Episode 4 Caught Red Handed


Episode 4

Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. A martial arts expert rescues a cop who is struggling with a suspected cycle thief in the middle of a road.


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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.

-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 with their

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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 crooks

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get their comeuppance.

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It makes me feel so angry.

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He's paid the price, he's being 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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Police officer Rich Farah bravely struggles with

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a suspected bike thief, and ends up inches from speeding traffic.

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There was cars passing, taxis passing,

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and I was concerned that I was going to get run over.

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Passing by is Andy, a martial arts expert,

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who pitches in to help the policeman.

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I decided, someone's going to get hurt here.

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Someone needs to take control.

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And eagle-eyed CCTV operator Colin spots something chilling.

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We always keep the camera on until the very last minute.

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Cos you do not know what will happen.

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Also today...

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shop owners Martin and Betty can't believe their eyes

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when they see what's been going on behind their backs.

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It's like the bottom of our world dropped out.

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My legs went to jelly, I felt faint.

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I was in a complete state of utter shock.

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And we meet a Grinch who goes to great lengths to steal Christmas.

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Well, at least the tree.

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There are around five million CCTV cameras in this country,

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which help combat crime.

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Some of them are manned 24 hours a day.

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York used to be protected by its ancient city walls.

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But these days it's guarded by

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an extensive network of council cameras,

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with ever-watchful controllers like Colin on constant sentry duty.

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I enjoy the CCTV work, purely because every day is different.

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I've been doing the job now nearly three years, I'm still learning.

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You tend to notice more with body language.

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Obviously, with CCTV, you only see what's occurring,

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you don't actually hear.

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You know when things aren't right,

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you tend to be able to spot them, but it's still a learning curve.

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PC Rich Farah patrols the streets monitored by Colin and his team.

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Rich is York, born and bred.

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From a young age, I've always wanted to be a police officer.

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My father's a retired police officer. Did 30 years, here in York.

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Also got a brother working for North Yorkshire police,

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so it's a bit of a family tradition.

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Currently, I work on the safer neighbourhood team,

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where I work alongside the community.

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PC Rich and camera operator Colin know the importance

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of working as a team.

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Ever since one night when Colin was on the cameras

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and Rich's life was on the line.

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It's a Saturday evening in York city centre.

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In the CCTV unit, Colin receives a call from a pub doorman,

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telling him a man is behaving suspiciously near a bike rank.

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He swings his cameras round to find the suspect.

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He was taking a unhealthy interest in the wheel sprocket.

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I believed he was looking for what's called quick-release wheels,

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things that he could easily steal and transport.

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Modern bikes can cost thousands of pounds.

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Sometimes, even a single wheel can be worth £500.

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There's big money to be made on the black market.

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He was on a cycle himself.

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If he was able to get a wheel, he could take it off,

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cycle away, and no-one would be the wiser.

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Colin radios the police and links them into his CCTV footage.

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'Good evening, are you able to have a nosey at this lad?

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'We've currently got him on camera, he's looking at all the bikes.'

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He looked like a cyclist, but his actions told a different story.

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PC Rich is on patrol nearby, and goes to investigate.

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As I went through the lights, turned the corner into Exhibition Square,

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that's when I saw this male who was cycling away from the bike racks,

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and he fitted the description.

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As a man rides off, Colin keeps track of him on the cameras.

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Rich has to stop him quickly.

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In a city centre full of narrow alleyways,

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a suspect on a bike can easily outrun a police car.

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I spun my car around, stopped in front of him to prevent his escape.

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At that time, I believed the bike that he was on

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was a stolen pedal bike.

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The timing was excellent.

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Literally as the male went to cycle off across a crossing,

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the police car actually turned up.

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The male nearly rode into it, it was that close.

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Rich needs to get the suspect off his bike and into a position where

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he can control the situation.

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I directed him to stand to one side by the bar walls,

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and I put the bike to one side.

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And that would prevent his options of escape if he wanted to run away.

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The man's behaviour is highly suspicious.

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He became more and more fidgety, stepping from foot to foot,

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and they were all the signs that he didn't want to be there.

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He got more and more anty, more and more anty as I searched him.

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The suspect is so nervous, Rich thinks he might be hiding something.

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I then move around to the side of him

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so I can search the back of his body.

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At that point, that's when all hell broke loose.

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The man tries to run, but Rich is having none of it.

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He escapes Rich's grasp, and gets to the middle of a road

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before being tackled to the ground again.

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It's one of York's busiest road junctions.

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Cars narrowly miss them.

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In the camera control unit,

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Colin alerts the police station to send for backup.

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'Every unit to Exhibition Square, please.'

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I recall a lot of my personal protective equipment

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falling from my utility vest.

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I can remember something metal falling to the ground,

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and I thought that was my police baton.

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The suspect continues to resist arrest.

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Rich needs help,

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and he's going to need it before police backup can arrive.

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Later...

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a martial arts expert turned Good Samaritan.

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He started losing grip on the guy,

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there were cars swerving round them,

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so I just threw the car door open,

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run across and grabbed the guy from behind.

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And for Rich, there's a shock to come when the security cameras

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reveal something even more sinister.

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I was picking up my personal equipment from the floor,

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and I thought, "Oh, my God, there's butchers knife."

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Also coming up...

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..the newsagents who are convinced their employee and friend

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is stealing from them. But they need to prove it.

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She knew we were going under, and she still played the innocent card.

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They say at Christmas it's better to give than to receive.

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But for this crook in Canterbury, it's more about taking than giving.

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T'was the night before Christmas,

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and all through the warehouse, not a creature stirred.

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Apart from this burglar, breaking into the office, that is.

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Now, not everybody enters into the Christmas spirit,

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but this guy takes the biscuit.

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As he goes round looking to fill his stocking - well, backpack -

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with somebody else's money.

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Using a crowbar to open a locked filing cabinet,

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he soon finds what he's looking for in a drawer - thousands of pounds.

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The building he's in is the local fruit and veg wholesaler,

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and one of the reasons so much money has been left on-site is that

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the boss was preparing to give staff their Christmas bonus.

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Which this fella is now pocketing instead.

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Bah, humbug.

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But, as Santa's Little Help-Yourselfer goes about

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his Christmas cash-and-carry,

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he doesn't realise his face is being recorded on a hidden camera.

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The footage is a Christmas present for Kent Police,

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as some body recognises the thief.

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A repeat offender, he's arrested,

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convicted and sent to jail for six years.

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That's six Christmases inside.

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Happy New Year(!)

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Our local newsagents are often up before the sparrows

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and still open long after we've gone to bed.

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They work hard for their money,

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so it can be a bitter blow when some of that money goes missing.

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A once booming business facing a financial crisis...

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I was ploughing money into a sinking ship.

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..a couple at the end of their tether...

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Martin almost collapsed one day with the strain of it all.

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..and the camera footage that shook their faith in the world.

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I felt faint.

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I was in a complete state of utter shock.

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Swanage, on the Dorset coast, is known for its sand,

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sea and - occasionally - its sunshine.

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That's what attracted local newsagents Martin and Betty

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here in the early 1990s.

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Originally, they ran a boat business, and then a few years ago,

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they though they'd try something new, and bought the newsagents shop.

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It's a lovely place to live, it's got a nice little buzz.

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There's people, all walks of life.

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Lovely for summer holidays, for young kids, camping.

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It suits everyone, it's a lovely area and very quaint.

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In 2008, with their children going to university, the couple

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decided to look for a new business

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to help them fund their kids' studies.

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We always used to come into this shop, and dare I say it, we

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used to think, that's a little gold mine, we wouldn't mind buying that.

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Everyone knows it in Swanage as Jenkins, it's like a landmark.

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So when it came up for sale, we thought we'd give it a go.

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They borrowed from the bank,

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bought the shop and hired someone they trusted to be the manager.

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We employed a local woman that we both knew,

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we knew her family and her husband. She was very good at her job.

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We'd built the business up, we stayed open later than the

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previous people that owned the shop, and it was good.

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It was a lovely working atmosphere and that,

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and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

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But that enjoyment was to prove short-lived.

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The couple noticed their profits begin to drop.

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In the first year, we were quite pleased,

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considering we were novices at the business.

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Profits were up, the accountant was very pleased.

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Second year, they dwindled a little bit.

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But then there was a little bit of recession at that time, we thought,

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there's a lot of online deliveries now, coming through in the area.

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And it just went down...

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The best way to say it is on a downward spiral.

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The worry takes its toll on Martin and Betty.

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For us as a family, it was extremely stressful.

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Obviously, we've done this to better our lives,

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and to try and earn some money.

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It put so much strain on us both.

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By buying the shop, I was thinking my mind it was the worst thing

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I've ever done in my life.

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We had to borrow £25,000 off a friend just to buy stock.

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We had to use our credit cards to buy stock.

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I was ploughing money into a sinking ship.

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I just kind of hated myself.

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Martin almost collapsed one day with the strain of it all,

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because it was just too much.

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Desperately short of cash, the couple are forced to rent out

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their family home and move into a small flat above the shop.

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Their accountant, who's trying to help them save the business,

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comes up with a theory for their financial crisis.

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"I hate to say it", he said, "but have you got anyone stealing?"

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I thought, "That can't be."

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You might think someone would steal a bar of chocolate or

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a packet of crisps, but not to that extent.

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But they have to think the unthinkable.

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Their business is losing money fast.

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Betty starts investigating, and soon spots something suspicious.

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I was in the back office one day,

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and I saw the manageress' handbag, and it was open at the top.

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She saw in her handbag a packet of cigarettes.

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These cigarettes, they were a limited edition,

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they hadn't been out very long.

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And our supplier had given us some to try and see if they sold.

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So I went to the till, and I checked all my sales from that morning,

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that she'd been on that shift

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and that brand had not been sold.

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So then, obviously, alarm bells start ringing.

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So she had a look a little bit more.

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I checked another brand of cigarettes that I knew she smoked,

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and there was three boxes of 20 cigarettes missing.

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But the manageress has been a friend of the family for a long while.

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Surely she can't be stealing from them?

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Betty waits for the woman to finish her shift.

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Then, together with Martin,

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she checks out the shop's CCTV from that morning.

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It's the first time they've viewed

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the security camera footage for years.

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We discovered the continuous stealing from the till.

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Terrible.

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The camera doesn't lie.

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The manageress can be clearly seen taking money from the till

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and sneaking it into her handbag under the counter.

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We were absolutely...

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I don't know, it's like the bottom of our world dropped out.

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My legs went to jelly.

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I felt faint.

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I felt sick.

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I was in a complete state of utter shock.

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But their investigation is only just beginning.

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They look at security camera footage from previous days.

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The more we watched, the more we just couldn't believe it.

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It seemed like every customer, or every second customer coming in,

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she was either pocketing the money or stealing products.

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It was terrible.

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The recordings make for grim viewing.

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Their supposed friend is clearly nothing of the sort.

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She knew that we were going under.

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She knew, we told her, and she still played the innocent card.

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And the betrayal, we will never recover from the betrayal.

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Now Betty and Martin must consider their next move.

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After a sleepless night, they decide to get more proof.

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We came through the shop,

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and she was a bit surprised to see us in the shop so early,

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and we walked through to the back office,

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and I kept the door closed, and we did look in her handbag.

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We found a little stealing bag, it was crammed full of £20 notes.

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I took photographs of it.

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And later on in the day, we looked on the CCTV again,

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and we could see that she'd actually stolen that money out of the

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safe in the morning, and put that into her handbag.

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When we were watching the footage,

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my wife, she was actually physically sick.

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They called the police.

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When we explained what had happened,

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we were told to secure the CCTV footage immediately.

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They sent a CID officer down, he saw a few clips, and then

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he decided with the sergeant to go and raid her flat that night.

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The woman is arrested and charged with theft.

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In court, the woman was found guilty of the theft of cash and

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goods worth more than £12,500.

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She was sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended for a year,

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and given a community order to do 130 hours unpaid work.

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She was also put under curfew for three months with an electronic tag.

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Martin and Betty now have staff they can trust.

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And their business is back on track.

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Things are so different now.

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The profit margin has gone up to nearly 27%,

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which is very good for a little convenience store.

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So we are on the up.

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We've got money now,

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although we have these debts that we have to pay,

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we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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It's hard enough making a small business pay

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without somebody helping themselves to your takings.

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So what can business owners do to guard themselves from pilfering?

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Your business is often your livelihood.

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You could've invested your life savings into this.

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So don't be afraid to be suspicious of your employees.

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And if you've got security, like CCTV,

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that you can use to your advantage, then do so, check,

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if you've got a suspicion around a particular staff member,

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check the CCTV when they've been on duty.

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That way, you can either eliminate them,

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or you've obviously then found your suspect, so you can call the police.

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It's not about not trusting your staff, but being in a position

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where, if something does happen, something does get taken,

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that you have those processes in place

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to be able to provide the evidence.

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Because without it, you're going to be on the back foot.

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My advice would be to contact your local police station,

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where crime prevention officers could come out,

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complete a survey of the business,

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internally and externally, and offer crime prevention advice.

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And that might be installing CCTV,

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some signage, better locks, security, bars on windows.

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There's whole host of things out there,

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but certainly, I would ask the police for some advice.

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Earlier, we saw how the cameras had caught one Christmas criminal.

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But we've also come across another star of Christmas CCTV,

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who clearly doesn't believe in goodwill to all men.

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Shopkeepers expect the festive season to be stressful,

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but they wouldn't expect to face

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a drive-by looting of their Christmas trees.

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And that's what this thief is banking on.

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A Christmas tree for free.

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Like a commando raid, he's in and out before anyone notices.

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Here it is again, in slow motion.

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Boot open, and out he pops, like a jack-in-the-box.

0:19:380:19:41

Over to the tree display, picks his favourite,

0:19:440:19:47

but will it fit in the car?

0:19:470:19:50

Course it will!

0:19:500:19:52

This operation has been planned with military precision.

0:19:520:19:55

Except for one thing, that is.

0:19:550:19:57

He's cunningly wearing a hoodie to cover his face -

0:19:590:20:02

but he's stupidly forgotten to cover his car number plate.

0:20:020:20:06

So this festive felon is heading for a Christmas visit -

0:20:060:20:09

not from Santa... CELL DOOR SLAMS SHUT

0:20:090:20:12

..but the police.

0:20:120:20:14

Back now to York city centre...

0:20:220:20:24

..where after stopping a suspected bike thief, PC Rich Farah

0:20:260:20:29

is facing a dangerous struggle in the middle of a busy road.

0:20:290:20:33

The whole incident is being monitored by Colin -

0:20:340:20:37

a sharp-eyed city camera operator.

0:20:370:20:39

Police backup is on the way, but Rich is in need of help right now.

0:20:390:20:44

And he's about to get a lucky break.

0:20:440:20:46

Passing by in a taxi is a martial arts expert called Andy,

0:20:480:20:51

who's on his way to A&E with a painful rib injury.

0:20:510:20:55

We were just sat in the taxi, minding our own business,

0:20:550:20:58

on the way to hospital.

0:20:580:20:59

Not actually knowing what was about to unfold in front of us.

0:20:590:21:03

Andy spots PC Rich Farah struggling to restrain the suspect.

0:21:030:21:07

I had no idea who the guy was,

0:21:070:21:09

I had no idea why he was being arrested,

0:21:090:21:12

or why he'd made a bid for freedom.

0:21:120:21:16

Rich and the suspect are in real danger.

0:21:170:21:20

There was cars passing, taxis passing, and I was concerned,

0:21:200:21:23

not just because of the male struggling violently with me,

0:21:230:21:27

that I was going to get run over.

0:21:270:21:29

Cameras, city centre.

0:21:290:21:30

Colin is relaying the live camera images to police control.

0:21:300:21:34

And recording the incident for evidence.

0:21:340:21:38

When you're watching something like that,

0:21:380:21:40

and the incident's escalating, you're powerless to do anything.

0:21:400:21:43

You know police backup's on the way, which is a relief.

0:21:430:21:47

You're quietly cheering on the police officer, shouting at

0:21:470:21:49

the monitors as, hopefully, this thing's going to end well.

0:21:490:21:52

It was violent, he was shouting and screaming.

0:21:520:21:56

He was strong, he was trying to get his feet. He was kicking out.

0:21:560:21:59

I still didn't know if he had anything on him.

0:21:590:22:03

What went through my mind mainly was the fact

0:22:030:22:05

that nobody was stopping to help.

0:22:050:22:06

They were in a box junction, and there were vehicles either stopped,

0:22:060:22:10

just waiting for things to develop, or driving round the officer.

0:22:100:22:15

But martial arts expert Andy feels he can't just sit in

0:22:150:22:18

the taxi watching what's happening.

0:22:180:22:20

Despite his painful rib injury, he intervenes.

0:22:200:22:24

I decided, somebody's going to get hurt here.

0:22:240:22:28

Some needs to take control, or at least help the guy out.

0:22:280:22:31

They were going to get run over.

0:22:310:22:33

That's when I threw the car door open,

0:22:330:22:35

run across and grabbed the guy from behind.

0:22:350:22:37

I was wrestling with this male on the ground.

0:22:410:22:43

This other person joined me.

0:22:430:22:46

I wasn't sure if he was another offender,

0:22:460:22:49

if he was a member of the public,

0:22:490:22:50

if it was an off-duty police officer,

0:22:500:22:52

if it was an on-duty police officer -

0:22:520:22:55

I had something else to contend with.

0:22:550:22:57

The person introduced himself and asked me if I needed any assistance.

0:22:570:23:03

I said, "Yes, please, assist me."

0:23:030:23:07

Andy warns the suspect, if he keeps fighting them,

0:23:070:23:10

he will have to use his martial arts on him.

0:23:100:23:12

You then think he'd realise that things weren't going quite his way.

0:23:120:23:17

And he started to struggle and kick and try and escape.

0:23:170:23:21

Because the suspect refuses to submit, Andy puts his

0:23:210:23:24

training to work and overpowers him with a martial arts hold.

0:23:240:23:28

I tightened my grip for only a second,

0:23:300:23:32

it did make him unconscious, but only for a second or so.

0:23:320:23:36

The suspect is subdued.

0:23:360:23:38

Minutes later, the police backup arrives, and Rich makes his arrest.

0:23:380:23:42

When the cuffs finally went on the male,

0:23:440:23:46

and it was obvious he was detained, he couldn't get away,

0:23:460:23:50

there was both relief that the situation had come to a close.

0:23:500:23:53

The satisfaction that the police have got their man.

0:23:530:23:56

But Colin's CCTV skills are about to be needed again.

0:23:560:24:00

The police backup arrives,

0:24:010:24:03

the male goes into the back of the police van.

0:24:030:24:05

I put the cameras back into their home positions, everything's calm.

0:24:050:24:09

I'm getting ready to download the footage,

0:24:090:24:12

because I knew the police would want a copy of this.

0:24:120:24:14

And then the officer radios up, saying,

0:24:140:24:16

"Can you put the camera on me?"

0:24:160:24:17

I went back where we initially had the struggle, where the bicycle was.

0:24:170:24:21

I was picking up my personal equipment from the floor,

0:24:210:24:24

and I thought, "Oh, my God,

0:24:240:24:25

"there's a butchers knife laying next to my equipment

0:24:250:24:28

"in the gutter."

0:24:280:24:29

The 12-inch knife could belong to the suspect,

0:24:300:24:33

which would escalate the charges against him.

0:24:330:24:35

But Rich needs proof, and that's where Colin comes in again.

0:24:350:24:40

After the police officer bent down and picked this knife up,

0:24:400:24:43

it was like, where's that come from?

0:24:430:24:45

So I reviewed the footage, and, at the very start of it,

0:24:450:24:49

when the male first goes down on the floor,

0:24:490:24:53

if you look carefully, you can actually see the knife

0:24:530:24:55

fall out the back of this male's trousers.

0:24:550:24:57

So it was rather shocking that it was actually there.

0:24:570:25:00

You can quite clearly see this large knife

0:25:050:25:08

sticking out the back of his trousers.

0:25:080:25:10

It's not bolt croppers,

0:25:100:25:12

that I thought he had on his person when I was searching him for

0:25:120:25:15

items that we used to steal this bike or any other bike.

0:25:150:25:18

I thought, flipping heck, this could have ended

0:25:180:25:21

so much differently had it not ejected from his clothing.

0:25:210:25:25

The news comes as a shock to Andy too.

0:25:250:25:28

My first thought was, where was it when I actually had hold of him,

0:25:280:25:32

when they said the guy had a 12-inch kitchen knife.

0:25:320:25:35

I can understand why people don't get involved,

0:25:350:25:37

it's not always what you see at that moment, it's the whole, big picture.

0:25:370:25:41

Once that all comes into play, you realise things could've got

0:25:410:25:44

a whole lot worse for everybody involved.

0:25:440:25:47

York isn't the crime capital of the north,

0:25:470:25:49

we don't have a weapons culture here.

0:25:490:25:53

And to see something like that on a Saturday afternoon did come

0:25:530:25:57

as quite a surprise and a bit of a shock, really.

0:25:570:25:59

Colin's footage proves the suspect is guilty of carrying a blade.

0:25:590:26:04

The offender could quite easily have denied any knowledge of this knife,

0:26:040:26:08

that it wasn't his, it didn't belong to him.

0:26:080:26:10

But the CCTV quite clearly shows that this butchers knife was

0:26:120:26:17

not just on him, but it was secreted down the back of his trousers.

0:26:170:26:21

York CCTV operations manager, Christian Wood,

0:26:210:26:25

often provides crucial footage like this

0:26:250:26:27

to the Crown Prosecution Service.

0:26:270:26:30

One of the benefits of CCTV

0:26:300:26:31

is that it can help prevent long court cases.

0:26:310:26:33

If you have footage of the actual incident,

0:26:330:26:36

quite often defendants will see that and just plead guilty straightaway.

0:26:360:26:40

And in court, the suspect did plead guilty to resisting arrest

0:26:420:26:46

and carrying the knife.

0:26:460:26:47

He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

0:26:470:26:50

News of the incident reached Andy's loved ones,

0:26:540:26:57

and he got mixed feedback about putting his own life in danger.

0:26:570:27:02

The reaction from friends and family was mostly positive.

0:27:020:27:05

Some said, I wouldn't have got involved.

0:27:050:27:07

Others were like, you did what he had to do,

0:27:070:27:09

and you knew what you was going to do, and everything was fine.

0:27:090:27:14

So, yeah, it's been pretty positive.

0:27:140:27:16

I don't think it's brave or naive,

0:27:160:27:18

I think I just did what I did without even thinking about it.

0:27:180:27:22

It was just a situation unfolding in front of us,

0:27:220:27:24

and we helped the guy take control.

0:27:240:27:26

It was just right place, right time.

0:27:260:27:29

But Rich thinks Andy may well have saved his life.

0:27:290:27:33

Thank you to Andy for stepping in and coming to my assistance.

0:27:330:27:37

He could quite easily have stayed in the taxi that he was in.

0:27:370:27:41

He could have gone on his way.

0:27:410:27:42

But if it wasn't for Andy's assistance,

0:27:420:27:45

this incident could've ended so much differently.

0:27:450:27:48

That's all we have time for today.

0:27:530:27:55

An increasing number of criminals

0:27:550:27:57

are being captured on camera every year.

0:27:570:27:59

Join us next time to see more villains

0:27:590:28:01

who've been Caught Red Handed.

0:28:010:28:03

A martial arts expert rescues a cop who is struggling with a suspected cycle thief in the middle of a busy road junction, and a thief tries to rob a warehouse at Christmas but ends up leaving a present for the police.


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