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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Thieves will steal our cash, our cars, our valuables -
just about anything they can get their hands on.
But now the police are using cutting-edge technology
to catch the bad guys.
-CCTV is gold dust.
-Great evidence for the police.
Got to have him stopped.
Local councils, shops and businesses are fighting crime with their
own tricks and traps.
There's a eureka moment when you get that evidence.
And the public are using secret cameras to make sure crooks
get their comeuppance.
It makes me feel so angry.
He's paid the price, he's being dealt with.
Yes! We've got her.
So anyone who's up to no good had better think twice.
They might just get Caught Red Handed.
Police officer Rich Farah bravely struggles with
a suspected bike thief, and ends up inches from speeding traffic.
There was cars passing, taxis passing,
and I was concerned that I was going to get run over.
Passing by is Andy, a martial arts expert,
who pitches in to help the policeman.
I decided, someone's going to get hurt here.
Someone needs to take control.
And eagle-eyed CCTV operator Colin spots something chilling.
We always keep the camera on until the very last minute.
Cos you do not know what will happen.
shop owners Martin and Betty can't believe their eyes
when they see what's been going on behind their backs.
It's like the bottom of our world dropped out.
My legs went to jelly, I felt faint.
I was in a complete state of utter shock.
And we meet a Grinch who goes to great lengths to steal Christmas.
Well, at least the tree.
There are around five million CCTV cameras in this country,
which help combat crime.
Some of them are manned 24 hours a day.
York used to be protected by its ancient city walls.
But these days it's guarded by
an extensive network of council cameras,
with ever-watchful controllers like Colin on constant sentry duty.
I enjoy the CCTV work, purely because every day is different.
I've been doing the job now nearly three years, I'm still learning.
You tend to notice more with body language.
Obviously, with CCTV, you only see what's occurring,
you don't actually hear.
You know when things aren't right,
you tend to be able to spot them, but it's still a learning curve.
PC Rich Farah patrols the streets monitored by Colin and his team.
Rich is York, born and bred.
From a young age, I've always wanted to be a police officer.
My father's a retired police officer. Did 30 years, here in York.
Also got a brother working for North Yorkshire police,
so it's a bit of a family tradition.
Currently, I work on the safer neighbourhood team,
where I work alongside the community.
PC Rich and camera operator Colin know the importance
of working as a team.
Ever since one night when Colin was on the cameras
and Rich's life was on the line.
It's a Saturday evening in York city centre.
In the CCTV unit, Colin receives a call from a pub doorman,
telling him a man is behaving suspiciously near a bike rank.
He swings his cameras round to find the suspect.
He was taking a unhealthy interest in the wheel sprocket.
I believed he was looking for what's called quick-release wheels,
things that he could easily steal and transport.
Modern bikes can cost thousands of pounds.
Sometimes, even a single wheel can be worth £500.
There's big money to be made on the black market.
He was on a cycle himself.
If he was able to get a wheel, he could take it off,
cycle away, and no-one would be the wiser.
Colin radios the police and links them into his CCTV footage.
'Good evening, are you able to have a nosey at this lad?
'We've currently got him on camera, he's looking at all the bikes.'
He looked like a cyclist, but his actions told a different story.
PC Rich is on patrol nearby, and goes to investigate.
As I went through the lights, turned the corner into Exhibition Square,
that's when I saw this male who was cycling away from the bike racks,
and he fitted the description.
As a man rides off, Colin keeps track of him on the cameras.
Rich has to stop him quickly.
In a city centre full of narrow alleyways,
a suspect on a bike can easily outrun a police car.
I spun my car around, stopped in front of him to prevent his escape.
At that time, I believed the bike that he was on
was a stolen pedal bike.
The timing was excellent.
Literally as the male went to cycle off across a crossing,
the police car actually turned up.
The male nearly rode into it, it was that close.
Rich needs to get the suspect off his bike and into a position where
he can control the situation.
I directed him to stand to one side by the bar walls,
and I put the bike to one side.
And that would prevent his options of escape if he wanted to run away.
The man's behaviour is highly suspicious.
He became more and more fidgety, stepping from foot to foot,
and they were all the signs that he didn't want to be there.
He got more and more anty, more and more anty as I searched him.
The suspect is so nervous, Rich thinks he might be hiding something.
I then move around to the side of him
so I can search the back of his body.
At that point, that's when all hell broke loose.
The man tries to run, but Rich is having none of it.
He escapes Rich's grasp, and gets to the middle of a road
before being tackled to the ground again.
It's one of York's busiest road junctions.
Cars narrowly miss them.
In the camera control unit,
Colin alerts the police station to send for backup.
'Every unit to Exhibition Square, please.'
I recall a lot of my personal protective equipment
falling from my utility vest.
I can remember something metal falling to the ground,
and I thought that was my police baton.
The suspect continues to resist arrest.
Rich needs help,
and he's going to need it before police backup can arrive.
a martial arts expert turned Good Samaritan.
He started losing grip on the guy,
there were cars swerving round them,
so I just threw the car door open,
run across and grabbed the guy from behind.
And for Rich, there's a shock to come when the security cameras
reveal something even more sinister.
I was picking up my personal equipment from the floor,
and I thought, "Oh, my God, there's butchers knife."
Also coming up...
..the newsagents who are convinced their employee and friend
is stealing from them. But they need to prove it.
She knew we were going under, and she still played the innocent card.
They say at Christmas it's better to give than to receive.
But for this crook in Canterbury, it's more about taking than giving.
T'was the night before Christmas,
and all through the warehouse, not a creature stirred.
Apart from this burglar, breaking into the office, that is.
Now, not everybody enters into the Christmas spirit,
but this guy takes the biscuit.
As he goes round looking to fill his stocking - well, backpack -
with somebody else's money.
Using a crowbar to open a locked filing cabinet,
he soon finds what he's looking for in a drawer - thousands of pounds.
The building he's in is the local fruit and veg wholesaler,
and one of the reasons so much money has been left on-site is that
the boss was preparing to give staff their Christmas bonus.
Which this fella is now pocketing instead.
But, as Santa's Little Help-Yourselfer goes about
his Christmas cash-and-carry,
he doesn't realise his face is being recorded on a hidden camera.
The footage is a Christmas present for Kent Police,
as some body recognises the thief.
A repeat offender, he's arrested,
convicted and sent to jail for six years.
That's six Christmases inside.
Happy New Year(!)
Our local newsagents are often up before the sparrows
and still open long after we've gone to bed.
They work hard for their money,
so it can be a bitter blow when some of that money goes missing.
A once booming business facing a financial crisis...
I was ploughing money into a sinking ship.
..a couple at the end of their tether...
Martin almost collapsed one day with the strain of it all.
..and the camera footage that shook their faith in the world.
I felt faint.
I was in a complete state of utter shock.
Swanage, on the Dorset coast, is known for its sand,
sea and - occasionally - its sunshine.
That's what attracted local newsagents Martin and Betty
here in the early 1990s.
Originally, they ran a boat business, and then a few years ago,
they though they'd try something new, and bought the newsagents shop.
It's a lovely place to live, it's got a nice little buzz.
There's people, all walks of life.
Lovely for summer holidays, for young kids, camping.
It suits everyone, it's a lovely area and very quaint.
In 2008, with their children going to university, the couple
decided to look for a new business
to help them fund their kids' studies.
We always used to come into this shop, and dare I say it, we
used to think, that's a little gold mine, we wouldn't mind buying that.
Everyone knows it in Swanage as Jenkins, it's like a landmark.
So when it came up for sale, we thought we'd give it a go.
They borrowed from the bank,
bought the shop and hired someone they trusted to be the manager.
We employed a local woman that we both knew,
we knew her family and her husband. She was very good at her job.
We'd built the business up, we stayed open later than the
previous people that owned the shop, and it was good.
It was a lovely working atmosphere and that,
and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
But that enjoyment was to prove short-lived.
The couple noticed their profits begin to drop.
In the first year, we were quite pleased,
considering we were novices at the business.
Profits were up, the accountant was very pleased.
Second year, they dwindled a little bit.
But then there was a little bit of recession at that time, we thought,
there's a lot of online deliveries now, coming through in the area.
And it just went down...
The best way to say it is on a downward spiral.
The worry takes its toll on Martin and Betty.
For us as a family, it was extremely stressful.
Obviously, we've done this to better our lives,
and to try and earn some money.
It put so much strain on us both.
By buying the shop, I was thinking my mind it was the worst thing
I've ever done in my life.
We had to borrow £25,000 off a friend just to buy stock.
We had to use our credit cards to buy stock.
I was ploughing money into a sinking ship.
I just kind of hated myself.
Martin almost collapsed one day with the strain of it all,
because it was just too much.
Desperately short of cash, the couple are forced to rent out
their family home and move into a small flat above the shop.
Their accountant, who's trying to help them save the business,
comes up with a theory for their financial crisis.
"I hate to say it", he said, "but have you got anyone stealing?"
I thought, "That can't be."
You might think someone would steal a bar of chocolate or
a packet of crisps, but not to that extent.
But they have to think the unthinkable.
Their business is losing money fast.
Betty starts investigating, and soon spots something suspicious.
I was in the back office one day,
and I saw the manageress' handbag, and it was open at the top.
She saw in her handbag a packet of cigarettes.
These cigarettes, they were a limited edition,
they hadn't been out very long.
And our supplier had given us some to try and see if they sold.
So I went to the till, and I checked all my sales from that morning,
that she'd been on that shift
and that brand had not been sold.
So then, obviously, alarm bells start ringing.
So she had a look a little bit more.
I checked another brand of cigarettes that I knew she smoked,
and there was three boxes of 20 cigarettes missing.
But the manageress has been a friend of the family for a long while.
Surely she can't be stealing from them?
Betty waits for the woman to finish her shift.
Then, together with Martin,
she checks out the shop's CCTV from that morning.
It's the first time they've viewed
the security camera footage for years.
We discovered the continuous stealing from the till.
The camera doesn't lie.
The manageress can be clearly seen taking money from the till
and sneaking it into her handbag under the counter.
We were absolutely...
I don't know, it's like the bottom of our world dropped out.
My legs went to jelly.
I felt faint.
I felt sick.
I was in a complete state of utter shock.
But their investigation is only just beginning.
They look at security camera footage from previous days.
The more we watched, the more we just couldn't believe it.
It seemed like every customer, or every second customer coming in,
she was either pocketing the money or stealing products.
It was terrible.
The recordings make for grim viewing.
Their supposed friend is clearly nothing of the sort.
She knew that we were going under.
She knew, we told her, and she still played the innocent card.
And the betrayal, we will never recover from the betrayal.
Now Betty and Martin must consider their next move.
After a sleepless night, they decide to get more proof.
We came through the shop,
and she was a bit surprised to see us in the shop so early,
and we walked through to the back office,
and I kept the door closed, and we did look in her handbag.
We found a little stealing bag, it was crammed full of £20 notes.
I took photographs of it.
And later on in the day, we looked on the CCTV again,
and we could see that she'd actually stolen that money out of the
safe in the morning, and put that into her handbag.
When we were watching the footage,
my wife, she was actually physically sick.
They called the police.
When we explained what had happened,
we were told to secure the CCTV footage immediately.
They sent a CID officer down, he saw a few clips, and then
he decided with the sergeant to go and raid her flat that night.
The woman is arrested and charged with theft.
In court, the woman was found guilty of the theft of cash and
goods worth more than £12,500.
She was sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended for a year,
and given a community order to do 130 hours unpaid work.
She was also put under curfew for three months with an electronic tag.
Martin and Betty now have staff they can trust.
And their business is back on track.
Things are so different now.
The profit margin has gone up to nearly 27%,
which is very good for a little convenience store.
So we are on the up.
We've got money now,
although we have these debts that we have to pay,
we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It's hard enough making a small business pay
without somebody helping themselves to your takings.
So what can business owners do to guard themselves from pilfering?
Your business is often your livelihood.
You could've invested your life savings into this.
So don't be afraid to be suspicious of your employees.
And if you've got security, like CCTV,
that you can use to your advantage, then do so, check,
if you've got a suspicion around a particular staff member,
check the CCTV when they've been on duty.
That way, you can either eliminate them,
or you've obviously then found your suspect, so you can call the police.
It's not about not trusting your staff, but being in a position
where, if something does happen, something does get taken,
that you have those processes in place
to be able to provide the evidence.
Because without it, you're going to be on the back foot.
My advice would be to contact your local police station,
where crime prevention officers could come out,
complete a survey of the business,
internally and externally, and offer crime prevention advice.
And that might be installing CCTV,
some signage, better locks, security, bars on windows.
There's whole host of things out there,
but certainly, I would ask the police for some advice.
Earlier, we saw how the cameras had caught one Christmas criminal.
But we've also come across another star of Christmas CCTV,
who clearly doesn't believe in goodwill to all men.
Shopkeepers expect the festive season to be stressful,
but they wouldn't expect to face
a drive-by looting of their Christmas trees.
And that's what this thief is banking on.
A Christmas tree for free.
Like a commando raid, he's in and out before anyone notices.
Here it is again, in slow motion.
Boot open, and out he pops, like a jack-in-the-box.
Over to the tree display, picks his favourite,
but will it fit in the car?
Course it will!
This operation has been planned with military precision.
Except for one thing, that is.
He's cunningly wearing a hoodie to cover his face -
but he's stupidly forgotten to cover his car number plate.
So this festive felon is heading for a Christmas visit -
not from Santa... CELL DOOR SLAMS SHUT
..but the police.
Back now to York city centre...
..where after stopping a suspected bike thief, PC Rich Farah
is facing a dangerous struggle in the middle of a busy road.
The whole incident is being monitored by Colin -
a sharp-eyed city camera operator.
Police backup is on the way, but Rich is in need of help right now.
And he's about to get a lucky break.
Passing by in a taxi is a martial arts expert called Andy,
who's on his way to A&E with a painful rib injury.
We were just sat in the taxi, minding our own business,
on the way to hospital.
Not actually knowing what was about to unfold in front of us.
Andy spots PC Rich Farah struggling to restrain the suspect.
I had no idea who the guy was,
I had no idea why he was being arrested,
or why he'd made a bid for freedom.
Rich and the suspect are in real danger.
There was cars passing, taxis passing, and I was concerned,
not just because of the male struggling violently with me,
that I was going to get run over.
Cameras, city centre.
Colin is relaying the live camera images to police control.
And recording the incident for evidence.
When you're watching something like that,
and the incident's escalating, you're powerless to do anything.
You know police backup's on the way, which is a relief.
You're quietly cheering on the police officer, shouting at
the monitors as, hopefully, this thing's going to end well.
It was violent, he was shouting and screaming.
He was strong, he was trying to get his feet. He was kicking out.
I still didn't know if he had anything on him.
What went through my mind mainly was the fact
that nobody was stopping to help.
They were in a box junction, and there were vehicles either stopped,
just waiting for things to develop, or driving round the officer.
But martial arts expert Andy feels he can't just sit in
the taxi watching what's happening.
Despite his painful rib injury, he intervenes.
I decided, somebody's going to get hurt here.
Some needs to take control, or at least help the guy out.
They were going to get run over.
That's when I threw the car door open,
run across and grabbed the guy from behind.
I was wrestling with this male on the ground.
This other person joined me.
I wasn't sure if he was another offender,
if he was a member of the public,
if it was an off-duty police officer,
if it was an on-duty police officer -
I had something else to contend with.
The person introduced himself and asked me if I needed any assistance.
I said, "Yes, please, assist me."
Andy warns the suspect, if he keeps fighting them,
he will have to use his martial arts on him.
You then think he'd realise that things weren't going quite his way.
And he started to struggle and kick and try and escape.
Because the suspect refuses to submit, Andy puts his
training to work and overpowers him with a martial arts hold.
I tightened my grip for only a second,
it did make him unconscious, but only for a second or so.
The suspect is subdued.
Minutes later, the police backup arrives, and Rich makes his arrest.
When the cuffs finally went on the male,
and it was obvious he was detained, he couldn't get away,
there was both relief that the situation had come to a close.
The satisfaction that the police have got their man.
But Colin's CCTV skills are about to be needed again.
The police backup arrives,
the male goes into the back of the police van.
I put the cameras back into their home positions, everything's calm.
I'm getting ready to download the footage,
because I knew the police would want a copy of this.
And then the officer radios up, saying,
"Can you put the camera on me?"
I went back where we initially had the struggle, where the bicycle was.
I was picking up my personal equipment from the floor,
and I thought, "Oh, my God,
"there's a butchers knife laying next to my equipment
"in the gutter."
The 12-inch knife could belong to the suspect,
which would escalate the charges against him.
But Rich needs proof, and that's where Colin comes in again.
After the police officer bent down and picked this knife up,
it was like, where's that come from?
So I reviewed the footage, and, at the very start of it,
when the male first goes down on the floor,
if you look carefully, you can actually see the knife
fall out the back of this male's trousers.
So it was rather shocking that it was actually there.
You can quite clearly see this large knife
sticking out the back of his trousers.
It's not bolt croppers,
that I thought he had on his person when I was searching him for
items that we used to steal this bike or any other bike.
I thought, flipping heck, this could have ended
so much differently had it not ejected from his clothing.
The news comes as a shock to Andy too.
My first thought was, where was it when I actually had hold of him,
when they said the guy had a 12-inch kitchen knife.
I can understand why people don't get involved,
it's not always what you see at that moment, it's the whole, big picture.
Once that all comes into play, you realise things could've got
a whole lot worse for everybody involved.
York isn't the crime capital of the north,
we don't have a weapons culture here.
And to see something like that on a Saturday afternoon did come
as quite a surprise and a bit of a shock, really.
Colin's footage proves the suspect is guilty of carrying a blade.
The offender could quite easily have denied any knowledge of this knife,
that it wasn't his, it didn't belong to him.
But the CCTV quite clearly shows that this butchers knife was
not just on him, but it was secreted down the back of his trousers.
York CCTV operations manager, Christian Wood,
often provides crucial footage like this
to the Crown Prosecution Service.
One of the benefits of CCTV
is that it can help prevent long court cases.
If you have footage of the actual incident,
quite often defendants will see that and just plead guilty straightaway.
And in court, the suspect did plead guilty to resisting arrest
and carrying the knife.
He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.
News of the incident reached Andy's loved ones,
and he got mixed feedback about putting his own life in danger.
The reaction from friends and family was mostly positive.
Some said, I wouldn't have got involved.
Others were like, you did what he had to do,
and you knew what you was going to do, and everything was fine.
So, yeah, it's been pretty positive.
I don't think it's brave or naive,
I think I just did what I did without even thinking about it.
It was just a situation unfolding in front of us,
and we helped the guy take control.
It was just right place, right time.
But Rich thinks Andy may well have saved his life.
Thank you to Andy for stepping in and coming to my assistance.
He could quite easily have stayed in the taxi that he was in.
He could have gone on his way.
But if it wasn't for Andy's assistance,
this incident could've ended so much differently.
That's all we have time for today.
An increasing number of criminals
are being captured on camera every year.
Join us next time to see more villains
who've been Caught Red Handed.
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.