
21-year-old Jamie was one of Neil's customers.
Now he's a colleague.
Neil sort of said, "Oh, do you want to come and work here?"
So I said, "OK. I'll come and work here for a little while."
Turned out, lasted for about two and a half years.
It is a busy shop, even though it's quite a small village,
a lot of people pass through.
It's just a great place to have a shop.
And Neil should know.
He's managed shops in some pretty challenging places overseas.
When he and his family were based in Papua New Guinea,
he had some very hairy moments.
We had our shops broken into on a frequent occurrence.
It's just a way of life out there,
but it does get to you occasionally
when you know full well that you could be robbed at any time.
Those volatile days abroad taught Neil how to stand up for himself,
something he never thought he'd need in sedate Boston Spa.
But it turns out that he does.
It's 9.30 on a Saturday night in late spring.
Neil and Jamie are working in the store as usual.
Regular customer Nicky is doing some last-minute shopping.
I just needed a few bits.
Jamie was behind the counter.
Because it was so quiet, we managed to have a little chat.
Neil has gone round the back of the shop
to start locking up for the night.
Just before closing time, a man enters the store.
The CCTV picks him up
as he heads towards the aisle at the back of the shop.
I saw a gentleman come into the shop.
As I was carrying on talking,
I just assumed that he'd used the cash machine and left.
But the man hasn't left, and as he loiters around,
he doesn't seem too interested in shopping either.
Peering round the corner, he sees Jamie and Nicky are still talking.
While they are distracted,
he takes the chance to disappear through the door
that leads down to the shop cellar.
By now, Neil has come back in from outside.
I could hear a rustling, strange,
so I could see the door was open to the cellars,
so I went to the top of the stairs,
went down a bit,
and I could then see two legs running along the cellar.
With Nicky and Jamie still up front by the counter,
Neil realises they have an intruder downstairs.
I thought, well, he's not going to get out,
because there is no exit from the cellar.
So whatever happens, he's going to have to come to face me.
I shouted to him and I warned him, I said, "Look,
"I'm on the stairs, and I'm not moving."
He then ran towards me.
As the man pauses at the bottom of the stairs,
Neil sees he's powerfully built
and holding a large box full of packs of cigarettes.
Seeing somebody walk out of the shop door
with £3,000 worth of cigarettes is just wrong.
I couldn't live with myself if I just watched that happen.
Still holding the cigarettes,
the man starts coming up the stairs towards Neil.
You have seconds to think what you're going to do,
and there's no way I could get into a fight with this person.
He was much bigger than me.
So I needed a weapon.
And it would have been whatever was at the side of me.
It was just a bottle of champagne.
He picks up the bottle.
He said, "I've got a gun, move out of the way."
I said, "Well, I'm still not moving."
Neil's seen people pull out guns before, abroad,
so he doesn't scare easily.
So, he just went ballistic to try and get out.
Neil's determined to do everything in his power
to stop the man forcing his way past him.
A desperate struggle begins.
I come round the corner and see the robber coming out of the cellar,
and I just see Neil there,
hitting him over the head with the champagne bottle.
I just didn't really know what to do at first, so I sort of stood there,
like, "OK, what do I do? What do I do?"
I then just started shouting,
I said, "Get the police, get the police."
While Jamie phones 999, Neil fights on.
The police strongly recommend
not getting drawn into violence yourself,
but Neil feels he has no alternative.
He was not going to let go of those cigarettes,
so I grabbed hold of him,
he pushed towards me, and that's when the cigarettes flew everywhere.
Jamie tries to help while he's on the phone to the police.
At the counter, Nicky's only just realised something is wrong.
I couldn't really hear.
I looked round the corner and Neil was trying to defend himself
against some bloke.
Neil could get hurt, I thought, "I need to help him."
I then saw the fire extinguishers.
So I thought, "Aha."
Pushing Neil away, the robber goes round the corner.
Both of them are about to get a shock.
Nicky just comes out of nowhere, like superhero out of nowhere,
she's just there with the fire extinguisher.
I aimed it in the bloke's face and let it off.
He then got covered in all this powder
that looked like he'd got a swarm of bees around him.
And he looked very shocked.
He didn't have a clue what was going on.
And he was stumbling, falling over.
I stopped, and then I thought, "No, he can have some more."
His face was covered in it. You couldn't see him then.
It didn't even dawn on me that I may scare Neil to death.
I went from seeing everything to seeing nothing.
I was completely covered in white mist.
He was covered. I could barely see him,
even though he was only a few inches from me.
It had stopped the commotion and the aggressive fighting and things,
so I was quite happy that Neil was OK.
The robber then groggily gets to his feet
and lurches out of the front door.
Neil pursues him across the street.
I just got to him and he went flying into a car,
or staggering into a car, actually,
dragged in by a friend that was in the car.
They then zoomed off.
Neil returns to his shop to survey the chaos,
though, at least, nothing's been taken.
The police are quickly at the scene.
I thought, there's so much footage, we have a good CCTV in here.
And so I knew once the tape got into the hands of the police,
they would solve it.
Sure enough, a few days later,
the police believe they've found the man responsible.
They call Neil in to identify him.
They basically just flashed up on screen
about ten people that remarkably looked very similar,
but I went straightaway to the person who it was.
You know, we'd been fighting for five minutes,
and I wasn't going to forget that face.
The 38-year-old man was convicted of burglary
and given a 12-month prison sentence,
suspended for 24 months.
Unsurprisingly, he is also no longer welcome at Neil's shop,
not that he's likely to return,
given the treatment he received last time.
It shocked me a bit. All I could think of was,
I best not mess with Neil.
He's very quiet normally.
So we have a bit of this running joke now
where Neil will chase you with a champagne bottle
if you do anything wrong.
I thought Neil was very, very brave.
But Neil thinks Nicky's the real hero
for her quick thinking in grabbing the fire extinguisher.
I just think she was great,
to actually join in where many people might not have done,
and she was helping me.
Where it would have gone without Nicky, I don't know.
If you witness a violent crime taking place,
it can be very tempting to go and help,
but that might not be a wise move,
so what should people do in that situation?
If you get into somebody's personal space, for example,
they automatically become defensive.
So when I've been in a pub scenario where there's been a fight,
you can go straight into somebody
and you go toe-to-toe with them
and that actually inflames the situation.
What you might want to do is create a bit of distance between you
and use your body language
to actually try and calm the situation down.
In a violent or aggressive situation,
there's absolutely no shame in just trying to remove yourself
from the area altogether, so look for an escape route,
look to see how you could get there, possibly the quickest way,
and just get outside of the premises altogether.
However, there will be situations, life and death situations,
where you feel compelled to intervene.
It may be that you've got the appropriate training
or experience to intervene,
and that's a judgment call for yourself at the time,
but as a general rule,
try and avoid getting involved and call for help.
No property is worth getting hurt for.
There's no shame in leaving a violent situation.
Get out and call the police, so we can come and handle it properly.
One of the most popular pubs in Morley, West Yorkshire,
is the Carriers Arms.
And one of Morley's most popular landladies is Diane,
who's been here 16 years.
The traditional pubs, they're shutting down, it's a struggle,
but I really want us to keep going.
Pubs are still the heart and soul of the community.
Diane and husband Sean have always taken pride in their pub,
its ale, its food and its prize-winning beer garden.
Every year, we enter into the Leeds in Bloom and for the last few years,
we've won the Silver award.
And, hopefully, one year, we might win the Gold award.
Diane loves a challenge,
and when thieves pay her pub a visit one night,
she has a real mystery to solve.
Who are they and what is it they're after?
It's a Sunday morning in late June.
Diane and Sean are clearing the beer garden
after a busy day's trade on Saturday.
We were outside, sweeping up,
getting ready for opening up at 12 o'clock,
and we noticed that the watering system had been uncoupled.
First of all, we thought, "There's been somebody around here
"trying to steal the hosepipe."
Diane thinks they must have had intruders in the early hours.
We looked at the shed,
and there didn't look to be anything untoward about it
because the padlocks looked to be in place.
She goes to check what the pub security cameras
recorded during the night.
I was like a dog with a bone and started going
minute by minute through the CCTV.
Diane soon spots something amiss.
At 3:15am, a man in a hat
stops on the pavement outside the beer garden.
Seconds later, she notices another man inside the garden.
He puts something down and continues further into her property.
She then sees the man in the hat check that the coast is clear
before following his accomplice.
I couldn't believe my eyes.
We'd had perpetrators in the night.
We were just on the second floor above there.
Somebody had been creeping about in my back yard while we're asleep.
It felt like it was sort of like a violation.
Five minutes later,
the trespassers reappear on camera before leaving the beer garden.
One of them seems to be carrying a large object,
but she can't make out what it is.
We thought, "They must have been up to something for the length of time
"that they'd sort of disappeared off the camera."
So we went and had a look at the shed.
A closer inspection of the suspected crime scene
reveals there has been a break in.
They'd actually managed to take off the middle lock
but the top padlock was still locked.
And it looks as though they pulled the door towards themselves,
and had just stolen something
that was small enough to get through that space.
When Diane opens the shed door, her suspicions are confirmed.
The expensive strimmer that we'd only put in there the day before
was there no longer.
The thieves may have only stolen a strimmer,
but it was an expensive one,
and Diane's determined they're not going to get away with it.
I was just really annoyed.
I work hard for everything,
and somebody comes along and steals from us,
it's just an insult.
Now she knows what's gone, Diane wants to find out who done it.
She checks the images from a second camera
overlooking the beer garden...
..and soon finds an image which clearly shows the face
of one of the thieves.
My immediate thought is that somebody would know who they were
because it was such good facial footage of them.
While his accomplice steals the strimmer,
the man in the hat has different priorities,
stealing unfinished cigarettes.
He got his lighter and started inspecting my ashtray
and finding what cigarette ends he could get.
I had to laugh, really, because I just thought,
"There's this guy in this funny porkpie hat,
"looking through my ashtray while I'm in bed."
Diane's detective work is done.
She calls the police with her findings.
When the police came out and looked at the CCTV,
they actually knew who the perpetrators were.
Two weeks later, police officers caught up with the pair.
One was arrested in possession of other stolen property.
Unfortunately, Diane's strimmer was long gone.
But at least her determination has helped bring the men to justice.
It turned out that there had been other thefts in the area
and I felt like it had helped
using our CCTV footage to stop them in their tracks, really,
from doing any more.
In court, the man in the hat pleaded guilty to burglary,
and was sent to prison for 28 weeks.
The other man received a sentence of two years and five months for theft,
burglary and going equipped to steal.
Diane and Sean have now replaced the strimmer
and are continuing their fight to save the traditional British pub.
We're trying to keep going, keep being in the heart of the community
until we retire.
Although it's a struggle, we are still here and smiling.
That's it for today.
And that's it for a few more criminals
who have been Caught Red Handed.
A shop manager is forced into fighting off a burglar much stronger than he is. And a team of organised criminals is on a rampage, attacking more than a hundred businesses to steal safes.