Episode 19 Caught Red Handed


Episode 19

Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. A sinister visitor in a school hall is up to no good, and a Chinese restaurant has a late-night intruder.


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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

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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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Going to have him stopped.

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Local councils, shops and businesses

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are fighting crime 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

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to make sure 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...

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This burglar is stealing a whole shop full of mobile phones

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that are being repaired.

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The shop owner's customers have lost not just their phones,

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but precious photos and personal details.

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What I'm going to say to my customers,

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I have no words to describe how I was feeling on that time.

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But the burglar makes an extraordinary mistake.

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He returns to the scene of the crime

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as if he's a normal customer, thinking he won't be recognised.

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Bad move.

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Also coming up...

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There's a sinister visitor lurking in the school hall,

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and when he takes a computer hard drive

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it spells disaster for Laura's dance pupils taking their GCSEs.

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Really, really angry.

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That was hours and hours of precious work that's been taken away.

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And it gets personal for Nigel,

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the school site manager, too.

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The head and the governors trusted me to do the security of the school.

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I failed.

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But first, an intruder is sneaking around a restaurant in the dark,

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long after the paying customers have left.

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He thinks he's out of sight.

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But up in the ceiling a hi-tech pair of eyes means the restaurant's

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Chinese owner, John, can see everything.

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-TRANSLATION:

-The thief was there just when I watched the CCTV,

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so I was really excited.

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And things get even more exciting

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when John and the police reach the restaurant.

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-TRANSLATION:

-The door was slowly opened and the thief came out.

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I was trying to grab him.

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I shouted, "He's here," to catch the police's attention.

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The town of Middlesbrough in the north-east has become home to John

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since he came to Britain from China.

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As a child growing up in a small Chinese town,

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John learnt that survival meant hard graft.

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A lesson which served him well when he opened a restaurant here.

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-TRANSLATION:

-I have believed in hard work from a very young age,

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and I want to work hard to make my fortune.

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This restaurant is very important to me because it's my living

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and supports my whole family.

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He steadily built up his restaurant's trade over five years.

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-TRANSLATION:

-I haven't yet fulfilled my dream,

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but the business is growing

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and I hope it can be better and better.

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But recently the profitability of his business was threatened

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after the restaurant was burgled twice.

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So John decided to invest in expensive security cameras

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which send live video pictures directly to his phone.

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-TRANSLATION:

-I would check CCTV every night and every morning

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to see whether a thief had got in.

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Checking CCTV became a habit.

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And John's habit of regularly checking his cameras

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proves to be useful when he's hit by yet another burglary.

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It's 2am, and after clearing up and locking up John has gone home.

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Before going to bed he always has a nightly look at the restaurant's

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live video pictures.

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And tonight he gets a shock -

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he sees an intruder.

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-TRANSLATION:

-A person was moving.

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My first reaction was to call the police.

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As well as phoning the police,

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John heads to the restaurant himself.

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There's a chance the thief could still be inside.

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-TRANSLATION:

-I felt so annoyed that I wanted to fight him.

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Street cameras show that the police have responded so quickly

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they are already at the restaurant.

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These two officers are checking the front,

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while two others have left their car to check the back of the building,

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out of camera shot.

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John arrives near the back door, impressed by their speedy response.

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-TRANSLATION:

-I was relieved.

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In the best English he can muster,

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John explains what happened.

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-TRANSLATION:

-I stood with the police and described what I saw on the CCTV to them.

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He's now lost the required signal to receive the live video pictures,

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so he can't be sure the intruder's still inside.

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But he is.

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And the hooded man hasn't yet realised he's got company outside.

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John tells the officers where he thinks the man broke in.

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-TRANSLATION:

-I told them that last time the thief broke in through

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the back door.

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So the police went to the back door while I waited at a side door.

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With John stationed by the side door, all exits are covered.

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When an officer at the front of the building shines his torch inside,

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the intruder suddenly becomes aware that he's not alone.

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He begins crawling on the floor to keep out of sight

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and heads for an escape route.

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He chooses the side door of the building -

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the same door that John is standing right next to.

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-TRANSLATION:

-I was standing at the door and I saw the door

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was slowly opened and the thief came out.

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I asked him in English, "What are you doing here?"

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He threw away the bag he carried with him.

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The man walks towards John and then makes a run for it.

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-TRANSLATION:

-I was trying to grab him

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but only grabbed a corner of his coat and he broke free.

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In that moment I had no thought except catching him.

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I shouted, "He's here,"

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to catch the police's attention.

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The man bolts across the road with John,

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officers and a police dog in close pursuit.

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-TRANSLATION:

-I thought about chasing him,

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but seeing the police were running much faster than me I just stopped.

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I was just hoping the thief could be caught.

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The burglar tries to shake off his pursuers

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by ducking between residential blocks of flats.

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But there is only one other way out from this area...

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..and a police car is on its way to intercept him.

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CCTV shows how the man appears in the street,

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trying to avoid suspicion by looking casual.

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But the officers aren't easily fooled and call him over.

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Out of options, he gives himself up.

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The police dog arrives, which makes sure the man won't run off again.

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John is told the good news.

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-TRANSLATION:

-I was happy to hear that the thief had been caught.

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Very pleased.

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Sergeant Tom Legg picks up the case at the police station.

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He interviews the arrested man.

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He initially denied the offence.

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I showed him the CCTV that we had from the council

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from the exterior of the building.

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He again denied it,

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saying he'd want to go on an ID parade.

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The street's CCTV is too distant to give a solid identification,

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so Tom begins to analyse the pictures from John's hi-tech system.

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He discovers there's plenty of footage.

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He spends almost two hours in there.

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It's really brazen, really, that he's not rushed.

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In his mind he believes it's closed,

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the likelihood is that no-one's coming back there till the following morning.

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He's not aware that, really,

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everything that he's doing is being watched.

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Tom can see that the intruder's clothes match those of the man

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he has in custody.

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The likelihood of finding someone wearing that exact combination

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of clothing at that exact time is really unlikely.

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And at one point in the recording,

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the man makes a mistake that is to seal his fate.

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You get to see the offender's face.

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It's pretty clear from watching that, when you see the offender,

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that they're one and the same, that that's the same person.

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With the weight of evidence against him,

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the next morning in front of magistrates

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the arrested man pleads guilty.

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In court he was given a community order and a three-month curfew.

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Thanks to John's smart security equipment

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the man was caught and dealt with quickly.

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Tom's pleased with the outcome for the restaurant owner.

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He's a young man trying to build a business for his family.

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For someone to just think that they can go in and burgle,

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that's absolutely morally wrong.

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John still checks his cameras' live video at the end of each day,

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and thankfully since the burglary

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they've shown nothing to worry about.

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-TRANSLATION:

-After his conviction no more robbery happened

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to my restaurant, so I feel much relief.

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Hopefully this will never happen again.

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It's Christmas time.

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But criminals don't take a holiday.

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Even on Christmas Day, this thief isn't showing goodwill to all men.

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After smashing his way into this cafe,

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he steals two collection boxes.

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One for people with drink and drug problems,

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the other for a charity for blind people.

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Hang on, has he left his crowbar behind as evidence?

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Oh, no, he's realised.

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What a pity.

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Not surprisingly,

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the cafe owners are furious at having to come out early

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on Christmas morning to clear up the mess.

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And they are even angrier about the less than charitable thefts.

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So they put the footage on the internet

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and later receive a very welcome Christmas gift

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when someone recognises the thief.

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When the police arrest him,

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he pleads guilty to burglary and is sentenced to 18 months in prison.

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So, in just 20 seconds

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this crook manages to give himself an unhappy New Year and a half.

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Merry Christmas.

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It's easy to assume that if you leave your property, say your car,

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your laptop or your mobile phone, in a repair shop,

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it's going to be safe and sound.

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But that's not always the case.

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When a thief steals all the customers mobile phones

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from a repair shop,

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the owner is left in despair...

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..until he opens the shop the very next day,

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and he can't believe what happens.

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The guy came in, the same guy.

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Monmouth town centre has many shops of all types,

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but local entrepreneur Waqar noticed a gap in the market -

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mobile phone repairs.

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So he opened a shop.

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It's an idea he'd first had years earlier

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while studying business management at university.

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The teacher said you can make a business plan,

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and phones is the need of every person nowadays.

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So that idea came into my mind.

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I start learning how to repair the phones,

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I start gathering the ideas for everything.

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When he left uni, Waqar decided to turn theory into practice.

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He leased a shop, redecorated it, and opened for business.

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But it wasn't an instant success.

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It took nearly eight to nine months

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and it was very hard time for us.

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Gradually, over a period of two years,

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Waqar began to build up a lot of customers,

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all of them trusting him with their expensive phones and personal data.

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Each phone costs £600 to £700 nowadays.

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It's all like brand-new phones, you know?

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On busy weekends Waqar could receive dozens of phones to fix,

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with customers looking forward to picking their repaired devices up

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the following week.

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But then, one particular weekend,

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a local thief decided that he wanted

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to pick up all the phones for himself.

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It's 7am on a Monday morning

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and Waqar is walking to work with a friend.

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He notices the police are parked near his shop.

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I saw the police car,

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and I just start feeling a little bit,

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maybe it's something to do with me.

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But I say, "Oh, maybe not," you know?"

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Waqar has a CCTV camera inside the shop,

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and it shows him arriving that morning and finding a broken window

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by the entrance, with shards of glass on the floor.

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It was completely shattered, so I just realised, "Oh, my God."

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The police officer, he came from the car and he say,

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"I'm really sorry but you've had a break-in.

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"Have you got anything important in the shop?"

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I say, "Everything is important in the shop."

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Waqar, his friend, and the police officer enter the shop.

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I just start looking for my customers' devices

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and they all were missing,

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and that was the terrible time that I just realised,

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"Oh, my God, I've lost all of them."

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What am I going to say to my customers?

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I can offer them a phone,

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but what am I going to say if they ask me,

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"No, we don't need the phone, we have some personal stuff,

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"we have some important things we keep in our phones."

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The only hope he has is that the phones might be recovered

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if the burglar's caught quickly.

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I just realised, "OK, I've got CCTV."

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Waqar checks the weekend's camera recording

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to see if he can spot any clues.

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Unfortunately, the camera's night-time vision

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isn't working properly, so it's hard to see what's going on.

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But Waqar still meticulously examines the recording.

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After a while, he see's a shadowy figure walk up to the front door

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in the early hours and peer in.

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The man then turns round and kicks hard at the window.

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Then he tries breaking the window again.

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The noise of the glass smashing echoes around the street

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and the man runs off.

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Seeing the burglar attack his shop is stressful for Waqar.

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It's hard, yeah, that someone is breaking into your property

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and you're watching that, you know? It was terrible.

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Several minutes later, the man runs back and climbs through the hole.

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He's wearing a hood and it's impossible to see his face.

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He's starting looking for anything that's expensive.

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The man goes to the back of the shop

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and puts the customers' phones into his bags.

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After 20 minutes,

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the burglar emerges and leaves with two bags

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bulging with expensive devices.

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But he's not finished yet.

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He returns to collect more loot,

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including Waqar's whole cash register from the back of the shop.

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It looks like he's going to get away with the crime,

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but as Waqar watches on, there's an unexpected bonus.

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At one stage, the thief peers into a glass display,

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and it's an illuminating moment in more ways than one.

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The thief's face is clearly visible in the reflected torchlight.

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The reflection came back to his face and you can see the face very clear.

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That's the moment that I got him and I say, "Maybe I know him."

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That's the moment when I realised he might be my customer.

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The man's face rings a bell,

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and Waqar asks his friend to come over and look at the recording

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to see if he recognises the thief.

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And then something truly remarkable happens.

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While they're watching the camera footage,

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the shop door opens and someone walks in,

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looking exactly like the man on the video they're watching.

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The guy came in, the same guy.

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Waqar's convinced it's the burglar returning to the scene of his crime.

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He speaks to his friend in Pashto, his first language,

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because he doesn't want the man to know his suspicions.

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I just took advantage of my language, and he said,

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"Yes, I think so. He's the same guy."

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Waqar's shocked by what the man says next.

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He asked for his phone that he left on Saturday for repairing.

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He said, "OK, where is my phone?"

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While Waqar calmly explains about the break-in,

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his friend secretly takes a photo of the man.

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He gets rude and says, "It's not my problem."

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I say, "Look, I promise that I will give your property back to you,

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"but you have to allow me some time."

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After asking for compensation,

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the man changes tack and says he has friends who are burglars who may have the phones.

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He tells Waqar he could ask for them back in return for £100.

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Waqar plays along.

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"OK, get me my stuff back

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"and I can pay you £100 for that.

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"But first, you need to bring the stuff back

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"and then I will give you the cash."

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The man leaves.

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Waqar calls the police and shows them the CCTV

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and his friend's photo.

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I showed the picture to prove that that guy just came into the shop

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and he just left the shop now.

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When they checked the picture, they said, "Yes, we know that person."

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I just said, "Can you get me my customers' stuff?"

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That's the first thing.

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The police track the man down and arrest him.

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They recover some equipment,

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but Waqar's customers' phones have all gone.

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It's bad news for Waqar,

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but at least the burglar is put behind bars.

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In court, the man pleaded guilty

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and was sentenced to 20 months in prison.

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Waqar vowed to his customers that he'd replace the phones

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that were stolen,

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and within days, they all had replacements.

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I've got a good relationship with my supplier, that's the best part.

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They lent me the stock.

0:18:450:18:47

Waqar is in the process of reimbursing his suppliers.

0:18:470:18:51

Slowly but surely,

0:18:510:18:52

he's repairing his finances.

0:18:520:18:54

And he needs to, because he's saving up for his wedding day.

0:18:540:18:58

I'm trying my best,

0:18:580:19:00

and definitely next year I'll get married. Yeah.

0:19:000:19:03

The amount of personal information on our smartphones these days is scary.

0:19:090:19:13

And because they're small and regularly on display,

0:19:130:19:16

phones are easily stolen.

0:19:160:19:18

So, what can we do to reduce our chances of that happening

0:19:180:19:21

and what precautions should we take just in case it does?

0:19:210:19:25

Your phone has cost you hundreds of pounds.

0:19:250:19:28

Think about that in terms of notes.

0:19:280:19:30

Would you leave £500 sticking out of your back pocket

0:19:300:19:32

while you walked down the street?

0:19:320:19:34

Leaving your mobile phone, for example,

0:19:340:19:36

next to you, or on a table on a train,

0:19:360:19:39

really is just an open invitation for an offender

0:19:390:19:42

to potentially distract you and steal the phone.

0:19:420:19:46

If your phone is stolen,

0:19:460:19:47

then it's really important that you've got it Pin-protected.

0:19:470:19:51

What we don't want is the criminal to steal your phone

0:19:510:19:54

and then have open access to everything

0:19:540:19:55

that you have on your phone.

0:19:550:19:57

In the good old days when photographs were in albums,

0:19:570:20:00

people used to say in a fire

0:20:000:20:01

that's the one thing they would always want to rescue.

0:20:010:20:04

So in the current climate,

0:20:040:20:05

that is your phone, so back it up.

0:20:050:20:08

Each mobile phone has a unique reference number,

0:20:080:20:11

which is called an IMEI number.

0:20:110:20:13

It's really important that you make a record of your individual number.

0:20:130:20:16

Some phones and some devices have a find my phone capability.

0:20:160:20:20

This can be vital for the police in identifying

0:20:200:20:24

where the stolen phone has been taken to.

0:20:240:20:27

It can be useful simply for the victim.

0:20:270:20:30

It might be that you've lost the phone rather than it being stolen,

0:20:300:20:33

so try and make sure that this is activated.

0:20:330:20:35

Stranger danger -

0:20:410:20:43

a criminal strolls around a school,

0:20:430:20:46

helping himself to anything he can lay his hands on.

0:20:460:20:49

When I first heard about the break-in,

0:20:490:20:51

I felt a bit uneasy because I thought

0:20:510:20:53

that's someone in our private space,

0:20:530:20:55

and space they shouldn't be in.

0:20:550:20:57

Leigh Park is a large suburb of the town of Havant.

0:21:050:21:08

The area is served by Park Community School,

0:21:080:21:11

and Christopher Anders has been headteacher here

0:21:110:21:13

for the last eight years.

0:21:130:21:15

Leigh Park was built by the city of Portsmouth to house people who lived

0:21:170:21:20

in Portsmouth and whose houses had been bombed

0:21:200:21:23

or needed to be demolished after the war.

0:21:230:21:26

It became the second-largest area of social housing in Europe

0:21:260:21:30

and, obviously, with an area like that comes some challenges.

0:21:300:21:34

It's a great opportunity for you...

0:21:340:21:36

The school had fallen into disrepair,

0:21:360:21:39

but from 2014 it was completely rebuilt and modernised,

0:21:390:21:43

with a vision for the future.

0:21:430:21:44

We wanted the school to be the main building in Leigh Park

0:21:440:21:49

because education is important,

0:21:490:21:50

but also because of the community facilities that we can offer.

0:21:500:21:55

As part of the renovations,

0:21:570:21:58

a new theatre and activity studio were built.

0:21:580:22:02

Both are vital for Laura, who teaches dance at the school.

0:22:020:22:06

It's a really, really fun job.

0:22:060:22:08

I love working with the kids.

0:22:080:22:11

To see students going from can't do anything at all in the classroom

0:22:110:22:14

to performing on stage.

0:22:140:22:15

It's just great seeing students learn

0:22:150:22:17

and really progressing and moving forward.

0:22:170:22:20

But Laura faces a serious setback,

0:22:220:22:25

with years of her work lost and her pupils badly affected,

0:22:250:22:29

when an intruder enters the school.

0:22:290:22:31

It's a Wednesday during the Easter holidays.

0:22:370:22:39

Although it's not a normal school day,

0:22:390:22:41

a few teachers have come in to do some work.

0:22:410:22:44

Just past midday,

0:22:460:22:47

one of the school security cameras by the main entrance picks up

0:22:470:22:50

what looks like a member of staff adjusting his bicycle.

0:22:500:22:54

But this man doesn't work here.

0:22:550:22:57

He's actually stealing the lights from someone's bike.

0:22:570:23:00

After removing both front and back lights,

0:23:030:23:05

he rummages around in the cycle bag

0:23:050:23:08

to see if there's anything else worth taking.

0:23:080:23:10

Then, worryingly, he heads into the school.

0:23:130:23:16

30 seconds later, cameras show him sneaking around the activity studio.

0:23:200:23:24

He approaches the computer in the room

0:23:250:23:27

to see if he can remove it easily.

0:23:270:23:29

He can't, it's secured,

0:23:320:23:34

so he starts searching the surrounding rooms.

0:23:340:23:37

Three minutes later, the intruder is still skulking around.

0:23:380:23:41

For a reason that will become apparent, he's put on another top.

0:23:410:23:45

He's found a computer drive, which he puts in his bag.

0:23:460:23:49

The man then leaves the way he came in.

0:23:520:23:55

Nigel is the school's facilities manager,

0:23:590:24:01

responsible for health and safety, and security.

0:24:010:24:04

He's on-site when it's discovered

0:24:040:24:06

that a thief has been in their midst.

0:24:060:24:09

One of my colleagues realised his bike lights had been stolen,

0:24:090:24:11

came straight back into say, "Someone's tampered with my bike."

0:24:110:24:15

So we reviewed the footage of where his bike was kept.

0:24:150:24:18

They see the thief near the bikes,

0:24:190:24:21

and Nigel watches as the man strolls around the activity studio.

0:24:210:24:25

He'd now put a coat on,

0:24:270:24:29

so we're assuming that the coat was in the rucksack,

0:24:290:24:31

so he's put his jacket back on to give the space in the rucksack

0:24:310:24:33

for what he wanted to put into his rucksack.

0:24:330:24:35

You can see there, he clearly has some computer equipment with him.

0:24:350:24:41

The drive the thief has stolen belongs to Laura.

0:24:410:24:44

Which happened to be my dance hard drive,

0:24:440:24:46

which had a lot of information,

0:24:460:24:48

a lot of practical work that's kind of irreplaceable.

0:24:480:24:51

It had lots and lots of students' work on from over the years,

0:24:510:24:54

lots of work on there that showed students this is a top piece.

0:24:540:24:58

That was hours and hours of precious work that's been taken away.

0:24:590:25:03

Really, really angry and frustrated and upset that that had gone.

0:25:040:25:08

Two of Laura's pupils, Tanisha and Faith,

0:25:090:25:12

also feel distraught when they hear what's happened.

0:25:120:25:15

Obviously everyone in the class was devastated because that had

0:25:150:25:19

all the GCSE footage on there

0:25:190:25:22

that we needed to watch to be able to see

0:25:220:25:25

what they would like us to perform.

0:25:250:25:28

When I first heard about the break-in,

0:25:280:25:30

I felt a bit uneasy because I thought,

0:25:300:25:32

that's someone in our private space and space they shouldn't be in.

0:25:320:25:36

Nigel is particularly angered by the thefts.

0:25:360:25:39

It felt personal to me because it's my job.

0:25:390:25:42

The head and the governors trusted me to do the security of the school.

0:25:420:25:46

I failed.

0:25:460:25:48

So, for me, at that point, it does become very much,

0:25:480:25:51

"OK, we are going to get you,

0:25:510:25:53

"we're going to find as much footage as we can."

0:25:530:25:56

Though Nigel's concerned the man's not been caught,

0:25:560:25:59

he takes comfort that at least

0:25:590:26:00

the state-of-the-art cameras they recently installed

0:26:000:26:03

are proving their worth.

0:26:030:26:05

The CCTV system we have allows us to take a very nice, clear visual of him.

0:26:050:26:09

Once we hand this over to the police,

0:26:090:26:11

it's quite clear that someone will recognise him

0:26:110:26:14

somewhere at some point.

0:26:140:26:16

The thief's image is shared around all of the police stations in Hampshire.

0:26:170:26:22

Soon after, officers spot a man acting suspiciously

0:26:220:26:25

at a train station.

0:26:250:26:26

They asked him to open up his rucksack and, as far as I'm aware,

0:26:280:26:31

in his rucksack was equipment, some chisels, some hammers etc.

0:26:310:26:36

They then arrested him,

0:26:360:26:38

took him to the nearest police station they could take him,

0:26:380:26:41

which is Portsmouth.

0:26:410:26:42

When he got into Portsmouth,

0:26:420:26:43

it was then recognised that he was the one who had been wanted

0:26:430:26:46

for two counts at this school.

0:26:460:26:49

So, for us it was very pleasing.

0:26:490:26:51

The man had already received a suspended sentence

0:26:520:26:55

for theft and burglary in the past,

0:26:550:26:57

so the authorities took a rather dim view of his stealing

0:26:570:27:00

from a school while he was out on licence.

0:27:000:27:03

In court, after pleading guilty to burglary,

0:27:060:27:09

the man was sentenced to 25 months in prison.

0:27:090:27:12

The thief's capture and detention is a relief for all at the school.

0:27:170:27:21

The grounds have been made safer by employing two security guards

0:27:210:27:24

to patrol the site out of hours,

0:27:240:27:27

and automatic timer locks and alarms

0:27:270:27:30

have been added to many of the doors.

0:27:300:27:33

I feel better now and safer now.

0:27:330:27:35

I think, as a school, we've really come together

0:27:350:27:37

to make sure that we have those security operations in place.

0:27:370:27:40

Despite the loss of her dancing video demonstrations,

0:27:400:27:44

Laura is determined that the show must go on

0:27:440:27:47

for pupils like Tanisha and Faith.

0:27:470:27:50

The school helped get other videos

0:27:500:27:52

so we could see all the dances on there,

0:27:520:27:55

and it did really help us.

0:27:550:27:56

So we had them.

0:27:560:27:59

Everyone here is so lovely and kind and caring

0:27:590:28:02

and the teachers are just amazing.

0:28:020:28:04

They always encourage you to do your best

0:28:040:28:07

and I'm really glad that I go to this school.

0:28:070:28:09

Continue the line, bring the arms back.

0:28:090:28:12

That's all we have time for today.

0:28:170:28:18

An increasing number of criminals

0:28:180:28:20

are being captured on camera every year.

0:28:200:28:23

Join us next time to see more villains

0:28:230:28:25

who've been Caught Red Handed.

0:28:250:28:27

A sinister visitor in a school hall is up to no good, a Chinese restaurant plays host to a late-night intruder, and a mobile phone thief makes a schoolboy error that leads to his downfall.


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