Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. A ski centre is repeatedly robbed by a thief, but a policeman uses his trainer prints and CCTV to catch him out.
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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.
The 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.
It's a eureka moment when you get that evidence.
And the public are using secret cameras
to make sure crooks get their comeuppance.
It makes me feel so angry.
He's paid the price, he's been dealt with.
Yes! We've got her!
So anyone who is up to no good had better think twice.
They might just get Caught Red Handed.
when Sharon bumped into an armed robber in her local shop,
she could have called the police.
Instead, she called her husband.
It was just adrenaline. Seeing my wife so scared.
It was not advised, it was risky, but it did the trick.
Something clicked in my head and I just flew.
Just instinct to do what I done.
Also today - John's dry ski centre has been burgled again...
And he's at his wits' end.
It's not only the monetary loss. It's the upset, the distress.
Is it worth carrying on if this is going to happen?
But when the police convince him to install a spy camera...
John just can't wait for the thief to strike again.
I came in on the Sunday morning and we'd had a break-in.
It was euphoria. Hooray!
And computer shop owner Muiz gets a brick through his window...
..but this burglar is as thick as the brick he's thrown.
And before long, the police throw the book at him.
Norwich's castle and medieval walls used to protect the city
from villains. But these days,
it's down to the local police and citizens.
Former bouncer Darren renovates houses.
He lives on the outskirts of the city, near a shop owned by Mike.
It's a hub. It's not just where people buy things,
it's where people come to talk.
The sound I hear most when I walk in is laughter.
Darren is one of Mike's most regular customers.
I'm there every day. Have a good laugh and a little banter in there.
Yeah, that's a nice little shop to go into.
Darren has been married to his wife Sharon for 13 years,
and he'd do anything to protect her.
As we're going to see.
My wife means the world to me.
Don't know where I'd be without her.
She's a friend, she's...everything a man could want, really.
With Darren being an ex-bouncer, if he ever sees someone in trouble,
his instinct is to intervene.
Couple of times, seen a man hit a woman, and just stepped in.
I'm just in the wrong place all the while.
I don't stand outside my front door thinking,
"Mmm, vigilante's now coming."
The bravery of both Darren and his wife Sharon
is to prove vital to shop owner Mike
when an armed robber attacks his store.
It's early evening, three days before Christmas.
Finish the Christmas shopping, we thought we'd have a takeaway.
So me and my wife walked over to the Chinese just over the road.
Right near the shop.
At the same time as Darren and Sharon are heading to the Chinese,
Mike happens to be checking his shop's CCTV cameras
via a computer at his home ten miles away,
and he notices a motorcyclist walking in and out
of the store suspiciously.
Came in with his helmet on and looked around, and I thought,
"There's something weird about this."
He went out again, so I relaxed.
Even though the man's left, Mike continues watching.
He likes to keep a close eye on the shop because his daughter
and her family live in the flat above.
She had a terrifying encounter with an armed robber 20 years ago.
My daughter was in a bank when
somebody put a revolver to her head
and threatened to kill her if the cashiers didn't hand over money.
That affected her for a long, long, long time.
But now Mike's about to witness an armed robbery himself.
Darren and Sharon had just arrived at the Chinese takeaway
near Mike's shop.
I went in, sat down, ordered the food.
While they are waiting, Sharon decides to nip out
to Mike's shop to buy a drink. But when she gets there,
she finds a nervous shop assistant who's worried that the stranger
in a crash helmet might come back.
The girl said to my wife, "There's a dodgy geezer keeps coming in here",
so my wife said, "I'll stay here with you. Don't worry about it."
And then the man returns.
Couple of minutes later he was back in again.
And he must have said something to the girls,
because one of them went straight out of the door.
The shop assistant leaves to get help and call the police.
The man turns to face Sharon.
And she notices he's carrying a sawn-off shotgun.
He turned round and said,
"You're going nowhere, I'm robbing the shop."
And she thought,
"I'm not going to stay in here and get shot by anyone."
She just barged her way past.
Sharon's brave escape leaves the armed robber alone.
He heads straight for the till.
Sharon runs to the takeaway,
where Darren's still waiting, and raps on the window.
Bang, bang, bang, bang.
I look round, sort of like startled, to see who it was,
and there's my wife.
In... Well, in 20-odd years, I've never, ever seen her so scared.
I just jumped up, and she shouted, "Armed robbery!"
Darren races to the shop with Sharon close behind.
Most people would be running in the opposite direction!
It was just adrenaline, just seeing my wife so scared.
The couple courageously confront the armed robber,
who is still trying to get into the till.
There's a man there in a fluorescent jacket, gloves,
and this sawn-off shotgun in his hand.
And he sort of like just pointed it at me.
I remember looking at him, looking at the shotgun
and I still said, "No."
Darren decides to take on the robber -
the opposite of what police would suggest.
But he feels he has no option.
Just something flipped in my head and I just flew.
He forces the man backwards.
I push the gun out of the way.
Darren grabs the robber's crash helmet.
That was the only place I could control him.
Cos I wasn't sure if he still had the gun on him.
Everything seemed to take ages. It was like slow motion.
The sliding door where the cigarettes are,
it's going back and forth, back and forth.
Watching on his computer at home,
shop owner Mike's horrified as he sees the struggle unfold.
I think he's brave. Sometimes I think he's foolhardy,
because I may not have done that myself, but on the other hand,
I may have done exactly what he did if my wife had been in jeopardy.
Sharon tells Darren the police are on their way.
I was pulling him down to try to get his legs under him,
and that sort of like worked,
so he couldn't breathe.
The robber drops the shotgun.
He just let go and it fell on the floor, and it fell apart.
With Darren gripping him tightly,
the robber becomes exhausted and asks if he can come up for air.
I let him go, got him up, then just held him there.
Darren tells the man exactly what he thinks of him.
Said what a naughty boy he was, and he just apologised.
"Look, I'm sorry, didn't mean to hurt anyone."
I go, "But you did." I go, "You hurt a lot of people.
"You put the God fear in them."
He goes, "I was desperate."
We all get desperate, you don't hurt people.
Darren takes a closer look at the gun.
He had two bits of black tubing
and an old antique gun,
what he put up,
so it looked like that was
a sawn-off shotgun.
Moments later, the police arrive in force.
There's about six police cars there.
And there's this CID bloke.
And he went, "Well done, sir, well done.
"Stupid, but well done."
And, yeah, he just patted me
and said, "Thanks very much."
Yeah, I was stupid, but I was lucky.
Probably had my dad up there, looking upon me.
You know, so he keep me safe.
It took some time for Darren and Sharon
to come to terms with their close shave.
Yeah, we had a good cuddle at night, what could have been what,
and didn't get no sleep round Christmas, really,
but, erm...we got on with it.
For Mike, the incident brought back terrible memories.
I ran the whole gamut of emotions.
I was happy that nothing had seriously gone wrong.
I was angry that my daughter, my children and my staff
and my customers had been put to this...stupid action,
but it was great to know that we got him.
Thanks to Darren.
In court, the man pleaded guilty to one count of attempted robbery
and another of possession of a firearm with intent
to cause fear of violence.
He was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
11 years. That's a long while, isn't it?
A lot part of his life.
You just hope other people learn lessons from it.
Darren went to watch the court case with Sharon,
and they got a pleasant surprise.
Me and the wife sitting there, and the judge just said,
what a brave thing I done, me and my wife,
and we'll give you an award, a community award.
Me and Sharon both got £300 each
and a certificate from the Sheriff of Norwich.
That was nice. Yeah, it was an experience and a half.
This man is about to be well and truly up the pole.
The reason is quite bizarre.
He wants to knick some knickers.
How high do you think that pole is?
Three metres? Four, five?
Nope, it's nearly seven metres.
A full 22ft off the ground.
And on top of it is a clothesline
holding pink ladies' underwear
for a breast cancer charity event.
Now, this chap is certainly not the charitable type,
but he is one heck of a climber.
If you ever want someone to change a flag up a flagpole,
this is your man.
But why he wants to nab a display of knickers and bras is anyone's guess.
Perhaps he wants to be a pole dancer one day.
And off he goes.
Maybe he hopes to sell his stolen underwear
to a contact in the underworld.
But a man walking down the road with pink pants
will be very easy to spot.
And this knicker nicker will get nicked!
CCTV footage on its own may not be enough to solve a crime.
Sometimes, you need other evidence.
Fingerprints, DNA, even footprints to help bring criminals to justice.
A ski centre cafe is repeatedly raided by a prolific burglar.
It was quite depressing, in a way.
The damage that was caused was running into hundreds,
if not thousands of pounds.
A single footwear print is all the police have to go on.
This thief is going to prove tough to track down.
Runcorn in Cheshire sits on the south bank of the River Mersey.
50 years ago, the town's population more than doubled
when new housing estates were built around open parkland.
And one of the parks has an unusual recreational facility.
People are surprised. They don't expect to find a ski slope
in the middle of Runcorn,
but we've been here a long time.
John landed a part-time job at the ski centre
after leaving school 30 years ago.
The first time I put skis on, I just loved it.
Would sneak out and spend the day skiing
when I perhaps should have been doing a bit more other work.
John trained to be a ski instructor and enjoyed his job so much
he bought the business when the owners retired.
His love of skiing runs in the family.
Both my sons have come to the ski centre and been involved.
We've developed it. It is hard work, but it is good fun.
Don't really think I want to be anywhere else.
John also has a cafe in a nearby cabin, serving refreshments
to people visiting the 800-acre park.
The local people use it. Lots of nice families come.
It works really well.
John lives 20 minutes away, and the centre's unattended at night.
So he's installed metal cladding to protect the buildings.
There are also CCTV cameras for extra security.
There is minor bits of vandalism,
but I think we've just been part of
the sort of fabric of the town.
We've not had problems for the last ten years.
But suddenly, John's business gets hit by a series
of late-night burglaries.
It's a Saturday in the middle of summer
and John's getting ready for a busy weekend.
Arrived in. Something didn't look right.
Couldn't quite work out what it was.
John discovers the ski centre cafe has been broken into.
A metal shutter and a window are badly damaged.
They'd stolen lots of sweets, lots of drinks.
Out of the machines, out of the chiller cabinets.
But only the cafe has been burgled.
The ski equipment in the main building has been left alone.
So John and the police think it could be the work
of sweet-toothed teenagers.
It was quite sort of depressing, in a way.
It's not only the monetary loss, it's the upset,
the distress after all we've done.
"I could do without this.
"But it's a one-off. It'll not happen again."
But, a few weeks later, it DOES happen again.
And that was a bit harder to take.
This time, all the confectionery and drinks from the cafe have gone.
The thought was now, "Are we being targeted?
"Is it worth carrying on if this is going to happen?"
The crime reports land on the desk of PC Tom Ashton,
who works in a Cheshire police unit that specialises in burglaries.
Tom knows the ski centre well.
When I was about seven,
I went to the ski slope with my dad because it was really handy,
on your doorstep, to come and start learning
how to do snow sports before you go away on holiday.
The ski centre raids are out of the ordinary.
We know a lot of the burglars around Runcorn.
We know their MO, we know how they work, but this wasn't like that.
People usually target premises for high-value stuff,
so to break in and steal bars of chocolate, multipacks of drinks,
was all a bit odd.
No fingerprints or DNA evidence are found after the two break-ins.
And no-one is spotted by the security cameras.
Whoever was committing the burglaries
was either avoiding them or covering them up
with a tea towel or a dishcloth or something like that.
The only evidence Tom has to go on
is a footwear print found by officers
after the first break-in.
It was on a piece of broken glass that was on the floor.
So that was seized.
But we can't say whose shoe that is unless we happen to find the shoe.
A few weeks go by and the police investigation makes no headway.
I would drive in every day with this almost fear of...
"Am I going to discover something?"
Over the next month, there are two more break-ins.
And now the burglar isn't just hitting the cafe.
They've broken into the main ski building as well.
They're going systematically through the cupboards.
They're not leaving any clues.
The damage that was caused on each occasion was running into hundreds,
if not thousands of pounds.
It was a big, big heartache.
The only evidence police find after
these burglaries is
another footwear print.
It's frustrating when it's happening
over and over and over again
and we're not getting any closer to identifying who's done it.
The assumption is, it's somebody who knew us.
You start to suspect everybody.
And that's not good.
We had a bit of a scrum down in work to decide what was
the next best thing to do.
Burglary squad suggested that perhaps some covert CCTV
would be in order.
John agrees to let the police
install two hidden cameras inside the cafe.
They're motion-activated and can be left for weeks.
Obviously, you don't want John to be the victim of ANOTHER break-in,
but you know that without that happening,
you're unlikely to catch whoever's doing it.
In the weeks that follow, there are no more burglaries.
John starts to fear they will never identify the villain.
I came in on the Sunday morning and we'd had a break-in.
It was euphoria - "Hooray!"
I was actually pleased we'd had a break-in.
"Hopefully, the cameras will have caught something."
They have. Finally, the elusive culprit is caught on camera.
The thief shines his torch almost directly at the lens,
but doesn't spot it.
The infrared images show the burglar is a middle-aged man,
not a light-fingered youth.
He spends over an hour stealing sweets and drinks,
hiding them in the park to retrieve later.
But the excitement of getting the footage is short-lived.
We were really hoping to come in, identify him straightaway,
and be able to go out and lock him up.
But we had a look at the footage, didn't jump out at us.
A few names were thrown in the hat as to who it might have been,
but none of them really fitted.
but the cameras have put to bed one of John's main worries.
It was a relief. It was, "We're not being targeted by the local kids,
"it's not a local gang, it's just one person.
"They'll be easy to catch."
Or so we thought!
Tom hands out the image of the thief to officers on night shift...
..and asks them to keep an eye on the ski centre whenever possible.
And soon, one of Tom's colleagues makes a breakthrough.
'We'd gone two or three times throughout the course of the night,
'just parked up,'
waiting for anyone to arrive.
At four o'clock in the morning,
the officer spots a suspicious-looking man
going up the lane that leads to the ski centre.
He's walking, kicking his feet up,
and he notices the tread marks on his shoes,
which is this quite distinctive, wavy pattern,
which is what we'd recovered from the scene,
and he said as soon as he turned around and looked at him,
he immediately knew it's the chap from the CCTV footage.
The man is arrested on the spot.
It's great we had him in custody and we were fairly positive
that we were going to recover some more evidence.
It's a nice feeling to be able to go and tell John.
Just such a relief after the several months of frustration and anguish
that they've caught somebody.
Tom and his team confirm that the suspect's trainers
do match the footwear print left after the burglaries.
And when they search his house,
they find a hoodie identical to the one in the hidden camera footage.
In court, the man pleaded guilty to five burglaries at the ski centre
and was sentenced to two years in prison.
It was a feeling of victory when it all came together.
Ultimately, what we'd done meant that the evidence that we did get
was pretty much overwhelming,
so it was a real sense of success for me and the team.
Thanks to some top-notch police work,
John's business is back on the up.
We've reopened the cafe, the kiosk.
We're not going to let somebody stop us doing what we do.
We always look to see how we can improve and move forward.
We've been here a long time.
We'll be here a long time to come.
We've just seen how footwear prints and CCTV
can be used to catch thieves.
But what other technologies and techniques do the police use
to bring criminals to justice?
Police investigations and science
are coming closer together as technology advances,
as society uses different methods to communicate,
so policing now is not just about investigating what's
literally happened in front of us,
but it's what's happened over the internet,
it's what's happened through a computer,
through a mobile device or a tablet.
Things like cyber crime, digital forensics,
our ability to use CCTV for facial recognition,
these are all developments that are aiding in the fight against crime.
If you recognise that you have been the victim of a burglary,
it's really important that you contact the police straightaway,
but it's as important not to enter that scene.
There are clues everywhere.
Every contact leaves a trace,
so every time an individual comes into contact with something, so,
for example, if they sit in a car,
there will be fibres from the car seat on the individual
and fibres from the individual on the car seat.
So don't go in, if you can help it.
Don't let anyone else have access, such as a pet,
and just wait for those specially trained officers
to come and they can gather all of the clues
and then your life can go back to normal after that.
A shop owner gets a rude awakening...
I never came across such a thing, like, in my life.
..but when the police arrive later,
they find that this thief is a few bricks short of a load.
They were, like, laughing.
He was, like, "He's the worst burglar we ever seen."
The haunting sound of bagpipes
is a fitting welcome to Dundee on the east coast of Scotland.
In the 1800s, the town was renowned for its jute textile industry.
Nowadays, it's a thriving design and innovation centre,
which appeals to computer graduate Muiz.
Dundee's lovely. Dundee's lovely, yeah.
I love the Dundee. People, you know, they are so friendly.
Muiz moved here from Glasgow with his wife Laura,
because Dundee's her hometown
and she wanted to be closer to her family.
He decided to open his own shop, repairing computers and phones.
I'm basically a technology geek,
so anything related to technology, you know, I love it.
Muiz works all hours to make his new venture a success.
In the beginning, you have to give all your time and effort to your
business, so that's what I'm doing here just now.
But Muiz's fledgling business is about to come under attack.
11 o'clock on a Wednesday evening
and Muiz remotely checks his shop's CCTV from home.
Everything seems fine, so he calls it a night.
I said to my wife, you know, "I'm so tired, so I'm just going to sleep."
Half an hour later, he's woken by a phone call from the police.
They've caught someone who's smashed his shop window.
I was, like, "Somebody smashed whose window?"
"Somebody smashed your shop's window."
I was, like, "What?!"
Muiz heads to the shop, dreading what he might find.
I was really worried for me.
I only depend on the shop now.
I don't have any other way of income.
When Muiz arrives, he's met by police officers
who ask him to check his shop to see if anything's missing.
I was like, "I've got a CCTV camera, so I can show you."
They gather round to watch the security camera's infrared footage.
It shows how a man in a hoodie walks up to the shop
and peers through the window.
He had a brick in his hand.
The brick can just be seen in the man's right hand.
He looks like he's leaving, but then...
When the brick breaks the window,
the noise echoes all around the street.
And he runs off.
It was old glass.
It wasn't, like, shatterproof, so it just made a big hole in it.
But then, a minute later,
the man returns and carefully climbs through the hole.
He starts searching for things to steal,
but, despite his break-in being so incredibly loud,
he doesn't seem in any hurry.
He wasn't the quickest thief I've ever seen in my life!
The man spends several minutes out of camera view
at the back of the shop, but doesn't take anything.
He only manages to find a customer's broken phone near the counter.
He grabbed a phone and then, after that, he came towards my till.
The burglar steals Muiz's float from the till,
then rifles a set of drawers.
A couple of my bills are lying in there,
so I would be happy if he can pay those bills!
It's now been five minutes since the man smashed the window
and he still isn't showing any urgency.
Maybe he should, because a neighbour heard the noise...
..and called 999.
The police came in and the guy who phoned them up, he told them, like,
"That's the guy inside there."
The lackadaisical burglar is bang to rights...
..and the police officers waste no time arresting him.
They were, like, laughing. He was, like,
"He's the worst burglar we ever seen in our lives."
It's very rare to have caught them red-handed.
They were saying it happens once in ten years.
The officers search him and recover the stolen phone
and Muiz's float money.
In court, the burglar was sentenced to six months in prison.
The break-in was reported in the local papers
and word spread about Muiz's shop.
It was nice to see people coming in and asking you,
"Is everything OK now?
"We heard that, you know, this happened."
A couple of people phoned me, "Oh, Muiz, you got famous!"
I was, like, "Thank you very much!"
Muiz was keen to find the Good Samaritan who called 999 and then
pointed the burglar out to the police when they arrived.
One day, eventually, he turned up
and he goes, like, "I live upstairs, I heard a big bang
"and then I just...straightaway, I phoned the police."
And I was, like, "You know what? You've done a big favour to me
"and I really appreciate that, you know?
"I am very thankful to you, as well."
Muiz gave his Good Samaritan a box of chocolates
as a thank-you present.
I was so happy, you know,
that such kind people still live in this world.
I'm really, really grateful to him, and also the police, as well,
who cooperated with him and caught the thief red-handed.
That's all for today.
Thousands of criminals are captured on camera every year.
Make sure you join us next time
to see more villains who've been Caught Red Handed.
A ski centre is repeatedly robbed by a sweet-toothed thief, but a policeman uses his trainer prints and CCTV to catch him out. And a burglar takes too long when trying to steal from a laptop repair shop.