Episode 19 Caught Red Handed


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Episode 19

Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. A burglar uses his backside to break into a hair salon, and two heartless thieves steal charity money.


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Transcript


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

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just about anything they can get their hands on.

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But now, the police are using cutting-edge technology to

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catch the bad guys.

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You want to make sure you've got a concrete case.

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Enough evidence to convince a 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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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 their 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, hairdresser Jenny is distraught that her salon is raided

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by burglars twice in a fortnight.

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One uses a crowbar to smash his way in.

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Another uses his backside to bash his way in.

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But Jenny finds some important evidence the intruder left behind.

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I was pleased that we found it.

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I felt we were piecing together a puzzle.

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I wasn't going to rest until I got them.

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Also today, builder Chris can't find his cement mixer.

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Maybe he's got things all mixed up.

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It starts your mind thinking, "I DID leave it there, didn't I?"

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I thought, "It was there this morning, I know it was."

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Can Chris solve the missing mixer mystery?

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Also later, Martin and Linda are trying to raise funds for treatment

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that could save their daughter Kelly's life.

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But someone's been stealing the money that people are donating.

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It's a stab in my heart.

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Who the heck would do that to us?

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The family set out to track down the heartless thief,

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then discover he's not the only person stealing money

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meant for their daughter.

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Big businesses have always been able to afford effective security.

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But now that CCTV is getting cheaper, thieves had best beware,

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because there are eyes watching you everywhere.

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Even a hair salon in a small town.

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Strood is part of London's commuter belt.

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In the town centre, Jenny runs a hair salon.

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And HER roots are in this area, too.

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She grew up in the town and has lived here most of her adult life.

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Her first-ever job was as a Saturday girl

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at a nearby hairdresser's, when she was just 13.

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I used to hair wash, sweep the floor, make teas and coffees.

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Just assist, really.

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Jenny worked her way up to become a fully-qualified hairstylist.

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And then she decided at the age of 26 to open her own salon.

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It was a big risk, but I was quite established, and I just thought,

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"Do it and go and branch out on my own."

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Jenny enjoys training younger proteges, like Harman.

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Are you blow-drying now?

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Jenny is a very fun, enthusiastic character.

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That's why I work here, because of her.

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I've got a fabulous, fabulous team.

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I couldn't do anything else. Love my job.

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But Jenny's upbeat attitude to life at her salon is about

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to come under threat because of a burglary.

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In fact, two burglaries in quick succession.

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It's 8:30 on a Monday morning in spring.

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Harman arrives at the salon to open up, and is shocked by what he finds.

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I saw the reception, and I was like, "What happened here?

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"Why is it all a mess?"

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Then I went to the stock room.

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The safe had literally been ripped out.

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All the products and everything just chucked everywhere.

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Then I went out to the back and that's when I saw the bathroom,

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and there's a massive hole in the window.

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He calls Jenny and she rushes in.

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There was stock everywhere, CCTV had been stolen, camera smashed up.

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Had the salon five years, I've built it up on my own,

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and then someone just comes in and does that - it's just awful,

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horrible to see.

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As it all sinks in, they start to realise the extent

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of what's been taken.

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All the tip jars got stolen, there was quite a lot of money in them.

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£100, roughly.

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And obviously, since Christmas, we were building it up and then

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for someone to just take that, it's a bit like, "Whoa..."

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And the tip jars are not all that's missing.

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We had raffle money, that all got stolen.

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Petty cash got stolen.

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Float got stolen.

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In the safe there was just short of a grand of cash

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and an expensive pair of clippers.

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It's like a week's worth of wages that puts me back off,

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I've still got to pay everyone.

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Jenny calls the police,

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and knowing they'll need to look for forensic evidence,

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she feels she has no choice but to shut up shop for the day.

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It was our late-night as well, so we've lost a whole day's money,

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it really affected us.

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As they wait for the police,

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Jenny remembers that even though the salon's own CCTV system was stolen,

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there are other security cameras nearby that might have

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filmed the crooks.

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I thought, "Oh, but thank God, our building is monitored by CCTV."

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We went upstairs and got it and we watched it.

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What the outside cameras have recorded comes as a shock.

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Late the previous night,

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a man creeps towards the back of the salon.

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He's carrying a crowbar.

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The man uses both hands to lift it,

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and smash one of the salon's windows.

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He starts to reach in.

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This camera's footage ends here.

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But images from another of the building's cameras show the face

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of the burglar who broke in to the salon.

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And he appears to have an accomplice.

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Neither of them is carrying the crowbar.

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So Jenny thinks they must have discarded it.

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She goes out to search the nearby streets,

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and finds it next to a wall.

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I was pleased that we found it.

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I felt like we were piecing together a puzzle.

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And when the police forensic team arrive, there's more good news.

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Where the safe was, they found a bloody fingerprint

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right at the back.

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The police take away the CCTV and the crowbar Jenny found

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as they seek to identify the men.

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Jenny cleans up the mess and boards the window

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so she can reopen the salon.

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We're just a small business.

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You know, it's hard enough for us to survive, anyway.

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In the days that follow,

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Jenny tries to earn back some of the money she's lost.

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But less than a fortnight after the break-in,

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the routine of her salon is shattered again -

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along with another of its windows.

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It's just gone midnight and a suspicious-looking man loiters

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outside the salon.

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He has a brick and he throws it at the salon's front window.

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But it doesn't completely smash the reinforced glass panel.

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So, he tries to smash through the salon's front door.

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But again, fails.

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So he hits upon an unusual, rather desperate tactic.

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He starts ramming the door with his rear end to try to break through the panel.

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For the next 15 minutes,

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the man uses this rather comic combination of brick and backside

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to try to fashion a hole big enough to wriggle through.

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Eventually, he succeeds.

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He's in the salon for ten minutes before he comes crawling out.

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The next morning, Jenny gets a call at home saying her salon's

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been broken into yet again.

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"What? No, no way!"

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I've come running down here,

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and it was just a shock seeing a massive hole in my front door.

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It doesn't look good cos when we're opening, we've got no shop front.

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It looks like the ghetto salon.

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The shop's takings are no longer kept on the premises.

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So, all the burglar's got away with is the float in the till.

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But he's caused hundreds of pounds' worth of damage.

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He's done it all for £40.

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£40 float.

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Feeling that her business is under siege,

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Jenny takes the drastic action of sleeping in the salon overnight.

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I didn't have an alarm, I didn't have any cameras,

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I just had wooden boards on the front of the shop.

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And I thought, if someone wanted to come through,

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they could just come back and clean me out.

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And this is all I have.

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That was the only option I had, was to stay in, protecting myself.

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After camping out in the salon for three nights,

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Jenny decides she wants to help the police solve these burglaries.

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So, she puts the CCTV images of all three suspects on social media.

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After the second break-in, I was at my wits' end,

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and I wasn't going to rest until I got them.

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So, I put it online.

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We've got a really good, loyal client base.

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I think they were really upset for us.

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You know, they can see we all work so hard.

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They really helped us, share the posts and get it to go viral.

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Information about the men in the pictures comes flooding in.

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I've received names, I've received addresses.

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We then pass that information onto the police and then let them

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deal with the matter.

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Aided by Jenny's leads,

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police are able to track down and arrest all three men.

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The public and my clients really, really helped us, so I'm thankful.

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With all the evidence stacked up against them,

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all three burglars realised there's no escape.

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In court, the man who used a crowbar to break into Jenny's salon received

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a 23-month sentence for numerous burglaries.

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His partner in crime pleaded guilty to burglary and was sent to prison

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for 18 months.

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The man who broke into the salon the second time also pleaded guilty.

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He was sentenced to 26 weeks' imprisonment,

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suspended for 12 months.

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After being broken into twice in such a short space of time,

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Jenny has improved the salon's defences.

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We've got more cameras, we've got an alarm now.

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Hopefully fingers crossed, we won't have any more break-ins.

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Jenny and her team are looking forward to more highlights than

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lowlights in the future.

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This year we're going to do lots of competitions,

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so we are all excited as a salon about that, so watch out!

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There we are, my darling. Do you like it?

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All done.

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Unfortunately, for people who've been through the distress of being

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burgled, there's an increased chance of it happening again.

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So, what can people do to avoid becoming a repeat victim of crime?

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Offenders talk amongst themselves.

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Burglars will talk amongst themselves about

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the success they've had at various properties.

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Those individuals that have targeted your house before have

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a good idea that you're likely to replace items,

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particularly if you've been insured.

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So thinking about boxes that you leave out on the drive for

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recycling, think about packaging,

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think about these things that may advertise, "Oh, I've had these items

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"replaced, come back and take them."

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What you need to do is reassess the security on your home,

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the security on your lights and your alarm system, window locks,

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door locks and the items that you leave on display.

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Invest in some crime prevention.

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That could be a sticker in the window saying, "No cold callers."

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It could be a sticker in the window saying, "We have CCTV or a dog."

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If you are a victim of crime,

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most forces in the country provide a service where actually officers,

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specially trained officers, crime prevention officers,

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will come do a survey of your property and give you suitable

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advice and recommendations of how you can make it safer.

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And now, this drive-thru burger bar

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is about to become a climb-thru.

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This woman has pulled up in her car in the early hours, to find

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the fast food restaurant closed,

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but the serving hatch has been left unlocked.

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So she's decided on a bit of a self-service.

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The thirsty thief starts by pilfering some pop,

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but her appetite for crime soon increases and she tries,

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with some difficulty, to wriggle in through the window.

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Unknown to her, every move of this undignified entrance

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is caught on camera.

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Next, the woman decides to go large and raid the restaurant

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for whatever she can get her hands on.

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But the butter-fingered thief struggles to keep hold of her booty.

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And this isn't just a BURGER-LARY,

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the woman eventually scrambles out with over a grand in cash as well as

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other food items.

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When police post this clip online...

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..she's identified,

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which means she's had her chips

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and won't be having a happy meal for quite some time.

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Chris and his wife Jackie live in Wells in Somerset.

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They grew up in villages near here,

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and have never felt the need to leave the area.

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Wells is quite quiet, it's quite sleepy,

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it's low in crime and it's just nice and friendly.

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It's such a lovely area, you've got city, countryside, everything, so, why worry?

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Chris took up building shortly after he and Jackie got married in 1986.

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We bought our first house when I was 19, and it needed renovating.

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So, my father-in-law, who was a builder,

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was advising us how to do it and all the rest of it, and I thought,

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"I like this."

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Chris went to college to learn the trade,

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then started his own business and hasn't looked back for 30 years.

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Going into someone's house,

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when they've been thinking about an idea for, like, two or three years,

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and actually make it happen and they come out and go, "Wow,"

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it gives you a good feeling.

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As well as raising their kids, Callum and Victoria,

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the couple have also either built or renovated all the homes they've lived in.

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Their latest project is converting a small bungalow into a larger house.

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It's hard graft, but it's rewarding as well.

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Ultimately, you get to live in something a lot better than what you

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could normally afford to buy.

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Though the couple generally agree about how to renovate their houses,

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they didn't see eye-to-eye about fitting CCTV into their latest home.

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In one of our other houses,

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somebody broke into the shed and nicked some tools.

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And I've had one ever since.

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I thought it was a complete waste of money.

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We were living in Wells, who's ever going to nick anything

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or come up our drive?

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But that's exactly what does happen.

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And Jackie ends up being thankful that they have security cameras

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poised to film the dirty deed.

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It's a Monday in the summer,

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and Chris is driving home after working on a project in Bristol.

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I was just finishing off a job

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which I managed to finish off by one o'clock,

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and it weren't worth starting anything else,

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so I thought I'd come home and do three hours' laying patio slabs.

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Chris plans to use his cement mixer,

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which is pictured here in a photo from a few months earlier.

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But when he gets home, he notices that it isn't where he left it.

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Drove through the driveway,

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looked at the space where the mixer was, thinking, "Who's had my mixer?"

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Thinking, "Did I actually have it there?"

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And I thought, "No, it was there this morning. I know it was."

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Chris goes inside and rewinds security camera footage to try and

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solve the mystery.

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He's stunned when he sees that, two hours earlier,

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there is a white van on his property which isn't supposed to be there.

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I was surprised to see a van reversing up the drive

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and a woman getting out and a bloke sliding across the seat to get out

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as well, open the side door,

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pick it up like it was nothing, put it in the van, put the stand on top,

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shut the door, and drive out.

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50 seconds, in and out and gone. Unbelievable.

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The heavy piece of equipment is worth £400.

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Chris is gutted it's gone.

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How people can just come waltzing, take it without a blink of an eye,

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you know, this is our home, this is a place where we should all feel safe.

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You know, it is only a cement mixer, but it still,

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I still feel violated by them coming in and just pinching stuff,

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and it's a horrible feeling.

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Chris takes the video to the local police station and reports the crime.

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Then he shows the clip to his family when they get home.

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They are outraged by the brazen theft.

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You're annoyed that you're trying to be a law-abiding citizen and

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work hard, and somebody comes along and blatantly takes something

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that belongs to you.

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The family decides to do a bit of digging around for information.

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Wells isn't a large place.

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And if the thieves are locals, then someone may know who they are.

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My daughter said, "I'll put it on Facebook and see if anyone recognises them."

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And then, within an hour, you had 24 replies.

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We were inundated, everybody seemed to know exactly who it was.

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When you've got 24 people saying it's the same people,

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it's got to be, isn't it?

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Chris doesn't use social media,

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but he's pleased that the rest of his family does.

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It was quite remarkable, actually,

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how people monitor what's going on all the time, which is a good thing.

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I mean, it's just nice to know that there are people around willing to

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support you in any situation like that.

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The police track down and arrest the couple whose names were given to Chris.

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Initially, they claim they were

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picking up the cement mixer for a friend.

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But soon realise that no-one believes them.

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In court, the pair pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay nearly £300

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each in fines, costs and compensation.

0:19:150:19:17

Chris was delighted the thieves hadn't gotten away with the crime.

0:19:220:19:26

Definitely glad they were caught so they could be named and shamed,

0:19:270:19:30

basically, and then everybody knew

0:19:300:19:32

that these people are thieving people.

0:19:320:19:35

You know, if you see them around your van or anything,

0:19:350:19:37

tell them to go away.

0:19:370:19:39

And Jackie now admits that it was

0:19:390:19:41

the right decision to install the CCTV system.

0:19:410:19:45

I did have to swallow my words,

0:19:450:19:46

because I had complained about the fact that he spent money on it.

0:19:460:19:50

So...yeah, he was right on that one.

0:19:500:19:53

A man steals donations intended

0:20:000:20:02

to help save the life of a 17-year-old girl.

0:20:020:20:04

Then, a different thief steals donations meant for the same

0:20:080:20:12

good cause from another shop nearby.

0:20:120:20:15

The girl's parents are outraged.

0:20:150:20:17

But, there's a chance security cameras can help catch these callous thieves.

0:20:170:20:21

Dover in Kent -

0:20:290:20:31

home to Martin and Linda and their 17-year-old daughter, Kelly.

0:20:310:20:34

Kelly is just so gorgeous.

0:20:350:20:38

I remember when she was born, it was such a wonderful experience in life.

0:20:380:20:43

And as a kid, she was always fun-loving, a real tinker.

0:20:430:20:48

She's our only child, and she's like my best friend, really.

0:20:490:20:54

I just love her to bits.

0:20:540:20:55

When she was 15, Kelly started to suffer from severe stomach pains.

0:20:570:21:02

Following hospital tests and scans, the family received

0:21:020:21:05

the terrible news that she had a very rare and lethal

0:21:050:21:08

type of cancer.

0:21:080:21:10

I couldn't believe it.

0:21:110:21:13

Kelly started crying, oh, it's just hard to describe,

0:21:130:21:16

but it was awful and I didn't know how to console her and I couldn't

0:21:160:21:20

believe it myself.

0:21:200:21:21

The family were given hope when they found a hospital in New York which

0:21:220:21:26

might be able to help Kelly, but it was a shock

0:21:260:21:29

when they were told how much the treatment would cost.

0:21:290:21:32

Martin dropped to his knees,

0:21:330:21:35

showed me the estimated bill

0:21:350:21:38

would be 1,200,000, and...

0:21:380:21:43

..I was so shocked and disappointed.

0:21:450:21:48

But, you know, you just can't let your child die.

0:21:480:21:51

No, you have to do something.

0:21:510:21:54

The family began a fundraising campaign.

0:21:540:21:56

Linda took a redundancy package from work and Martin semi-retired so they

0:21:560:22:01

could put all their energy into raising money.

0:22:010:22:04

We went about it by setting up a Facebook page, a Twitter page.

0:22:040:22:08

The local papers have been good at supporting us,

0:22:080:22:10

as have the local media.

0:22:100:22:12

Many people in Dover took Kelly's plight to their hearts.

0:22:130:22:16

Martin and Linda left collection tins in businesses all over town.

0:22:160:22:21

And after nearly two years,

0:22:210:22:22

the family had raised almost two-thirds of the money they needed

0:22:220:22:26

for the treatment in New York.

0:22:260:22:27

Every single coin that goes into any collecting boxes, counts.

0:22:280:22:33

But then, as if Martin, Linda,

0:22:340:22:36

and Kelly didn't have enough to contend with,

0:22:360:22:39

they find that someone is stealing their donation money.

0:22:390:22:43

It's a weekday in summer,

0:22:480:22:50

and the family are at the hospital in London,

0:22:500:22:52

when they receive a distressing phone call

0:22:520:22:54

from a Chinese restaurant in Dover.

0:22:540:22:56

Someone has stolen one of Kelly's collection tins from their counter.

0:22:560:23:01

Who would do that to us?

0:23:010:23:04

We took it immediately really personally.

0:23:040:23:06

It's a stab to my heart.

0:23:060:23:08

I was shocked somebody would stoop so low as to want to steal

0:23:090:23:14

a sick girl's charity tin.

0:23:140:23:15

The restaurant has a CCTV camera,

0:23:160:23:19

but the footage isn't clear enough to identify the thief.

0:23:190:23:22

The family travel back to Dover, and over the next few days,

0:23:220:23:26

they find out another five collection tins have been stolen.

0:23:260:23:29

What's going on? It just got worse and worse.

0:23:310:23:35

But, we've got to get the funds, whatever.

0:23:350:23:38

And that galvanised us into buying

0:23:380:23:40

more tins and preparing them and getting them out.

0:23:400:23:44

Martin continues his daily routine of going around town

0:23:440:23:47

collecting donations from tins.

0:23:470:23:50

But when he goes to Silvio's restaurant, no tin can be found.

0:23:500:23:54

The thief has struck again.

0:23:540:23:56

Uh, we just stumbled upon one more that's gone.

0:23:580:24:01

We were distraught cos I thought, "How stupid are we?"

0:24:010:24:04

We've had tins, charity boxes,

0:24:040:24:06

all sorts on the counters for all the years I've been here.

0:24:060:24:08

Never, never, ever been one time they've been stolen.

0:24:080:24:11

But Silvio, he's absolutely brilliant there,

0:24:110:24:14

and he went, "We'll check the CCTV."

0:24:140:24:16

Silvio's CCTV system records high-quality pictures.

0:24:180:24:22

Before it disappeared,

0:24:220:24:23

the collection tin can be seen on the counter here.

0:24:230:24:26

Silvio searches through the footage to find the moment it was taken.

0:24:260:24:30

We were just scanning through the days - see the tin, see the tin...

0:24:310:24:35

Suddenly, tin wasn't there.

0:24:350:24:36

So, then we knew, OK, it's this day.

0:24:360:24:38

We went down through the hours,

0:24:380:24:40

and I think it was proximately just before midday.

0:24:400:24:43

At that time, the tin is in its normal position.

0:24:440:24:47

But not for long.

0:24:470:24:49

Because of this man.

0:24:490:24:50

A camera records him walking into the restaurant and going to the

0:24:520:24:56

gent's toilet, taking the tin with him.

0:24:560:24:59

Another camera angle shows the man grabbing the tin,

0:25:000:25:04

only a split-second before a member of staff walks out

0:25:040:25:07

to serve a customer.

0:25:070:25:08

The thief leaves a few minutes later with it hidden in his bag.

0:25:120:25:15

Silvio believes it contained up to £80 of donations.

0:25:160:25:20

Everyone felt gutted, I think.

0:25:210:25:24

Gutted that something like that could happen.

0:25:240:25:26

But thanks to the CCTV, they do now have an image of the thief.

0:25:260:25:32

When I saw how clear it was,

0:25:320:25:34

I had no other thought but to get

0:25:340:25:36

some stills of this person on my mobile, get it on social media,

0:25:360:25:42

and basically, I said, "If anybody knows this person,

0:25:420:25:44

"please phone the police on 101."

0:25:440:25:47

The police soon start receiving calls from locals

0:25:470:25:50

giving the name of the thief.

0:25:500:25:52

I got a great deal of reaction from the wonderful Dover folk.

0:25:520:25:57

The police investigate the theft of charity tins from other shops, and

0:25:580:26:02

they discover that it isn't just this man who's stealing them.

0:26:020:26:05

This CCTV footage shows another man walking into a Post Office.

0:26:060:26:10

Ignoring an elderly customer who has her back to him,

0:26:130:26:16

the man walks straight to Kelly's donation tin...

0:26:160:26:18

..uses scissors to snip the string that secures it to the counter,

0:26:200:26:25

then walks out with it.

0:26:250:26:26

But these pictures are to put an end to the series of heartless thefts

0:26:280:26:32

committed by these two men,

0:26:320:26:33

which was so upsetting for Kelly's family.

0:26:330:26:36

Police recognise them from the videos,

0:26:360:26:38

find both men, and arrest them.

0:26:380:26:40

We got the phone call from the police to say that the first person

0:26:410:26:45

had been caught and the second person had been caught,

0:26:450:26:47

and you're thinking, "Yes!"

0:26:470:26:49

You know, bang to rights, really.

0:26:490:26:51

In court, the 24-year-old man who stole from Silvio's was sentenced to

0:26:530:26:59

two years in prison for that and other crimes.

0:26:590:27:02

The other thief, who's 33,

0:27:020:27:04

was sentenced to four months in prison for numerous crimes.

0:27:040:27:07

After the men were arrested, no more collection tins went missing,

0:27:150:27:18

and the family were able to continue raising money with the help and

0:27:180:27:22

generosity of the people of Dover and beyond.

0:27:220:27:25

For the bad apples that are out there,

0:27:250:27:28

there are so many more lovely people out there.

0:27:280:27:32

It's really heart-warming.

0:27:330:27:35

Sadly, since our filming, Kelly's condition deteriorated.

0:27:430:27:47

Despite all the efforts of the doctors and after her long,

0:27:490:27:53

personal battle, she passed away.

0:27:530:27:54

Linda and Martin have now used the funds they raised to set up a

0:27:570:28:00

foundation in Kelly's name to help find a cure for the terrible disease

0:28:000:28:05

that took their young daughter's life.

0:28:050:28:07

A burglar uses his backside to break into a hair salon, and two heartless thieves steal charity money meant for a seriously ill teenager.