Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. Featuring a ram raid by a pair of bickering burglars, and a thief who helps himself to two hanging baskets.
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Thieves will steal our cash, our cars, our valuables,
just about anything they can get their hands on.
But now, the police are using cutting-edge technology to catch the bad guys.
We want to make sure we've got a concrete case.
Enough evidence to convict at court.
Local councils, shops, and businesses
are fighting crime with their own tricks and traps.
Just unbelievable that she thinks she can get away with this.
And the public are using secret cameras
to make sure the crooks get their comeuppance.
Fair means or foul, I was going to get rid of him.
I thought, we've got her!
I was so happy, thank God!
So anyone who's up to no good had better think twice.
They might just get caught red-handed!
Today, Carolyn and the Gary's happy family home becomes a crime scene
when burglars raid their house
and then go on a shopping spree with their bank cards.
It affected Carolyn pretty badly, really.
How can these people do such a thing?
But the next day, a chance sighting of the thieves
leads to a high speed police pursuit.
Left, left, left.
A shocking crash.
Stand-by, he's crashed, he's crashed.
And a frantic chase on foot.
Also today, a ram raid in the dead of night.
But this isn't a bank or post office,
it's Dawn and Roly's garden machinery workshop.
I just felt sick to the bottom of my stomach
that somebody had been in here.
But these two readers spend more time arguing than stealing.
They just can't decide who's in the driving seat.
Also later, a cheeky thief decides to help himself to two hanging baskets
full of flowers but the baskets aren't the only things coming down.
So are his trousers.
Because modern cars are hard to steal,
thieves are increasingly breaking into people's houses
to get their car keys
and that means that the victims have got the emotional upset
of a burglary, as well as losing their car.
A suburban residential road in Hyde in Greater Manchester.
Married couple Gary and Carolyn decided this was a good spot
to bring up their two daughters, Millie and Libby.
I've lived here for most of my life, so I knew the area, nice and quiet.
We love it here, we've got lovely neighbours.
The children play on the front
and it's where we thought that we'd be safe
and that our children would be safe.
Carolyn and Gary both work full-time,
Gary recently started a new job and was handed a brand-new company BMW.
Never had anything as exotic as a BM before.
I think he might like the idea of driving a nice sporty BMW car.
Really chuffed to get that.
Last year, the couple organised a well-earned break for the family.
We'd always planned to go away in the half-term holidays,
so we decided that we'd go to EuroDisney.
It was an important time for us,
to have family time away together.
And we're going off into the new car so that was exciting times.
But the holiday they're so looking forward to
is nearly ruined before it even started.
It's late at night,
a few days before their planned holiday
and the family is fast asleep in bed.
Earlier in the day, Carolyn received two new bank cards
in the post.
They're safe inside her handbag downstairs.
Or so she thinks.
At 3am Carolyn suddenly woken by a text on her phone from her bank.
It said "Cards declined, contact the fraud squad."
But Carolyn hasn't used her new cards yet so she assumes the bank
is making a mistake and goes back to sleep.
But this is no mistake, her two new bank cards are being used,
by someone else.
This security footage from a nearby supermarket shows what has happened.
Two men have rushed to a cash point
and withdrawn £500 with Carolyn's cards.
Then a little later another all-night supermarket camera
shows these two men entering with an empty trolley.
But it isn't empty for long.
Next we see them approaching a self-service till with a large television.
But their attempt to buy the TV comes unstuck,
it's judged to be unusual activity by Carolyn's bank's computer system
and the transaction is declined.
That's why Carolyn has received the alert from the bank.
At 6am, she wakes up to get ready for work.
I came into the kitchen and saw that the cupboard doors were wide open
and my bag, some of the contents were just scattered on the floor.
Carolyn rushes upstairs to tell Gary.
It was that point I then looked out of the window, checked the cars,
mine wasn't there, so you're thinking,
something's happened somewhere.
They go back downstairs and the full horror hits them.
The window had been smashed, we left the keys in the door,
they'd reached through,
got the keys and let themselves in, which leaves you a bit distraught
knowing you made it very easy for them.
They realised Carolyn's bank cards and Gary's car key and his car
It's shock and disbelief, really.
It's the thought that somebody had actually broken into our home
whilst we were in bed.
But I'm thinking I can't believe I've not heard it.
I would have heard the glass smashing, I should've done more.
Gary phones the police and Carolyn calls the bank.
She finds out about the £500 taken out of their bank account.
We have no money to pay for the holiday now,
as that's where the holiday money was.
We have no way of getting there,
we're booked onto the ferries, we're booked into hotels.
You're just thinking, it's just all gone wrong at the wrong time.
The case is passed to Detective Sergeant Roger Smethurst
of the Greater Manchester Police serious and organised crime group.
It's important if you've been a victim of a burglary
that you feel safe within your own house
and part of that is knowing that the people
responsible for it have been caught an are in prison and aren't going to come back again.
And it is really something that I'm really passionate about.
In recent years,
Roger has seen a worrying rise in the number of cases of car thieves
breaking into houses.
Long gone are the days where cars are stolen off the street
through just forcing a look and hot-wiring the ignition.
And what we've seen is an increasing number of burglaries,
where people will break into properties
in order to get the vehicle keys.
Roger believes Gary's new BMW
is the reason his house has been targeted by organised criminals.
The question is, can he find out who they are?
Later, an eagle-eyed officer spots Gary's car
on the streets of Manchester.
The thieves realise they're being followed
and recklessly try to escape.
First by car.
And then on foot.
And now for a theft that could be called a basket case
for more than one reason.
This man striding up to the front door of a house
apparently has a bit of a hang-up about hanging baskets.
He unhooks not one,
but two of them...
..and runs down the road in a dainty fashion.
To make the whole thing even more ridiculous...
..his trousers start falling down.
Obviously, he can't pull them up
because his hands are full with somebody else's flowers.
But the police don't hang about identifying him,
as these security cameras have captured his face.
Also the house's owner,
after wondering why on earth anybody would want to pinch his plants,
puts the embarrassing footage on social media.
It turns out this man is no budding criminal, he's got previous.
Ironically, being caught taking down hanging baskets
meant he was actually in breach of a suspended sentence.
He was given three months in jail, where, presumably,
he'll have had plenty of time to weave a few baskets of his own.
Ram raiders attack a family-run garden machinery business.
They've come to steal and when at first they don't succeed,
they try again,
But these two amateurish raiders are in for a surprise.
Good afternoon. Can I help you, please?
On an industrial estate in Hampshire there's a garden machinery workshop
run by Roly, his wife Dawn, and their son, Sam.
It's a local business, family-run, servicing,
repairing, sales, of equipment used in the garden.
Roly was working at the company 17 years ago when the owner,
who was retiring, offered him the chance to take it over.
Roly came home and said, "Do you want to buy a lawnmower company?"
And I guess the rest is history!
They found running a garden equipment business
was no bed of roses.
Early days, life was pretty tough.
All our savings, everything went into it.
I was working with Roly during the day.
I was working nights at Sainsbury's.
Young Sam kept busy as well.
I was servicing motors at, like, ten years old.
Obviously, accompanied by my dad.
I was just kind of having a bit of a vibe that, you know,
this is what I want to do when I'm older and, 17 years later, here I am.
As the business grew, the family could relax a little bit more.
They've even found time to put their expertise with small engines
to use having some fun.
They go mower racing.
The lawn mower racing is a charity run club.
We all pay money to race and any local charities
benefit from what we do.
I help do a lot of the time scoring.
It's having fun but also raising good money for the charities
that we do.
But then, after all the years of working hard and raising money for
charity, the family suddenly and dramatically
become victims of crime.
Early one morning in January, the family are driving to the workshop.
They have been woken by an alert from their alarm system,
but they've had false alarms before, and when they arrive,
everything seems OK.
Checked, obviously, outside, couldn't see anything.
We've gone through and having a look,
there isn't really any sign of any break in.
Sam was in front of me and then suddenly Sam was just like,
"Oh, my goodness."
It hit me very hard because we see a hole in the middle of the wall
and it's a double-skinned wall.
Somebody's taken a lot of time to get through that wall.
It's a shock to see the extent of the damage to their building.
I just felt sick to the bottom of my stomach,
that somebody had been in here.
Sam calls the police.
Having a little deep breathe in and out and having a look,
that was then when you start to notice, right, this is missing,
that's gone missing.
Oh, my goodness, we've been wiped out of chainsaws.
I was just devastated beyond words, really.
£9,000 worth of equipment has been stolen.
It makes me really angry,
because we've put everything into this and when somebody does that,
it takes everything away from what you've, you know, worked for.
The police arrive and look at the shop's CCTV recording.
Though it's captured one of the burglars stealing some chainsaws,
it doesn't provide any leads.
Unfortunately, they were masked.
They came equipped, they knew what they were doing, there was no trace.
They even took the bricks with them as well,
from the hole in the back of the workshop.
It's very frustrating.
I mean, you can see on the CCTV the person that's done it,
but there's no evidence to suggest who it is.
The police investigation makes no headway and, in the following weeks,
the family has to try and put the burglary behind them.
But then, two months later,
Dawn receives another alert in the early hours.
Every night I'd been checking my phone,
just making sure the property's fine.
So when the alarm had gone off,
it was just disbelief and I couldn't pick my phone up quick enough.
The workshop CCTV system sends a live stream to Dawn's phone.
She's horrified to see a car ramming into their workshop.
My heart just drops.
I couldn't believe that we were being targeted again.
I dialled 999 straightaway.
My mum was watching this car burst its way into
the front of the workshop.
It was happening right now.
I'm down and out the door.
My old man, Roly,
he jumps in the car with me and we didn't really know what was
going to happen, but we were going to do whatever was necessary.
As Sam races to the shop with his dad,
Dawn continues watching the ram raid on her mobile and keeps the police
updated on a landline.
I was sort of relaying everything that was happening.
There are two men in the car that's rammed the building's
front metal shutter.
The driver gets out and looks inside.
Obviously it's dark, they can't see a thing.
The driver goes back to the car and picks up a torch,
then he stumbles back inside the pitch-black building.
The other man stays in the passenger seat.
The one inside then scrambles back to the car.
It's just horrible watching it.
They then appear to drive off - but not for long.
They turn around to ram the shutter again.
It seems their first ramming hadn't left them enough room to take
anything, and it looks like they've bungled it again.
I don't think they knew what they were doing.
They had a little fight outside, you could see it on the CCTV.
The driver gets out and the passenger jumps across into the driver's seat,
but the driver's having none of it
and angrily pushes the passenger back in his place.
They ram the shutter again.
The passenger opens his door so he can jump out,
but the driver doesn't give him the chance.
He rams the building so hard this time,
he manages to get clear of the shutter and runs inside.
But it seems his accomplice doesn't want to stick around.
He shuffles over to the driver's side and reverses out,
abandoning the mission.
The other man runs after him, jumps into the car just in time
and they head off.
Sam and his dad reach the shop seconds later.
When we got down here, we'd only literally just missed them.
I went straight for the office and went through the camera.
Soon after Sam starts watching the footage, the police arrive,
closely followed by Dawn.
I came down in my pyjamas
and just absolutely couldn't believe what I was seeing.
To see the shutter demolished,
I was just totally lost for what to do.
The police officers are impressed
with the quality of the CCTV pictures.
We got the number plate of the vehicle, we got the make,
we knew exactly what car it was.
The officers with Sam radio an alert for colleagues to watch out
for a blue car with those plates, and they don't have to wait long.
All of a sudden, police officers are jumping in their cars and going.
Five of them just darted off.
Sam and Roly came out the office and say, "Don't worry", you know,
"They think there's a bit of action happening".
The suspect vehicle has been stopped by police officers
in a patrol car nearby.
They've got them on the side of the road, you know,
just five or ten minutes up the road.
It's a great relief to the family
that the men have been caught so quickly.
I can't even put into words how fantastic that felt,
and straightaway they admitted what they'd done.
I think both of them were drunk.
It turns out the men have committed a number of crimes,
but there's no evidence to tie them to the previous burglary
at the mower shop.
That was a much slicker operation than this clumsy attempt.
I understand they'd been on a little bit of a naughty spree
of doing other things.
With our quick response of seeing the issue,
phoning the police and having them down as quick as we did,
ended up with the arrest.
In court, one of the men was sentenced to two years in prison,
suspended for two years, while the other man got 14 months in prison,
suspended for 18 months.
They were both banned from driving for three years,
ordered to undergo alcohol treatment programmes
and to pay £140 in victim surcharges.
The family was grateful for the support they received
from friends and neighbours after the raid.
You can see true people and true friends, family,
in these very bad incidents.
It's good to know that people have got your back and the police,
I thank them greatly for the quick response that they gave that night.
They have reinforced their defences with bollards
to prevent further ram raids and a strong fence round the back,
together with more cameras.
We're not going to be beaten.
We've got a healthy future and we're here to stay.
There are millions of security cameras in the UK
and they're proving highly effective in helping to catch criminals.
But if you're thinking of taking the plunge and investing in CCTV,
what are the dos and what are the don'ts?
You need to think about what you want that CCTV to achieve.
Is it just an inside, is it an outside shot?
Does it need to be activated by motion?
Do you need to be able to see in the dark?
The best type of cameras to get fitted nowadays are those that have
got remote viewing through smartphones,
which means that people can be away on holiday, abroad.
We sometimes get offences reported in Darlington,
whereby people are in Spain, for example, and they'll report
suspicious activity or burglaries at their home addresses.
If you've got a CCTV system, you need to maintain it.
You need to keep it working and in best order.
Keep the cameras clean.
If you've got remote cameras,
they may even require batteries that need changing.
When positioning your CCTV cameras,
it's always important to do a trial run.
Have a look at the footage that you capture and is it what you want?
Just by having some CCTV cameras and some signage up around your
property, could be enough of a deterrent for a potential offender
to actually move on from your property.
We're back in Greater Manchester,
where there's been a break-in at Gary and Carolyn's house.
Gary's company car and Carolyn's bank cards have been stolen,
just before a family holiday to Disneyland.
It's frightening, intruders coming into your home.
Yes, they've taken the car, but you're thinking,
"Well, what more could they have done?"
Our daughters were fully aware what had happened
and I really felt that I had to sort of stay strong and hold it together
for them, so I did my crying away from them.
The burglars had used the stolen bank cards to withdraw £500 from a
cashpoint and had then tried to buy expensive items from a supermarket.
At Greater Manchester Police,
Detective Sergeant Roger Smethurst spots similarities to other recent
break-ins and believes the same gang could be responsible.
At the outset, we'd started to look at each individual burglary as it
was reported and see what clues we could pick up through it.
And we found that, A, there were jobs that were happening overnight.
B, the similarity was that there were cars were being stolen
and also we were a similarity in the MO,
in that we were getting windows smashed at a ground floor level,
usually with items that had been left within the victim's garden.
It led us to believe that it was the same people who were committing
Roger and his team examined footage from roadside surveillance
cameras and find that after they are stolen,
the cars are always driven to the same area of Greater Manchester.
The footage also gives them another clue.
It became apparent that every time we saw a stolen car go through
a camera, we were also seeing a hire car go through the camera.
Roger believes that the thieves are using hire cars
to get to each burglary.
I think the hirer of the vehicle was working on the theory that by
changing cars regularly, the police wouldn't be able to catch up
with him and wouldn't realise that he was actually involved.
But one of those hire cars is about to give the burglars away.
12 hours after Carolyn and Gary's break-in,
officers in an unmarked police car notice a hired vehicle that raises
We've got officers deployed whose job is seeking stolen cars,
when they spotted one of these hire vehicles.
The hire car is the black one waiting at the lights
in front of the red car.
It's been flagged up by the Police National Computer because the man
who's hired this car is one of their suspects.
In hiring the cars, obviously you're expected to provide identification,
all the hire car companies have CCTV in place.
The car was hired by this man.
Previous vehicles that he's hired have been seen alongside stolen cars
on numerous occasions.
Police think he could be involved in this series of burglaries.
So the officers stay on his tail.
As they went to stop it, they then noticed the red BMW.
This BMW seems to be following the hired vehicle.
It's the same make and model as Gary's car that had been stolen
overnight from outside his house.
The officers did a bit more research
and realised it was on false number plates.
As a result, the officers then decided
that they would then try and stop the BMW instead.
The officers need to wait until it's safe to bring it to a halt.
The police officer, he's got to consider the weather,
the volume of traffic,
the frequency of pedestrians and other members of the public,
but, ultimately, if it's come from a burglary,
it's a serious crime and something that the public would expect us
to do something about.
But the suspects must realise they're being followed.
They suddenly accelerate and the cars split up and speed off in
The BMW is reaching dangerous speeds.
The officers have to continually weigh up the risks
of trying to stop him.
The suspect starts going through red lights and driving on the wrong side
of the road.
These people are prepared to go to any length
in order to remain at large.
The BMW has been reaching speeds of around 70mph.
While the driver sprints away,
this camera in another police car films officers trying to apprehend
-Do it, do it, get the door.
His passenger is going nowhere.
Now, officers go to look for the driver.
He was found and he was arrested.
Back at the scene of the crash, paramedics are called to tend to
the shocked occupants of the people carrier hit by the stolen car.
Thankfully, none of them suffered
any serious injuries as a result of the collision
and shock was really the main thing that everybody suffered from.
The two men in the BMW
are taken to a police station for questioning.
The man in the hire car is still at large, but not for long.
Officers find him back at his house and they arrest him, too.
Interestingly, when we examined the phone of the hire car driver,
he also had some footage on there of other burglaries
and other stolen cars.
The police find other incriminating evidence, too.
The real number plates of the BMW are inside the stolen car.
A piece of paper is found at the hire car driver's house
with the same registration written on it.
CCTV from the supermarket shows
he was one of the men trying to buy goods with Carolyn's bank cards.
And CCTV from the hire car company clearly shows his face
as he picks up the vehicle.
His involvement turns out to be the main link between the crimes.
Over a period of time, we were able to establish that this male had been
involved in up to ten other burglaries, and that's ten other
members of the public who have been distressed and upset.
Roger and his team are able to build a watertight case
against the burglars.
In court, the driver of the hire car was sentenced to
five years and eight months in prison
for conspiracy to commit burglary.
The thief in the BMW was sentenced to just under three years.
There wasn't enough evidence to convict the man in the passenger
seat, but Roger still has good news for the victims of the two burglars.
It's so rewarding to be able to go back to those ten people and say,
"We've caught the person
"who's responsible for breaking into your house.
"There're in prison and you can now sleep safely in your beds".
That made me feel a little bit more safer,
knowing that they were behind bars.
And the family did manage to go on their trip to Disneyland.
The company did have a spare vehicle,
so we were able to go on the holiday.
The bank replaced the money that was stolen out of the accounts.
The girls loved Disney, and we did.
You know, we were looking forward to this trip.
It was fantastic, to be honest,
which was just what the doctor ordered after what we went through.
That's it for today, and that's it for a few more criminals
who have been caught red-handed.
Featuring a ram raid by a pair of bickering burglars, and a cheeky thief who helps himself to two hanging baskets - but the flowers aren't the only things coming down, so are his trousers!