Episode 1 Caught Red Handed


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Episode 1

Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. An ex-wrestler dusts off his grappling skills to intercept a robber fleeing a jewellery store.


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Transcript


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Thieves will steal our cash, our cars, our valuables -

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just about anything they can get their hands on.

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But now, the police are using cutting-edge technology

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to catch the bad guys.

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We want to make sure we've got a concrete case.

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Enough evidence to convict at court.

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Local councils, shops and businesses are fighting crime

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with their own tricks and traps.

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It's just unbelievable that she thinks she can get away with this.

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And the public are using secret cameras

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to make sure the crooks get their comeuppance.

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Fair means or foul, I was going to get rid of him.

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I thought, "We've got her!"

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And I was so happy. Thank God!

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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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retired wrestler James has to dust off

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some of his old grappling skills...

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..when he finds himself face-to-face with a robber.

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I stepped in and grabbed him and I put him in a hammerlock,

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where you bring the arm up behind the person's back.

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One robber down, but three other dangerous members

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of an organised crime ring are still at large.

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Also today, after losing her husband,

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Seanene decides to install some home security.

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And it proves its worth when a stranger invades her home.

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Why steal a child's clothes?

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I felt physically sick to think that someone had been in my house.

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Seanene's son, Michael, goes into detective mode

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and finds the intruder's behaviour even more frightening.

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He went out and then he came back again and again.

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And a sneaky thief in a pet shop

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slithers his hand into a snake tank, slides one out and steals it.

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But can this snake in the grass get out of the shop

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with a python in his pocket?

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We can't just rely on the police to fight crime.

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We all need to do our bit, too.

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A lot of crimes are foiled by sharp-eyed citizens.

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Ossett, near Leeds, is home to 32-year-old James,

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although, if you're a wrestling fan,

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you may recognise him as Jimmy Blood...

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..a grappler who was quite notorious back in the day.

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A thug, basically.

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I'm not a thug in real life but, you know...

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In wrestling, you always have a lot more fun being the bad guy,

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cos you get to do all the things that you can't do in real life

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and terrorise the good guys but, in the end,

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the good guys will come and save the day.

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But in 2011, at the age of 26, James had to retire from wrestling,

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due to ill health.

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He'd been suffering from complications

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related to having insulin-dependent diabetes,

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which was diagnosed when he was 16.

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That was the age that you start going out with your friends

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and wanting to be more independent,

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but it felt like there was a ball and chain around me.

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I had to have all this insulin and the needles with me

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all the time and I rebelled against that, really.

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I didn't look after myself over the years.

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James' diabetes began to take its toll when he was in his mid-20s,

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seriously affecting his eyesight.

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They've done everything that they can to save it

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and they've done a tremendous job. It's not perfect, it's not great.

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I'll never drive, I'll never be able to read a book properly again

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or anything like that, but it certainly beats the alternative.

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Having to give up wrestling and short of money

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because he couldn't work, James began to suffer from depression.

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After a few years battling his demons,

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he thought he'd try meditation - and it worked.

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It brought a sense of peace, a calmness that was needed in my life.

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But James' new-found peace was shattered recently.

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Ironically, he was on his way for a session of calming meditation

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when he suddenly found himself caught up in a robbery.

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It was time for Jimmy Blood to come out of retirement.

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It's a spring afternoon

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and James has come to Leeds with his girlfriend

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for a meditation appointment.

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We were doing a spot of shopping

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before heading to a local meditation centre.

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Their route takes them past a large jewellery store

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in Leeds city centre.

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These are images from the jeweller's CCTV cameras.

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The shop's owner, who has asked to remain anonymous,

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tells us what happens next.

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It was a normal day and where the watch window is,

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I looked out and I saw this guy outside.

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He had long hair with a hat on, and I thought, "He looks strange,"

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but I didn't think anything of it.

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The man walks to the entrance.

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The security guard inside assumes he's just a normal customer

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and asks him to take his hat off before entering.

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The guard opens the door for him.

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He walks in, closely followed by another man,

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who appears from nowhere.

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Then the first man reaches into his pocket and pulls out a gun.

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He points it at the security guard.

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Now, another accomplice comes in through the door.

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That split second, you know your worst fears,

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and I heard two of our staff crying behind me

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and it's passing through your mind,

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and that's why I said to him, "Just point the gun at me."

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The robbers grab expensive watches from the window displays

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and stuff them into their bags.

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Meanwhile, outside,

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James and his girlfriend are strolling past the shop.

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My girlfriend looks in the window and she says,

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"Oh, my God, they're being robbed."

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I thought she meant the prices were too high.

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But that's when I saw this man bundling everything into his bag

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and my girlfriend dragged me away from the window.

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They call the police.

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Inside the shop,

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the robbers are stealing thousands of pounds' worth of watches.

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I wasn't concentrating on anything they were taking.

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I was concentrating on him and the gun, and he said something.

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It was like, "Time to leave. Out."

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And I knew that was it and it was just relief.

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The robbers run out and split up.

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One of them is picked up on a council CCTV camera.

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He's walking towards James.

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The robber's trying not to look suspicious

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but a member of the public who saw the raid happening

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is running to challenge him.

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My vision is quite blurry at this point

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and that's when the gentleman shouted and pointed, "You, stop."

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I looked at HIM and I followed where he was pointing to

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and that's when I saw someone coming towards ME.

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The man who shouted tries to grab the robber.

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He got somewhat of a grip on his arm,

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but the man then started running.

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In that moment, it was like, I either step aside or I step towards,

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and I stepped in and grabbed him.

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And I thought, "If he's got a knife or something,

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"I'm probably going to feel it now," but nothing happened.

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James uses a wrestling move to pin the robber to the ground.

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I put him in a hammerlock,

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where you bring the arm up behind the person's back.

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The other gentleman grabbed hold of him and we just basically held him.

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James looks around.

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He realises the rest of the robbers are still at large.

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He and the others may be in danger.

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Are his friends going to run over and kick me in the face?

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I didn't know. So I was staring out into a sea of blurry people,

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just waiting for somebody to come towards me

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but, as it turns out,

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the other two ran in opposite directions.

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Security guards from another shop have seen the incident

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and come over to help.

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The manager from the jeweller's saw how James tackled the robber.

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I couldn't believe somebody would risk their lives doing that.

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Unbelievable story.

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The police arrive and arrest the robber.

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Some members of the public point to where the other two men ran,

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but they've managed to escape.

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Later, thanks to James, the police make a vital breakthrough.

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The robber he wrestled to the ground is carrying a clue

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as to where the rest of the gang are hiding out.

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The impact that James had, right from the word go,

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allowed us to set the ball rolling.

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All thieves are sneaky, but this chap more than most,

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when he tries to sneak off with a snake.

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He walks into a pet shop, sidles over to a snake tank,

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slides his hand inside and puts a python down his pants.

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Hope he knows what he's doing.

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That's known as a ball python and they have teeth!

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He clearly doesn't realise he's being watched.

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The eyes of the pet shop staff

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are all on this particular snake charmer

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because he's been seen in the shop before

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when expensive reptiles have gone missing.

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And, after seeing this latest attempt to pilfer a python,

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the owner confronts him.

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The slithery customer can be seen holding the snake,

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as he tries to wriggle out of the shop.

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The owner has a grip like a boa constrictor.

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But the thief briefly struggles free before being recaptured.

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He's arrested and ends up being sent to jail for 123 days

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for petty theft of a pet which, thankfully, was unharmed.

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It's the middle of the night

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and a mysterious figure approaches a sleeping family's house -

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not once,

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not twice,

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not three times...

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..but four times in all.

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It soon becomes clear that he's not just here to steal valuables.

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He's looking for a weapon, too.

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The coastal town of Fleetwood in Lancashire.

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Seanene lives here with her two sons, Aaron and Michael,

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in the house she bought 20 years ago with her husband, Tony.

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Me and Tony met when I was 16. My only love.

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SEANENE LAUGHS

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He was just wonderful. Perfect dad, perfect husband.

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He was just a gentle giant, very, very popular in Fleetwood

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before he sadly passed away.

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Tony died from pancreatic cancer four years ago.

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Youngest son Michael was just nine at the time.

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A few of the best memories we've got of my dad was motorbikes.

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We used to do a lot of motorbiking with my dad.

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He used to run a motorbike shop. It was called The Five Motorcycles.

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It did well.

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Aaron and Michael have had their ups and downs

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but they've been so strong in themselves

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and they've just carried on. They've been amazing, both of them.

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After Tony passed away, in order for her and the boys to feel safer,

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Seanene decided to fit some home security.

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I got the CCTV cameras and the burglar alarm

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for us to just feel safe, because this is our home.

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Coming to terms with their loss has been hard enough

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for Seanene and the boys. But then, one night,

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their sense of security faces a further frightening setback.

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It's early on a Saturday morning and Seanene has just woken.

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I came down and realised that all the lights were on downstairs

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and I thought, "That's very strange."

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Then I just thought, "Maybe I've left them on."

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My eldest was away, so the first thing I did was get my mobile phone

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to check if he'd texted me or anything.

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But her phone is nowhere to be seen.

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I panicked because Aaron was away

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and I'm thinking he can't get hold of me

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and, as I came out the living room door, I just glanced

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at the front door and I noticed the keys weren't in it.

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So I ran upstairs to Michael, woke Michael up and said,

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"Have you been downstairs? Have you opened the front door?" He said no.

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Michael gets up to help his mum search for her phone.

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She's been through a lot

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and she struggles and panics in situations like that,

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so I thought I just needed to help her.

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There's no sign of the phone anywhere,

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so they start to wonder if, unbelievable though it seems,

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it might have been stolen during the night.

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I went to check the CCTV.

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Young Michael is determined to solve the mystery for his mum.

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He offers to watch every minute of the CCTV recording

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from the night before.

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And then, after spending a long time viewing the empty driveway,

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Michael's worst fears suddenly come to life before his eyes.

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I just didn't know what to do at the time.

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I was there, watching it for a minute,

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and then I shouted to my mum. It was just shocking.

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He said, "Mum, you need to look. There's somebody coming in."

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I never expected that in a million years.

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It's around 3:15am when a man in a baseball cap,

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with a cigarette hanging from his mouth,

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walks up the drive towards their home.

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He is out of view for just six seconds, presumably doing a recce,

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then he walks away and lights a cigarette.

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But he isn't gone for long.

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At around 3:20, he's back

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and this time he spends 40 seconds out of view -

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just enough time to put a hook through the letterbox

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and remove the front door key from the lock inside.

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Then he leaves - this time with the key -

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and it looks like he thinks he's been spotted

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because he suddenly runs away.

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Seanene breaks off from viewing the recording and calls the police,

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while Michael continues searching the CCTV for more clues.

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I felt physically sick

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to think that somebody had been in my house as we were asleep.

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I just kept on looking through it

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and then I was even more shocked to see that he went out

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and then he came back again and again.

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Michael is like the detective and he wrote everything down -

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the times he came in.

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He kept me going that day, Michael did.

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Michael discovers that the man returns an hour later,

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most likely to check none of the lights have come on in the house.

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Realising no-one is awake, he creeps up the drive

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and, this time, uses the key to sneak inside their home.

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Four minutes later, he re-emerges,

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carrying stolen valuables in both hands.

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But he still isn't finished.

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Soon he's back for the fourth time.

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He finally leaves for good a few minutes later,

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walking rather strangely, for some reason.

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Michael carefully notes the precise times

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the burglar was caught on camera

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and hands the list to the police when they arrive.

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It was only as the police were here that we went round

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and realised what was actually taken, which was my handbag,

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my phone, Michael's rucksack,

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the iPad, and the washing off my kitchen table.

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Why steal a child's clothes?

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Police search the area and find Michael's football boots

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dumped in a garden. Everything else has gone.

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When the officers leave, Seanene and Michael have to come to terms

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with their home having been invaded while they slept.

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I had every emotion going through my body.

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I was angry, I was upset.

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He took my keys and then I was frightened that he would come back.

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Without my dad being there, it was much harder and horrible.

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But Seanene and Michael are made of stern stuff

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and they agree to do everything they can to identify the burglar.

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I decided to put the footage on social media

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to see if anybody recognised him.

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Fleetwood's such a small-knit town,

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I thought somebody must recognise him, if he is from Fleetwood.

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They don't have to wait long for a reply.

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Within five minutes of it being on Facebook,

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I got a message to say, "I know him." He even gave me his address.

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Seanene passes the information on to the police,

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but the burglar must have realised he's been identified

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and goes on the run.

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Fearful he may come back, Seanene changes the locks.

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Her eldest son, Aaron, then re-examines the footage

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and he notices the man's strange walk when he leaves the last time.

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This is the one that Aaron picked up that he stumbles.

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He goes out with a limp.

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You can see him bending down, trying to pull something up his leg

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and this is when Aaron said, "Have you checked the drawers, Mum?"

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They make a chilling discovery.

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A large kitchen knife is missing.

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It was frightening.

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I was quite relieved that I'd not woke up.

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I'm glad that my mum didn't go down cos what we've heard of him,

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he's a really dangerous man,

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and my mum panics and we don't know what he could have done to her.

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The burglar is on the loose with their kitchen knife

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and, in the coming days, the family lives in fear.

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I did struggle to sleep after it and so did my mum.

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It was heartbreaking to think

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that Michael was frightened in his own home.

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Then, after two weeks, they receive wonderful news from the police.

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The burglar has been arrested.

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It was a massive relief to know that he was off the street.

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It was brilliant cos now my mum is not scared,

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we're not scared and there's not as much to worry about.

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It was closure.

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The man pleaded guilty

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and, with four other burglaries also taken into consideration,

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he was sentenced to five years in prison.

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Since the burglary, Seanene has tightened

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her security at home even further.

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She never leaves the keys in the door

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and always set the alarm at night.

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And the cameras are constantly recording.

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Having the CCTV put in was worth every penny.

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It was the best thing I ever did.

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I think it would have been harder for the police

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to arrest him if we didn't have CCTV.

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The family have now put the burglary behind them

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and are looking forward to a brighter future.

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This is going to be our year.

0:19:210:19:24

Aaron is going in the Royal Navy,

0:19:240:19:26

Michael is going forward in his school work.

0:19:260:19:29

He's going to be picking his GCSE options.

0:19:290:19:31

And me, I'm starting a new job.

0:19:320:19:34

I'm going to just go further and further into it

0:19:340:19:36

and it is going to be our year.

0:19:360:19:38

Got to have some good luck eventually, haven't we?

0:19:400:19:42

There are over half a million domestic burglaries

0:19:490:19:52

in this country every year

0:19:520:19:54

and often, those crimes happen because people make simple mistakes

0:19:540:19:57

with the security of their home.

0:19:570:19:59

So, what are those mistakes and how can they be avoided?

0:19:590:20:02

People often feel quite confident

0:20:020:20:04

to leave their doors and windows unlocked,

0:20:040:20:06

even whilst they're in the property.

0:20:060:20:08

But if you live in a large property

0:20:080:20:10

or perhaps you can't hear

0:20:100:20:11

if someone was to come in the back door when you're in the front,

0:20:110:20:14

then you should be thinking about locking it.

0:20:140:20:16

There is a class of criminal we call "creeper burglars"

0:20:160:20:19

and all they do is walk from house to house to house,

0:20:190:20:21

trying door handles,

0:20:210:20:23

until they find one that's open and, invariably, they will.

0:20:230:20:25

One of the cases or series of cases that we've seen recently

0:20:250:20:28

is where people have been returning from shopping,

0:20:280:20:30

they've obviously been desperate to go to the toilet,

0:20:300:20:33

opened into the house, left their bags just inside the door,

0:20:330:20:36

and gone straight to the toilet, leaving the door wide open,

0:20:360:20:39

leaving the door ajar and, within seconds,

0:20:390:20:41

someone has been in, may have taken stuff from inside the house.

0:20:410:20:44

Often people leave a key under a doormat or under a plant pot

0:20:440:20:47

by their front door, so that the kids can get in,

0:20:470:20:50

or if they've lost their key, they've got access.

0:20:500:20:52

It's the first place a burglar will check.

0:20:520:20:54

You can quite easily buy small key safes

0:20:540:20:56

which can be attached to the outside of your building

0:20:560:20:59

or even in an outbuilding.

0:20:590:21:00

You can share a code with the people

0:21:000:21:02

that you want to be able to have access to that key

0:21:020:21:05

and then, really, you're ensuring that your house is secure.

0:21:050:21:08

We're back in Leeds,

0:21:180:21:19

where there's been an armed robbery at a city centre jewellery store.

0:21:190:21:23

Ex-wrestler James has helped tackle

0:21:240:21:27

one of the escaping robbers to the floor

0:21:270:21:29

and to hold on to him until the police arrived.

0:21:290:21:31

At the time, I didn't know how much jewellery they'd had

0:21:330:21:35

or how many people were involved or the scale of the operation.

0:21:350:21:39

To me, it was me and one man, you know, that I'd dealt with.

0:21:390:21:44

I didn't know how far and wide the reach of it all went.

0:21:440:21:48

Although one of the robbers has been stopped,

0:21:480:21:51

his two accomplices have escaped,

0:21:510:21:53

and now it's up to Detective Inspector Phil Jackson and his team

0:21:530:21:57

to track them down.

0:21:570:21:59

An enquiry of this nature needs to be done quick-paced

0:21:590:22:01

because we have two people outstanding

0:22:010:22:03

that have run from the scene.

0:22:030:22:05

We were aware that the gun was used

0:22:050:22:07

to threaten people inside the jewellery store,

0:22:070:22:09

so quite a harrowing experience for all of those concerned.

0:22:090:22:12

Thanks to James and the other witnesses

0:22:140:22:16

apprehending one of the robbers,

0:22:160:22:18

Phil's investigation is off to a strong start.

0:22:180:22:20

But every hour counts.

0:22:200:22:22

We had one male in custody.

0:22:240:22:26

We also had about half a million pounds' worth of watches.

0:22:260:22:28

The watches were in the robber's shoulder bag.

0:22:280:22:31

Police at the scene also find a gun clip in the jeweller's,

0:22:320:22:36

containing metal ball-bearing ammunition.

0:22:360:22:38

But there's another even more important clue.

0:22:390:22:42

As he was being subdued,

0:22:420:22:44

a train ticket fell out of the robber's pocket.

0:22:440:22:47

It's a vital lead.

0:22:470:22:48

The ticket isn't to a local destination.

0:22:480:22:51

It's to Manchester, an hour away.

0:22:510:22:54

That could be where the robber's accomplices are headed right now.

0:22:540:22:58

We moved quickly. Our focuses were on Manchester.

0:22:580:23:01

Phil contacts British Transport Police

0:23:010:23:05

and asks them to stop and search

0:23:050:23:06

trains heading from Leeds to Manchester.

0:23:060:23:09

Eyewitnesses provide pointers to help identify the thieves.

0:23:090:23:14

We know that they're Eastern European.

0:23:140:23:16

The chap that was arrested was from Estonia.

0:23:160:23:19

But the police don't find the suspects in transit.

0:23:190:23:22

They must have already reached Manchester.

0:23:220:23:24

So, Phil comes up with a different plan.

0:23:240:23:27

A bit of a hunch - let's phone up some hotels

0:23:270:23:30

in and around the Manchester stations.

0:23:300:23:33

The gamble pays off.

0:23:330:23:35

From a list of 50, 60 hotels we phoned up,

0:23:350:23:38

it was, I think, about the fifth hotel.

0:23:380:23:40

Phil's team finds a hotel room that's been booked for three men,

0:23:410:23:45

and one of the names on the booking

0:23:450:23:47

is the man they're holding in custody,

0:23:470:23:49

so the others might be about to turn up.

0:23:490:23:52

Phil contacts Greater Manchester Police.

0:23:520:23:55

I speak to my opposite number, a detective inspector, and he said,

0:23:560:23:59

"I'm just dealing with a recovery of a firearm near the station."

0:23:590:24:03

It's the gun used in the robbery.

0:24:030:24:06

There were some watch straps with this gun,

0:24:060:24:09

all wrapped up in a bag,

0:24:090:24:10

so Manchester gave us quite a number of resources, then,

0:24:100:24:14

to deal with the hotel.

0:24:140:24:15

Officers raid the hotel room.

0:24:160:24:19

They surprise and arrest two suspects.

0:24:190:24:21

There aren't any stolen watches in the room,

0:24:230:24:26

but they do discover fingerprints

0:24:260:24:28

that match those of the two men and the man they have in custody.

0:24:280:24:31

They also find fingerprints from an unknown fourth man

0:24:330:24:37

and another crucial piece of evidence.

0:24:370:24:39

We found a receipt

0:24:390:24:42

and the receipt was for a gun which was purchased in Liverpool

0:24:420:24:46

a couple of days previously.

0:24:460:24:48

The receipt is from a sports shop that sells ball-bearing guns.

0:24:480:24:53

The police check through the shop's CCTV from the date on the receipt.

0:24:530:24:57

It showed one of the suspects

0:24:570:25:00

and another unknown male purchasing the gun.

0:25:000:25:03

Phil believes this fourth man could be the gang's leader

0:25:050:25:09

and he needs to be found before he can strike again.

0:25:090:25:12

The evidence of the others was quite overwhelming that this person,

0:25:120:25:16

you know, the fourth man, was the organiser.

0:25:160:25:19

He really needed tying down.

0:25:190:25:21

Phil's team studies the gang's modus operandi.

0:25:210:25:25

It might help link the suspects to unsolved armed robberies,

0:25:250:25:28

prove they are part of an organised crime ring,

0:25:280:25:31

and enable them to track down the elusive fourth man.

0:25:310:25:35

Interestingly, at the jeweller's,

0:25:350:25:37

the robbers used a towel to prop the door open

0:25:370:25:40

so they couldn't be locked in.

0:25:400:25:42

There's the towel there, that you can see.

0:25:420:25:45

And he then pops it over the top of the door,

0:25:460:25:49

so that will, obviously, aid their getaway.

0:25:490:25:51

When we started to look at other armed robberies

0:25:510:25:54

involving Eastern Europeans in the main,

0:25:540:25:56

this was a common MO,

0:25:560:25:58

where they came in and propped the door open in this particular manner.

0:25:580:26:02

Phil's team then analyses evidence

0:26:020:26:05

from similar robberies over the past decade.

0:26:050:26:08

And success.

0:26:080:26:10

They identified the mysterious fourth man

0:26:100:26:12

filmed in the sports shop.

0:26:120:26:14

Whilst we were reviewing enquiries from 2006,

0:26:140:26:18

where a jewellery shop was targeted,

0:26:180:26:20

we had a photo of one of the persons we believed to be responsible

0:26:200:26:25

and, lo and behold, it was the same person.

0:26:250:26:28

We were able to get the name of this person.

0:26:280:26:31

This opened the door to a raft of other enquiries,

0:26:310:26:34

trailing back 10 years.

0:26:340:26:36

And this is the person that's been organising all of them.

0:26:360:26:39

Phil gives the suspect's name and image

0:26:390:26:42

to police forces around the country and asks them to watch out for him.

0:26:420:26:46

A few months later, he's spotted.

0:26:470:26:50

He was arrested coming back into the country at Heathrow.

0:26:500:26:53

He had some maps, he had cameras,

0:26:530:26:56

and he was clearly coming in to target the next offence.

0:26:560:27:00

The police build a compelling case against the gang

0:27:000:27:03

for planning a campaign of crime,

0:27:030:27:05

which included the Leeds jeweller's and other robberies.

0:27:050:27:08

In court, the four men were convicted of conspiracy to rob

0:27:110:27:15

and sentenced to a combined total of 70 years in prison.

0:27:150:27:19

The convictions were just fantastic - really good sentences.

0:27:240:27:28

I couldn't have asked for anything better.

0:27:280:27:30

But Phil recognises that without the courage of James

0:27:300:27:34

and the other members of the public

0:27:340:27:35

the day they stopped one of the robbers escaping,

0:27:350:27:38

the gang might never have been caught.

0:27:380:27:40

I can only commend James' actions on the day

0:27:420:27:44

and the others that assisted him

0:27:440:27:47

because, without him doing what he did,

0:27:470:27:49

without a shadow of a doubt,

0:27:490:27:51

it would have made our job a lot harder.

0:27:510:27:53

James and the others received official commendations

0:27:550:27:58

and thanks from the jewellery shop

0:27:580:27:59

for the role they played in catching the robber.

0:27:590:28:02

From those few moments that I was involved,

0:28:030:28:06

it was like a domino effect.

0:28:060:28:08

It just led to the downfall of an organised crime ring,

0:28:080:28:12

so I'm very proud of that.

0:28:120:28:14

That's it for today.

0:28:190:28:21

And that's it for a few more criminals

0:28:210:28:23

who've been caught red-handed.

0:28:230:28:25

An ex-wrestler dusts off his grappling skills to intercept a robber fleeing a jewellery store, a family home is burgled in the dead of night, and a thief tries to trouser a snake from a pet shop.