Episode 12 Caught Red Handed


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Episode 12

Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. A couple who own a sports club are shocked when they find out why a family friend has been stealing from them.


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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 catch

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-the bad guys.

-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

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are fighting crime 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 to make sure the crooks

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-get their comeuppance.

-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!

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-SHE LAUGHS

-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, Dean and Leanne are puzzled when money goes missing from their

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newly formed business -

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and they're shocked when they discover who's taking it.

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I just let out this big cry, scream.

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I was just heartbroken.

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But the identity of the thief is only the start of it.

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There's another surprise in store when they find out the reason

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he's stealing the money.

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Also today, John runs an antiques centre

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protected by hi-tech security.

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He's even put up a "thieves beware" sign,

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but it's not working on this woman.

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She's come to steal, despite having a little boy with her.

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You wouldn't take a child to commit a crime.

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-It didn't make sense.

-The woman takes some expensive lamps,

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but she doesn't realise the spotlight is on her.

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Also later, this innocent-looking young man is responsible for a spate

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of thefts in Hull.

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Robert's pet store and its collection for sick

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and abandoned animals is the thief's next target.

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I was absolutely furious.

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Atrocious thing to do and this man had made a habit out of doing it.

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There's a well-known saying,

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keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

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But sometimes they can be one and the same thing.

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When a friend, someone you trust, lets you down.

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In the village of Monkton near Pembroke in Wales,

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there's a sports and social club that's recently been rescued from

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demolition and restored to its former glory by married couple

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Dean and Leanne.

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They wed in 2014 and were happy, apart from one thing.

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Dean's job as a health and safety consultant meant he had to travel

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away from home for months at a time.

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Every job seemed to be further and further away.

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I didn't want to go away, she didn't want me to go away.

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They started looking for a local business that could provide enough

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income for Dean to stay at home.

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Then he got a tip-off from his dad.

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We went to a friend of his who's a trustee of the football club

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and they explained that, you know, the clubhouse wasn't getting used,

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it was run-down, it needed a lot of maintenance.

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The Monkton Swifts Social Club was in such a bad state financially,

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it was on the way to being knocked down and replaced with housing,

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but Dean had different ideas.

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Dean came home and he said, "I've got something to tell you."

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I said, "OK. What's that then?"

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He said, "I have just bought a pub."

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-I went, "Pardon?"

-Being a Monkton boy, growing up in Monkton,

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this is my childhood, you know, it's...

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Anyone who grew up in Monkton will say Monkton Swifts is a huge part of

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-their childhood.

-So I agreed and I said,

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"On your head be it if this goes Pete Tong!"

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I could never let this club fall to the ground.

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It's too big a part of the community to let it fall down.

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Restoring the derelict club was no easy task.

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Dean, his dad and builder friends put in hundreds of hours of unpaid

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work in their free time.

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Along the way,

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Dean recruited a local young man to help with the labouring.

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He'd previously worked for a friend of mine as a labourer and he gave

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a good feedback, so we thought, "Yeah, we'll give him a shot."

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He became a big part of our work family and my home life as well.

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The whole family sort of said, "You know,

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"he's a guy maybe you want to look to once the bar is open."

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They decided to give their new friend a job in the club.

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When it opened, everything seemed to be going well, until Dean and Leanne

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began to suspect they might have a thief in their midst.

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It's a weekday in January and a month after opening the club,

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the couple start to notice their accounts don't quite add up.

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Some weeks it might just be £40.

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-Other weeks it might be £20.

-So I thought,

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"Maybe I've miscalculated, maybe I've miscounted.

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"I've never done this before."

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A few weeks later,

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Dean gets a visit from the police on a totally unrelated matter.

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The officers ask to look at footage from the club's exterior security

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cameras because they might have captured a car passing the club that

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the police are interested in.

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We've got fantastic CCTV coverage of the building

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and all its surroundings.

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Basically, 16 different screens come up on one screen,

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so while we were looking, I couldn't help noticing in the corner of my

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eye that the room where we keep all our money kept coming on.

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The camera that faces the room where money is kept only records when it

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senses motion

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and the amount of times it was triggered raises Dean's interest.

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After the police go,

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he flicks through the footage again and sees that the young man he'd

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employed had visited the room several times.

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That raised my curiosity a little bit,

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but I just thought, "There'll be a good reason for that. I trust him

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"and when I get round to speaking to him he'll have a good explanation."

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Nothing more happens until a few weeks later.

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Leanne is at the club to host one of her regular bingo evenings.

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As I went into the store room to get the bingo machine, books etc,

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I realised that the money was missing.

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More than £500 of their bingo money

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and all the staff's tips had vanished.

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Leanne asks Dean to come in.

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I drove up to the club and I had a look round and we contacted

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the manager and she said, "No, not touched it."

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The young man had been on shift earlier in the day.

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Dean looks back at the CCTV recording and this is what he sees.

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Once again the camera records the man going back and forth

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to the cash room.

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He pulls the door shut behind him.

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Frustratingly, Dean can't see what he's doing inside.

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But then this one time he pulls the door closed

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but it doesn't quite close.

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There's just enough of a gap to see what's going on.

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The man reaches up to a top shelf on the left-hand side and the only two

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things kept on the shelf are the containers for the staff's tips

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and the bingo money. It comes as a shock to Dean.

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I'm thinking, "How am I going to deal with this?"

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Yeah, I was a bit crushed cos I really liked the guy, you know?

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So I just went into the car and I drove up to his house

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and spoke to him.

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Dean's hoping his so-called friend has a good explanation.

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He started off saying, "Oh, I owe some bad people money," all this,

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all that, which just annoyed me even more.

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So I said, "No, you just ask me for the money and I would have given it

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-"to you."

-Although the man has let him down,

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Dean generously offers him a chance

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to make amends.

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I thought, "He's 21 years old, if I go to the police now,

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"that's it, he's got a record, his life's going to change."

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And I didn't want that to happen, so I said,

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"Right, you pay me every penny back,

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"and then we'll leave it at that,"

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to which he agreed and he said, "Yeah, I will."

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Dean tells the man he's fired,

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but decides he won't reveal to anyone outside the club

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the reason why. They set a deadline for the repayment and Dean

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goes back to the club and breaks the news to Leanne.

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I just let out this big cry, scream.

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I was just heartbroken.

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I'd invited this boy into my home,

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into my family's life,

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tried to do good by him, be a good friend,

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and I just couldn't believe that it was him and I was just floored.

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I think what hurt the most was the fact that he didn't just steal

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from my company,

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he stole from his colleagues that he was in this venture with,

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working side by side every day, working hard,

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and for him to take that,

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that's probably what makes me the most angriest.

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Over the following weeks, Dean and Leanne and become more distraught

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because the man doesn't follow through on his promise

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to pay them back.

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Dean gives him further chances, to no avail.

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The couple eventually decide to go to the police.

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And when officers arrest the man,

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he finally explains why he's been stealing.

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He's just come out and said, "Yes, I did take it,

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"I was addicted to the gambling machines and

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"slowly I was taking it bit by bit and putting it in the machines."

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The man is charged with theft and decides to plead guilty.

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In court, the magistrate sentenced him to 120 hours of unpaid work

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and ordered him to pay back the £520 he stole

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from the club on the bingo day,

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plus further costs and charges.

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The conviction marked the end of this whole unfortunate episode

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for Dean and Leanne and they hope it acts as a wake-up call

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-for their former friend.

-When you've got an addiction,

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whether it be gambling or anything else,

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you forget the knock-on effect of it, you know,

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and I genuinely believe he didn't do anything to deliberately set out to

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hurt me or my wife.

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He's just tied up in an addiction that, you know,

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if he doesn't get it under control,

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it'll plague him for the rest of his life.

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The couple are now fully focused on making the club a success.

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We just have a blast.

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We have a really good time behind the bar.

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We love all the people that come here and choose to have their day

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-with us.

-This year we're putting all the money we make back in,

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so we're upgrading things,

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we're investing some money now to do a beer garden and, yeah,

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we're really excited for the future. I think it's going to be

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a good journey.

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It's Easter time

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and at a market in this town square

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a group of young men egg each other on

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to steal a giant wooden chicken which has been put out as part of

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the celebrations.

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But the bulky bird is hard to steer from the rear

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and their chicken run ends up in a bit of a flap.

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They try taking flight in the other direction

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but, as we all know, chickens can't really fly.

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Amazingly, they still don't give up their attempt to steal this chunky

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chicken. One of them tries slowly walking it away while locals look on

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unimpressed. And once again he ends up with egg on his face.

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Eventually the gang realise they'd run out of cluck and go home.

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But because they've been caught on CCTV,

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their bird-brained behaviour soon comes home to roost

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and the police catch up with them.

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They must now regret their little hen party that fell "fowl"

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of the law.

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An antiques centre has been suffering from thefts,

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so they have installed a high-quality security system...

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..though nobody's expecting any trouble from this woman,

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who's walking around with a young boy.

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But she's about to set him a very bad example.

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In the town of Bridgnorth, Shropshire,

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John runs an antique business.

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He's been in the trade for 47 years.

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His career began when, as a youngster,

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he and his brother were asked by their mother to get rid of some

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paintings that were cluttering up the family's garage.

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There was a great big painting.

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We thought it was a reproduction because it was painted on hardboard.

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We phoned up a couple of local art dealers.

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Some lady came along and she offered us £500 for it.

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And we thought, "This antiques business is really easy."

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And we were very, very happy.

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Until we found out that less than 12 months later it was sold in

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Sotheby's for 32 grand, cos it was the original.

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We got that one wrong!

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So... But we thought, "Yeah, the antiques business

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"is somewhere to go," so we started dabbling a little bit.

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Nearly half a century later,

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John runs an antiques centre that allows 34 separate dealers to sell

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their goods, all under one roof.

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It makes it a very good, interesting collection of things.

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This amount of stuff in one place you don't see very often.

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But recently the business has been attracting

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the wrong sort of attention.

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We've had two serious break-ins

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and a couple of instances of shoplifting.

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We've lost a couple of dealers in the past because things have been

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stolen and it has been too expensive for them.

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To protect the expensive antiques,

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John has invested in some 21st-century technology.

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As well as bars and roller shutters on the windows,

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he's added special alarms and high-definition security cameras.

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It's our responsibility, if you like,

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to do everything that we can to keep them safe.

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And the antiques centre's new security measures are soon

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put to the test by yet another visit from a thief,

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someone who to look at you'd never suspect.

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It's lunchtime on a weekday in summer.

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The antiques centre is open to the public

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and its cameras are running...

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..when a young woman with a little boy comes in.

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She's carrying several bags

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and spends the next few minutes browsing.

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Nothing seems to take her fancy...

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..but then her attention's drawn to two sculptural table lamps.

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They looked as if they were made out of large industrial bolts welded

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together in a human form,

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so they were very unusual lamps indeed.

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After waiting for the coast to clear,

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the woman steps behind the display cabinets,

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right past a sign saying "thieves beware".

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The boy, maybe thinking she's playing a game of hide and seek,

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joins her.

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But what she's actually doing is unplugging the lamps

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from the extension lead they're attached to.

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Crouched down, she waits for another customer to pass

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before coming back out.

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With other people constantly coming in and out of the room,

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she has to wait another ten minutes before she's alone with the lamps.

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Then, when no-one is looking, she gathers up the power cables,

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picks up one of the lamps and then the other.

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They're worth £280.

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The woman goes off, lamps in hand, to the ladies' toilet.

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And when she reappears moments later, the lamps have disappeared.

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But as she walks out of the store

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it's noticeable those bags she's carrying...

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are looking a lot bulkier than they were earlier.

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It's a couple of days later

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before it's discovered the lamps are missing.

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One of our stallholders came in and said,

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"Oh, have you sold my big lamps? They're not on me sales sheet."

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So we looked at it and no, we hadn't sold them.

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Realising the lamps have disappeared,

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John decides they need to review the security footage.

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He enlists the help of Becky, who works in the store.

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She's the one who understands how to get things out of our DVD.

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What we did then is jump through the CCTV by the hour.

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So, you'd say, "OK, well, they're there, there, there... Oh, gone."

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Watched that hour's worth of CCTV to track down where they are.

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When they spot this young mum on the CCTV around that time,

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they're certainly not expecting her to be the culprit.

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Because she'd got a little boy with her,

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she really didn't look like the sort of person who...

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You wouldn't take a child to commit a crime.

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It didn't make sense.

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It's not until you actually see her do it that you think,

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"Damn, that's cheeky. I can't believe you actually did that."

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Just horror, really, that you think,

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"What's the kid going to learn from this?"

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After reporting the crime,

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John and Becky start searching for a perfect freeze-frame of the woman to

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send to the police.

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But then something happens that gives them an even bigger shock.

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We've literally got it frozen on this woman's face thinking,

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"Yeah, that would be a good freeze picture,"

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-and she walked in.

-And Rebecca suddenly just turned to me and said,

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"That's her."

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And I thought, looked at the camera,

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and I looked at the girl that had just walked in and said hello to us.

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Carrying the same carrier bags and things that she had on the day

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that she stole these items as well.

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So I went over to her and said,

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"Excuse me, but I think I need to have a word."

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And she just stared at me blankly.

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And I said, "This is you on the TV."

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"Eh?"

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And I said, "I think I need to ask you to leave.

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"We've reported the matter to the police."

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There's nothing else I could do. I couldn't arrest her.

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Short of physically restraining her,

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they feel they have to let the woman go.

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But they aren't going to let her get away with the crime.

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They have high-quality images of her.

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And after sending them to the police,

0:18:120:18:14

John and Becky put them on their social media page.

0:18:140:18:17

There's an immediate reaction.

0:18:170:18:19

Within about ten minutes I had a response.

0:18:190:18:22

First one that gave me her name, then another and another.

0:18:220:18:26

I think I got 58 messages back within the first day.

0:18:260:18:31

They pass the information onto the police,

0:18:310:18:34

who go round to the woman's address and arrest her.

0:18:340:18:38

By the time the police had got there, the lamps had been sold.

0:18:380:18:40

So we didn't get them back.

0:18:420:18:43

It happens.

0:18:430:18:44

But at least she won't be coming back again.

0:18:440:18:46

But she was going to court.

0:18:460:18:49

The woman pleaded guilty to the offence

0:18:520:18:54

and to four other counts of shoplifting.

0:18:540:18:57

She was ordered to pay compensation

0:18:570:18:59

and told to attend a drug rehabilitation course.

0:18:590:19:02

In the time since the lamps were stolen,

0:19:070:19:09

there has been no more shoplifting at the antiques centre.

0:19:090:19:12

All of the extra security features and everything else

0:19:130:19:15

that we've put in, it's helping and it's working.

0:19:150:19:18

That's all we can ask for, is that we can roll on and just keep moving.

0:19:180:19:23

And although John's in his 47th year selling antiques,

0:19:240:19:27

he's not intending to stop any time soon.

0:19:270:19:31

I'm not going to let things like this get in the way of me enjoying

0:19:310:19:34

my job. I'm just going to keep doing it.

0:19:340:19:36

They're going to have to carry me out in a box.

0:19:360:19:38

It must be very frustrating recognising someone you think's

0:19:450:19:48

committed a crime against you,

0:19:480:19:49

but feeling unable to do anything about it.

0:19:490:19:52

But are there are things you can do?

0:19:530:19:55

As a member of the public,

0:19:550:19:56

we all have a responsibility to reduce crime and

0:19:560:19:59

we all have a responsibility to help the police in doing their work.

0:19:590:20:02

As a member of the public,

0:20:020:20:03

you can arrest somebody if they're committing

0:20:030:20:05

an offence there and then, and hold them until a police officer arrives.

0:20:050:20:08

Your priority has got to be about your own personal safety

0:20:080:20:11

and potentially safety of other people.

0:20:110:20:13

If you have to use force whilst making a citizen's

0:20:130:20:15

arrest, you must only use the amount of force that's necessary

0:20:150:20:20

and it has to be proportionate and justified,

0:20:200:20:23

which is the same for police officers making arrests.

0:20:230:20:25

You need to inform the person you're arresting that you're arresting

0:20:250:20:29

them and what for, in your belief, what offence for.

0:20:290:20:32

This needs to be done at the earliest opportunity.

0:20:320:20:35

Try and maintain their position until the police arrive

0:20:350:20:38

and hand that individual over to the police at the earliest opportunity.

0:20:380:20:42

If that isn't achievable,

0:20:420:20:43

then the next best step would be to take them to a police station,

0:20:430:20:46

but this would only be as a very last resort.

0:20:460:20:48

In a pet shop, this man looks like he wants to have a bite of the doggy

0:20:530:20:56

snacks on the counter.

0:20:560:20:57

What he's really after is this charity tin for animals.

0:20:590:21:03

But he might have bitten off more than he can chew.

0:21:050:21:07

In Hull city centre,

0:21:150:21:17

Thearne Pet Food Store is a family-run business

0:21:170:21:19

that has been trading for over 70 years.

0:21:190:21:23

When he was just five, Robert started helping out in the store.

0:21:230:21:27

Now he owns it.

0:21:270:21:28

It was started by my grandma in the Second World War and when my dad was

0:21:300:21:35

demobbed he took it on and then he passed it on to me.

0:21:350:21:38

The pet shop's manager, Janine, is also long-serving.

0:21:400:21:43

She's been at the store for 34 years.

0:21:430:21:46

I came at 14 as a Saturday girl and I've been here ever since.

0:21:460:21:50

We get a lot of lovely people.

0:21:500:21:52

It's nice, it's a nice environment to work in.

0:21:520:21:55

The shop has always had lots of collection boxes

0:21:550:21:58

for animal charities.

0:21:580:21:59

I think when you make money out of the pet trade,

0:22:010:22:03

you should be putting something back in as well.

0:22:030:22:05

One of the main charities they support

0:22:060:22:08

is the Hull Animal Welfare Trust,

0:22:080:22:11

which cares for and rehomes rescued or abandoned animals.

0:22:110:22:14

Sue Sewell is the charity's chairwoman.

0:22:160:22:18

We pride ourselves on never closing the door to any animal in need.

0:22:200:22:25

We've had animals that have come in that have been stabbed.

0:22:250:22:28

We've had animals that have been cigarette burned.

0:22:280:22:30

We have some upsetting cases, but when we home a dog, a cat, a rabbit,

0:22:300:22:36

we're absolutely dancing in the streets cos we're so happy about it.

0:22:360:22:40

The trust was established in 1991.

0:22:410:22:44

It finds homes for around 1,000 animals each year.

0:22:440:22:47

We do rely on the general public totally.

0:22:480:22:52

We have no funding whatsoever.

0:22:520:22:54

Much of the money they raise is from donations people

0:22:540:22:57

put in the charity's collection boxes.

0:22:570:22:59

We accrue thousands of pounds from that, so whatever money is there,

0:23:000:23:06

large or small, we are grateful of all of that.

0:23:060:23:09

But the charity and Thearne's Store are about to suffer at the hands of

0:23:100:23:14

someone who seems far from being an animal lover.

0:23:140:23:17

It's 9:30am on a weekday in the summer and the store's just opened.

0:23:210:23:25

Robert's away on holiday, so Janine's in charge.

0:23:250:23:29

There was two members of staff, myself and another girl,

0:23:290:23:31

so she was cleaning out the animals,

0:23:310:23:33

you know, checking the fish and making sure they are all healthy.

0:23:330:23:36

I was on the till.

0:23:360:23:37

The shop security cameras are running as usual

0:23:370:23:40

when they pick up this young man walking in.

0:23:400:23:42

He heads to the back of the store.

0:23:450:23:47

I didn't think he was suspicious, I didn't have any reason to watch.

0:23:490:23:53

The man spends a few minutes looking at the fish tanks

0:23:530:23:56

at the end of the store.

0:23:560:23:58

But he's not really interested in the fish.

0:23:580:24:01

He's actually angling for something else.

0:24:010:24:03

Janine has been busy with another customer at the till.

0:24:050:24:09

When that customer leaves, the young man ambles towards the door.

0:24:090:24:13

And he just walked past me.

0:24:130:24:14

I thought he'd gone out the door.

0:24:160:24:18

But he hasn't. He stops and pretends to sniff at a doggy treat.

0:24:180:24:22

But what he's really sniffing out...

0:24:220:24:24

..is the charity collection tin for Hull Animal Welfare

0:24:250:24:28

that's chained to the counter.

0:24:280:24:30

He taps it to see if there's any money in there...

0:24:300:24:33

pushes the door open ready for a quick escape...

0:24:330:24:37

then rips the tin away from its moorings...

0:24:370:24:39

..and runs off at full speed.

0:24:410:24:43

Janine's had no time to react.

0:24:450:24:46

I heard this, like, yanking noise, pulling the chain.

0:24:480:24:51

Within seconds it had gone.

0:24:510:24:52

It was just like shock.

0:24:540:24:56

You know you think, "Has that just happened?!"

0:24:560:24:58

And I just said to one of the guys, I said, "He's took the charity box."

0:24:580:25:01

And I said, "Just I'll go next door, use their radio."

0:25:010:25:03

The shop next door has a hand-held radio that allows Janine to alert a

0:25:040:25:08

local organisation called HullBID -

0:25:080:25:11

Hull Business Improvement District.

0:25:110:25:14

It's jointly funded by all the businesses in the city

0:25:140:25:17

and was set up to help protect them against thieves.

0:25:170:25:20

If we have any problems, they will come, they'll help us out.

0:25:200:25:24

And they came within ten minutes.

0:25:240:25:27

The store's staff give the men from the organisation a copy of the CCTV

0:25:270:25:31

to take away, to see if anyone can identify the thief,

0:25:310:25:35

and they also report the crime to the police.

0:25:350:25:37

Janine doesn't know how much money was in the tin

0:25:370:25:40

when the man stole it.

0:25:400:25:41

Maybe it was three quarters full, maybe £30, £35, maybe.

0:25:410:25:46

It's the principle that bothers her most.

0:25:460:25:49

Customers will always put their odd pennies in or anything like that.

0:25:490:25:52

They're charity tins, that's what they're there for,

0:25:520:25:54

to raise money for charity,

0:25:540:25:56

and to do that is pretty disgusting, I was disgusted, to be fair.

0:25:560:26:00

When Robert hears about the theft he is appalled but hopeful that the

0:26:010:26:05

thief will be tracked down.

0:26:050:26:07

All of the shops in Hull, we're all working together,

0:26:070:26:10

we all share information.

0:26:100:26:11

We've all got CCTV and there's CCTV on the streets.

0:26:110:26:15

We work very closely with the police.

0:26:150:26:17

So whoever is regularly shoplifting, they will always get caught.

0:26:170:26:21

Luckily the footage the store has given to the HullBID team has some

0:26:210:26:25

clear images of the crook's face.

0:26:250:26:27

Once they'd looked at it,

0:26:280:26:29

they identified him more or less straightaway.

0:26:290:26:32

In the past fortnight there's been a series of charity-tin thefts in

0:26:320:26:35

Hull and CCTV from other shops reveals this man is responsible.

0:26:350:26:41

It's really an atrocious thing to do

0:26:410:26:43

and this man had made a habit out of doing it.

0:26:430:26:46

The thief's face is circulated around town and a few days later

0:26:460:26:50

he's tracked down by the police and arrested.

0:26:500:26:53

With such clear video evidence against him,

0:26:530:26:55

the man realises he's bang to rights.

0:26:550:26:58

The money will never get returned, but it's quite pleasing to know they

0:26:580:27:01

will get stopped from doing it to somebody else.

0:27:010:27:03

In court the 21-year-old man pleaded guilty to ten counts of theft,

0:27:050:27:10

to possessing a bladed article

0:27:100:27:12

and to breaking bail conditions.

0:27:120:27:14

He was sentenced to 46 weeks in prison.

0:27:140:27:17

Back at the pet food store,

0:27:230:27:25

they haven't let the incident stop them from keeping the charity

0:27:250:27:28

collection boxes on display.

0:27:280:27:29

For all the people that do things like that,

0:27:310:27:33

there's a lot more nicer people that come into the shop and that's what

0:27:330:27:36

keeps the shop ticking over.

0:27:360:27:38

You know, hopefully we can carry on helping and supporting the local

0:27:380:27:42

charities for a long time in the future and I know our customers

0:27:420:27:44

are going to do that as well.

0:27:440:27:46

Robert personally replaced the money that Hull Animal Welfare

0:27:460:27:50

had lost due to the theft and their charity tin still has pride of

0:27:500:27:54

place in his store.

0:27:540:27:55

There's lots of people that have supported us from the beginning

0:27:550:27:58

and we're praying that everybody still keeps on supporting us,

0:27:580:28:03

to keep us helping more animals.

0:28:030:28:05

That's all for today.

0:28:110:28:12

You've seen just a few of the thousands of criminals

0:28:120:28:14

who are captured on camera every year.

0:28:140:28:17

Join us next time to see more villains

0:28:170:28:20

who have been caught red-handed.

0:28:200:28:21

A couple who own a sports club are shocked when they find out why a family friend has been stealing from them, and an antiques thief takes some expensive lamps - but doesn't realise the spotlight is on her.