Episode 8 Caught Red Handed


Episode 8

Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. Two jewellers in London are victims of an armed robber, but he soon ends up a fugitive in a high-speed car chase.


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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 to

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catch the bad guys.

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The CCTV is gold dust.

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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 where 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 been dealt with.

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Yes! We've got her!

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So anyone who's up to no good had better think twice,

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they might just get caught red-handed.

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Today...

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Jewellery shop manager Ahmed

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is faced with an armed robber and fears for his life.

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Everything went through my mind.

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I was like, "Either die or live. I choose to live."

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But it's the robber who should be worrying

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because soon it's him who's running for his life.

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He's out, across the road now.

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He is going to be going to ground.

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Also today...

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By the banks of Loch Ness,

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a crime mystery of monstrous proportions.

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Totally incomprehensible that any of our staff

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could be stealing money.

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And three of Britain's most foolish fly-tippers dump

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themselves right in it.

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If you ever get that feeling you're being watched,

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you may well be right.

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There are now millions of security cameras in the UK,

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many of which are set up by businesses to help combat crime.

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Finchley in North London

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may have once been Mrs Thatcher's constituency...

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but now it has another claim to fame

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as one of Britain's burglary hot spots.

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Detectives like Manu Hanspal

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of the Metropolitan Police Flying Squad are on constant alert.

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We target commercial robberies.

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They can range from offences against post offices, banks,

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building societies,

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money exchanges to jewellery shops.

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With over half of Britain's small businesses reporting crimes

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in just two years, it's hardly surprising that

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so many have now installed security cameras to protect their premises.

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They can provide vital evidence to police teams like Manu's

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when, as happened recently, a whole area gets targeted.

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Finchley High Street.

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A man enters a jeweller's and pulls out a weapon.

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He produces a wrench and sort of goes for the shopkeeper.

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The armed robber grabs the owner by the throat and forces him

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backwards.

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He's alone in that shop so, for him,

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I think that's quite a terrifying situation to be in.

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Credit to him, he's dealt with it really, really well.

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The shop has a panic button, but worried that pressing it

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could panic the robber into violence, the owner coolly calms the

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intruder down by apparently agreeing to hand over some jewellery.

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He opens a cabinet but the impatient thief goes instead

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for a tray of expensive diamonds.

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The quick-thinking jeweller tells him those gems are fake and the

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burglar believes his story.

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Now the shopkeeper feels ready to make his move.

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The shopkeeper has his wits about him.

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Quite bravely he distracts him and then presses the panic button.

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The alarm echoes around the shop.

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The robber shouts angrily at the owner,

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grabs some gold necklaces and runs out.

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-ALARM

-He steals seven grand of jewellery.

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By the time the police arrive, the man in black's disappeared,

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But North London hasn't seen the last of him.

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Five miles away and one week later, the armed robber strikes again.

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This time, his target is in nearby Haringey.

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That's where Ahmed helps run a jeweller's shop owned by his uncle.

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Since the age of 16 I've been working with my family.

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Now I'm 27, it's like, always a family business.

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As well as using their security cameras,

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shop owners in Haringey keep an eye out for their neighbours.

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I've heard a couple of incidents happen in the street,

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and the community helping each other out.

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And Ahmed is going to need all the help he can get.

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It's lunchtime, and he's manning the shop on his own.

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A customer comes in.

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He approached me like a normal gentleman,

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he was cool, dressed up really smartly.

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He wanted to sell a thin chain, a gold chain,

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so I just gave him a price and then he said,

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"Let me just walk around to see other jewellers, as well,

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"see what they've got, as well, and I'll come back later."

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The man leaves the shop, but five minutes later, he returns.

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I gave a nice smile to him, welcomed him back in,

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but he had something in his hand, so I thought,

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you didn't have that before.

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The man tells Ahmed he has a concealed weapon.

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I was like, just scared, on that moment, it might be a gun,

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it might be a knife.

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The armed robber tries to get to the till, which is full of cash,

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but Ahmed bravely resists.

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He grabbed me, I grabbed him...

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and he then started strangling me on my neck.

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At that moment I was like, everything went through my mind,

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my family, my uncle, the jewellery, so I was like, "Either die or live."

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I was like, "Choose to live, just give something to him, just let him go."

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The robber orders Ahmed to open the safe in the back office.

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I told him I don't have any keys for the back.

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We walked to the till, I gave him some money, he said,

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"That's not enough."

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The intruder finds a bundle of banknotes Ahmed's uncle

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asked him to keep safely out of sight,

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and then takes a tray of jewellery,

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but Ahmed instinctively snatches it off him.

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Something came out of me, I don't know what it was,

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just pulled the whole tray out of his hand, he was like, "What are you doing?"

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I was like, "Pulling my tray back off you. Just walk out the shop."

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The robber seizes another tray.

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Ahmed hits the panic button.

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He actually said to me, "You shouldn't have pressed that alarm."

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I was like, "What was I supposed to do? Wait for you to take the whole shop away?"

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The thief runs off and Ahmed courageously runs after him.

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I started shouting at the neighbours,

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and they actually saw what was going on and he ran over here

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to see if I'm OK and I told him I'm OK and to chase the other guy.

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Other shopkeepers take up the chase while Ahmed calls the police.

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I was in complete shock, just thinking...

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the gold is gone, the jewellery is gone, I was like,

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I need to get that back to my uncle, I need to give back the money that

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my uncle gave me to hide away and I didn't hide that away properly.

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Maybe I should've pressed the alarm much more earlier,

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but at that instant, I wasn't thinking about that,

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I was thinking about living rather than dying.

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£10,000 worth of cash and jewellery have been stolen.

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Over at Scotland Yard, Manu is alerted.

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He goes to the scene of the crime, where Ahmed is waiting.

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He was quite shaken up, but he was able to speak to

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me and credit to him, he's just suffered quite

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a scary incident and quite often it's the case that, as officers,

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we almost forget that,

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but he was very able to give me a lot of good detail.

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We heard the facts of it and we thought,

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that sounds very similar to one that happened the week before.

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All the facts were exactly the same,

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small independent shop on a high street where there's no other

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customers and just one member of staff, so to us, is very much was

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immediately, this has got to be the same guy doing the same thing.

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The CCTV footage confirms that the flying squad is faced

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with a dangerous armed robber.

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It's really important to catch this person, because...

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their confidence is growing,

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and their willingness to use violence

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to get money and scare people.

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Later...

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the case takes a dramatic turn -

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an urgent manhunt on the ground and from the air.

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-RADIO:

-Light-skinned IC3 male, dark trousers, dark top.

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Units towards, please.

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The man who threatened terrified jewellers

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is now running scared himself.

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It was a member of the public, saw someone run out of a shop,

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run into a car.

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And he's tried to hide something in the bushes.

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What he doesn't realise is there's an eye in the sky

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following his every move.

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Also coming up...

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a couple move to Scotland to start afresh

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but end up deceived by someone they count as a friend.

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It was such a betrayal of trust.

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It was unbelievable.

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The fly-tipping of refuse is antisocial,

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dirty and sometimes dangerous.

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Fortunately, fly-tippers often get caught red-handed.

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As criminals go, they are often pretty rubbish themselves.

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Welcome to the Britain's Most Foolish Fly-Tipper Awards.

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Our first contestants are from Walsall.

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This pair is tying off a huge bag of rubble to help them

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drag it from the truck.

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But what they're tying it up to is actually a large sign that says,

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"No fly-tipping." You couldn't make it up, could you?

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Then it is back flap down and off they go.

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Hang on a second, fellas,

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the camera won't be able to see your number plate as you drive off.

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Oh, that's much better.

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These tippers are convicted and end up £713 out of pocket.

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And the next contestant is from Burton-on-Trent.

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This fella starts off more fly-zipper than fly-tipper.

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He clearly feels in need of the loo before he gets rid of anything else.

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But he's behind a bathroom showroom and their car park is well

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covered by security cameras. Whoops-a-daisy.

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Before driving off, the cheeky chap casually dumps

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a bag of rubbish right in the middle of the car park.

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Instead of reporting him to the police,

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the showroom manager decides to put the video online for all to see.

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Now, that's embarrassing. Red-faced as well as red-handed.

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And our final contestant today comes from Salford.

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I reckon that van belongs to a local business.

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Actually, I know it belongs to that business because it

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has got their website address and phone number plastered all over it.

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So this driver is traceable.

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And that isn't very clever when a council's spy camera is

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pointing straight at him and he's breaking the law.

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He is dumping an entire van load of rubbish, including cardboard,

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plastic and rusty nails.

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Not surprisingly, this dumb dumper gets taken to court.

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With his fines and costs totalling over £1,400,

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he's the winner of the Caught Red Handed Foolish Fly-Tipper Award.

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Every year, over half a million new business ventures are started

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up in Britain.

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Their owners dream of a bright future but to achieve their

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dreams, they need help from people they can trust.

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On the beautiful banks of Loch Ness,

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a business struggles to keep its head above water.

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I couldn't understand why our tills were so low.

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Money seems to be vanishing into thin air.

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It was not sustainable, we couldn't carry on.

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But it's actually disappearing...

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into a friend's pocket.

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Loch Ness, world-famous for its legendary monster.

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Jan and Simon were drawn here by the spectacular scenery.

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The loch holds more fresh water than all the lakes in England and

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-Wales put together.

-It's a beautiful part of the world, very lovely.

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Quiet.

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You just wake up in the morning and look out the window and it is

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quite special.

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I had always wanted to come and live in the Highlands because

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I had Scottish parents.

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Simon and I love being here, it's the most stunning place to live.

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They moved from Dorset six years ago and bought

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a cafe and shop in the village of Foyers

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on the south side of the loch.

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We did a tour of the north of Scotland, looking at businesses.

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This was the final one we came to look at and we couldn't

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believe our luck.

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It was just a time in our lives when we wanted

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a different challenge and this presented itself so we grabbed it.

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We were very excited when we got here.

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Jan runs the Waterfall Cafe,

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while Simon looks after the shop and post office.

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They live in a flat above the business.

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Simon has found that he actually really likes the craic,

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as they call it here,

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of having banter of local people and friends that come in.

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And that's every day so there is always someone that comes in and

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brings a smile to your face.

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Jan and Simon's staff have been with them since the beginning.

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It's more friends than just work colleagues.

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Every place I have worked, it's always been working as a team.

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You work with people rather than for them, or they work for you.

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We work together and that's how I've always been.

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To get the business off the ground,

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Jan and Simon worked every day of the week for five years.

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But eventually everything started to tick along well.

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We got to a place where we had good staff,

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we were looking forward to being able to maybe having a regular

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day off once a week and having a holiday without worrying too much.

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But just when they think they've cracked it,

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they find their lakeside business by Loch Ness

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is nursing a monster of its own.

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It's early summer, when tourist takings should be at their peak.

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But for some reason, profits are plummeting.

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We watched year-on-year growth and then suddenly that ceased to

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be happening. We were falling back quite dramatically.

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Jan and Simon racked their brains to figure out what's going wrong.

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I put it down to there's a new business 500 yards

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down the road and obviously that was having an impact on our trade.

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But the cafe and post office seemed busier than ever.

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I just kept thinking, we are missing something here.

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I didn't suspect anyone of doing anything.

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Their Highland dream is fading fast.

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It got to the stage where we were

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right up against our overdraft limits

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and the business was not looking good at all.

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It caused a certain amount of friction between Simon and I.

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It was not sustainable, we couldn't carry on.

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The couple are on the verge of giving up,

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when suddenly there's a breakthrough.

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A member of staff gives them some disturbing news

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about another employee.

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She had seen her do a certain thing on the till,

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removing amounts of money but it wasn't showing on the till total.

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Jan and Simon are shocked.

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Over the years,

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the suspect has become not just an employee but also a close friend.

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Couldn't take it in.

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Couldn't believe that this person,

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this nice person that we liked, was doing this.

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They check the till receipts and find lots of sums entered

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then cancelled afterwards. So-called "void transactions".

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This person was doing this regularly every time she worked.

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Jan suspects the employee is taking cash from customers then

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voiding the sales just before opening the till.

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Everything looks normal to the customers but the money that's

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gone into the till later ends up in the thief's pocket.

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The concept is very simple. But I hadn't realised it was possible.

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Jan realises they could use the shop's old CCTV system

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left by the previous owner to get proof.

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Up until now, they'd never felt the need to use it.

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So the system has to be reactivated.

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We spent an evening with the curtains closed,

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installing the CCTV.

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Jan and Simon get ready to watch the woman's next shift.

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We just open as usual and pretend like nothing is happening.

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We still weren't 100% at that point.

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You really didn't want to believe...

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-No.

-..that that's what was happening.

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We needed to see it with our own eyes.

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The prime suspect arrives at work.

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It doesn't take long before the mystery of the missing money

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is solved. A customer hands over the cash.

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The woman voids the transaction then opens the till.

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Watch her left hand.

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There. Did you spot it? Here's a replay.

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She gets change out of the till and, at the same time,

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grabs a banknote in her left hand and pockets it.

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You can clearly see the note in her hand, going into her back pocket.

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-Which... Which you just felt so sick, didn't you?

-Yes.

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-That you'd actually seen that happen.

-Yes.

-It is quite shocking.

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To me, totally incomprehensible that any of our staff could be

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stealing money. It's staggering.

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There are lots of clips on here

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where everyone is laughing and joking.

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I thought we were a very happy band but...no.

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Jan's keen to call the police straightaway,

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but Simon wants more evidence.

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They decide to keep the camera running for a week.

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The stress was unbelievable.

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And for this person to keep smiling and laughing...

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..and...

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It was such a betrayal of trust. It was unbelievable.

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And they see how that trust has been betrayed.

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Anyone could see her at any time.

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But she's so slick and quick at doing it,

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that, actually, you don't believe that you've just seen that.

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Now they have enough evidence,

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they hand over the recordings to the police

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and give the thief her marching orders.

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Their light-fingered former friend pleaded guilty to theft

0:19:310:19:35

and in court was sentenced to 100 hours' community service.

0:19:350:19:39

Jan and Simon feel that although their business

0:19:440:19:47

was on the low road for a while,

0:19:470:19:49

they can now take the high road again.

0:19:490:19:51

It was very apparent immediately after this person left

0:19:510:19:55

that the tills went back to taking what they should be taking.

0:19:550:19:59

Yeah, there was a lot of relief.

0:19:590:20:00

They're now looking forward to getting their lives back on track.

0:20:010:20:06

That's it. It's in the past.

0:20:060:20:08

We're going to move on now

0:20:080:20:10

and we are just going to try and continue to build our business

0:20:100:20:14

and to enjoy our life here.

0:20:140:20:16

Dishonesty can be very hard to prove.

0:20:210:20:23

Thieves are often very good at covering their tracks.

0:20:230:20:26

So what can people do

0:20:260:20:27

if they suspect someone is stealing from them?

0:20:270:20:30

The most important thing is that we are able to secure the evidence

0:20:300:20:34

to be able to demonstrate the crime took place.

0:20:340:20:37

So we can't rely on hearsay evidence.

0:20:370:20:39

It's the cold, hard facts

0:20:390:20:42

that we will then be able to present a case

0:20:420:20:44

to the Crown Prosecution Service.

0:20:440:20:46

It's really important that we can

0:20:460:20:48

identify the stolen cash, so to speak, so there are things like

0:20:480:20:52

DNA-encoded liquid that we can use, but even if you haven't got that,

0:20:520:20:55

just marking the notes with your initials or something that means

0:20:550:20:59

you can later establish that they are the notes taken from your till.

0:20:590:21:02

If you find yourself in a situation

0:21:020:21:04

where you've caught the suspect red-handed

0:21:040:21:07

and they're stealing literally from under your nose

0:21:070:21:09

then you could confront them,

0:21:090:21:12

but I would always advise not to do that alone.

0:21:120:21:14

Situations like this can quickly escalate,

0:21:140:21:17

and it's just not worth putting yourself or your property at risk.

0:21:170:21:21

It's really important not to give the game away,

0:21:210:21:23

not to challenge the individual at an early stage.

0:21:230:21:26

It's important to gather the evidence

0:21:260:21:28

so that when you do approach that person, or the police do it,

0:21:280:21:32

then really they're caught by surprise.

0:21:320:21:34

This hole-in-the-wall gang

0:21:380:21:40

think they can fool an automatic cash machine.

0:21:400:21:43

But as they're about to find out, they can't fool the cops.

0:21:430:21:47

It's something we're all used to doing.

0:21:520:21:55

We put our PIN number in a cash machine and money comes out.

0:21:550:21:58

But these villains in Plymouth think they've got an idea

0:22:000:22:03

how to beat the machine.

0:22:030:22:05

They put a home-made device into the slot where notes are dispensed

0:22:050:22:08

and they move away.

0:22:080:22:10

It's not exactly hi-tech, and they've made a schoolboy error -

0:22:100:22:14

their every move is being caught on camera.

0:22:140:22:17

A customer comes along and tries to withdraw their cash,

0:22:180:22:22

but the hidden device blocks their notes.

0:22:220:22:24

The customer waits...

0:22:240:22:26

..and waits...

0:22:270:22:28

..and waits.

0:22:290:22:31

And then walks off, thinking the machine is faulty.

0:22:320:22:36

And we can guess what happens next, right?

0:22:360:22:39

The thieves return, pull out their device,

0:22:390:22:42

and extract the money.

0:22:420:22:44

The thieves may have got away with it this time,

0:22:440:22:48

but the police are wise to their little game

0:22:480:22:50

and stake out cashpoints in the area

0:22:500:22:52

to try and catch the criminals in the act.

0:22:520:22:55

They wait...

0:22:550:22:56

..and wait...

0:22:570:22:59

and wait,

0:22:590:23:00

but to no avail.

0:23:000:23:02

Before calling it a day,

0:23:020:23:04

they go for a quick bite to eat across the road.

0:23:040:23:07

When out of the window,

0:23:070:23:08

they spot some suspicious men loitering next to an ATM.

0:23:080:23:12

The police pounce further down the road,

0:23:120:23:16

arrest them, find their DIY device,

0:23:160:23:18

and haul them off to the station.

0:23:180:23:21

Job done.

0:23:210:23:23

And a seven-month stretch awaits.

0:23:230:23:26

Back to North London,

0:23:340:23:36

where the Met are investigating

0:23:360:23:38

the two armed raids on jewellery shops in a week.

0:23:380:23:41

One of the victims, Ahmed, resisted the robber -

0:23:410:23:44

even argued with him -

0:23:440:23:45

but is still trying to come to terms with what happened.

0:23:450:23:49

I had so many scenarios built up in my head,

0:23:490:23:52

I could have done this, I could have done that,

0:23:520:23:54

and my director, who's my uncle, he actually said,

0:23:540:23:57

"Forget the money, forget the jewellery - if you're fine,

0:23:570:23:59

"that's what matters to us anyway."

0:23:590:24:01

DC Manu Hanspal of the Met's Flying Squad is leading the investigation.

0:24:030:24:08

It's Manu who linked the two armed robberies.

0:24:090:24:13

To us, this has got to be the same guy doing the same thing.

0:24:130:24:16

He's posed as a customer,

0:24:160:24:17

and he's then returned, threatened the shopkeeper.

0:24:170:24:20

The CCTV footage will prove critical

0:24:210:24:23

in identifying this dangerous robber.

0:24:230:24:26

I can't undersell the value of really good quality CCTV.

0:24:260:24:29

It's clearly the same person.

0:24:290:24:32

And Manu is about to make a breakthrough,

0:24:320:24:35

thanks to an eagle-eyed neighbour of Ahmed's.

0:24:350:24:38

It was a member of the public, without hesitating,

0:24:390:24:41

saw something they thought was suspicious,

0:24:410:24:43

saw someone run out of a shop,

0:24:430:24:44

run into a car, and then drive away at speed,

0:24:440:24:47

and they gave us the description, what they were wearing,

0:24:470:24:50

the car they got into and the registration.

0:24:500:24:52

It's an important lead.

0:24:520:24:54

The licence plate is registered to 28-year-old Joel Law.

0:24:540:24:59

We circulated that amongst all the police units

0:25:000:25:02

on the police national computer.

0:25:020:25:03

Later that week, traffic cops spot Law's car,

0:25:030:25:07

and it looks like he's the driver.

0:25:070:25:08

The officers choose the best tactic,

0:25:080:25:10

which is just to ask it to stop, flash your lights,

0:25:100:25:13

but he's also driven off.

0:25:130:25:15

It's the start of a dramatic chase.

0:25:150:25:18

A dangerous driver needs stopping, fast,

0:25:180:25:21

so a police helicopter is called in to help keep him in sight.

0:25:210:25:25

The fugitive has no idea a camera is tracking his every move,

0:25:250:25:29

and the footage of his reckless driving can be used as evidence.

0:25:290:25:34

He's completely reckless - taking the narrowest of gaps between cars,

0:25:340:25:37

he's not accounting for someone walking out.

0:25:370:25:39

-RADIO:

-He's mounted the pavement.

-The fugitive is cornered.

0:25:390:25:43

His only option is to try and escape on foot.

0:25:430:25:46

-RADIO:

-He's out, across the road now into industrial premises.

0:25:460:25:49

He's going to be going to ground.

0:25:490:25:51

Thermal imaging is used to keep track of the runner.

0:25:510:25:54

Received. It's going to be a decamp into Manor Road,

0:25:540:25:57

junction Mays Lane.

0:25:570:25:58

Manor Road, Mays Lane.

0:25:580:26:00

Light-skinned IC3 male, dark trousers, dark top.

0:26:000:26:03

Units towards, please.

0:26:030:26:05

Officers on foot are directed to the fugitive.

0:26:050:26:08

Echo Zero received.

0:26:080:26:10

He's in a back garden, Leeside.

0:26:100:26:12

He's gone to ground between two houses.

0:26:120:26:15

Left on to the residential street.

0:26:150:26:17

If you can see the white gate to the right,

0:26:170:26:20

he's just behind that.

0:26:200:26:22

He appears to be talking on his mobile phone,

0:26:220:26:24

possibly asking someone to come and help.

0:26:240:26:26

But it's too late for that.

0:26:260:26:29

I think he's surrendering to local officers.

0:26:290:26:31

Stand by, I'll get you an address.

0:26:310:26:34

We've got the male, we've got the male.

0:26:340:26:36

It is Joel Law, Manu's main suspect.

0:26:380:26:42

It was just good policing, good teamwork.

0:26:420:26:44

Their skills have meant that chase has resulted in no-one being injured

0:26:440:26:47

and no damage being caused and him being arrested.

0:26:470:26:49

Manu studies the helicopter footage

0:26:490:26:52

and sees Law throw an object into a bush.

0:26:520:26:55

In the second robbery he was wearing a pair of sunglasses.

0:26:550:26:58

Funnily enough, he seemed to throw away a pair of sunglasses.

0:26:580:27:02

Maybe they're his favourite shades, and he's carefully throwing them

0:27:020:27:06

somewhere he hopes to find them later.

0:27:060:27:08

Well, he doesn't - but the police do.

0:27:080:27:10

The sunglasses are crucial evidence.

0:27:100:27:13

Of all the things you chuck away

0:27:130:27:15

when you're being chased by the police,

0:27:150:27:16

why would you throw a pair of sunglasses?

0:27:160:27:18

They're the sunglasses you used in that robbery.

0:27:180:27:21

When we present all that information, what could he say?

0:27:210:27:25

Law realised there was no escape,

0:27:280:27:31

and pleaded guilty when he appeared in court.

0:27:310:27:33

He was sentenced to five years and four months in prison.

0:27:350:27:38

I was actually...amazed at the speed that he actually was arrested -

0:27:410:27:47

he was caught two days later. That just made me happy,

0:27:470:27:50

knowing that he's not going to give anyone else

0:27:500:27:52

the same aggravation he caused us.

0:27:520:27:54

With the help of police, the public and technology,

0:27:540:27:57

DC Hanspal got his man.

0:27:570:28:00

This case just proves that the public, shopkeepers -

0:28:000:28:03

if we look after each other and talk to the police,

0:28:030:28:06

we can prevent these things and obviously catch the person.

0:28:060:28:09

That's all for today. Join us next time

0:28:150:28:17

to see some more villains getting their just deserts,

0:28:170:28:20

when they're caught red-handed.

0:28:200:28:23

Two jewellers in London are victims of an armed robber, but he soon ends up a fugitive in a high-speed car chase. And three fly-tippers are caught in the act because they make rubbish mistakes.


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