Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. A carer steals from a former member of the royal household.
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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.
It's 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!"
And 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, David used to work for the royal family,
who were so fond of him, they gave him an award.
But that doesn't matter at all to this carer,
who just sees him as someone to steal from.
My dad said, "That's my money. Get that back. She's got my money."
I said, "We'll have to phone the police, Dad.
"This is actually a crime."
Despite being filmed raiding David's wallet,
the woman pleads not guilty and the family's ordeal is far from over.
Also today, when Trevor opened a restaurant,
he hoped to get customers interested in his rare cheeses.
But it turns out, he also attracts a rat.
Or is it a snake?
What I saw next literally made my skin crawl.
It's like something you would see out of a movie.
And when Alan gets a job working the late shift
at a local petrol station, he's expecting a quiet time.
But then, one night, he's attacked by an armed robber
and he has the fight of his life.
He said to me, "Open your till or I'm going to stab you."
I thought, "No, I'm not doing nothing.
"You're going to have to force ME."
The robber is so confused by Alan's resistance,
he just grabs some beer cans and blunders off.
And "blunders" is the right word.
There are nearly 12 million people over the age of 65 in the UK
and that number is growing every year.
Many pensioners rely on the help of carers
and, whilst the vast majority of carers are honest,
sadly, some are not.
David Skerritt from Littlehampton once had a very famous boss -
well, about as famous as it gets -
Her Majesty the Queen.
He was the royal family's television engineer,
installing and repairing their TVs.
The Queen was so impressed with David's work,
she awarded him the Royal Victorian Medal
at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 1991.
It was a proud moment for David and his family,
fondly remembered by his daughter, Joanne.
It meant everything to Dad because he'd worked so hard
and to be praised like that by the Queen, you can't get better.
He was so proud of it.
David was a self-made man, after the toughest of starts in life.
Orphaned at an early age,
he was brought up in a children's home in London.
He was fiercely independent because of growing up in a home.
He couldn't wait to have his own life.
He became an electrical engineer
and he met my mum
because they worked in a shop two doors away from each other
and mum was a hairdresser and they met, fell in love and that was it.
They were inseparable.
Sadly, David recently passed away.
His family have said, though, that they want us to tell people
about him and the events that happened in his final weeks.
He was generous, kind, really hard-working.
I mean, he just never took a day off work in his life.
Anything you needed, he was there.
As he neared retirement, David and Patricia decided
to move to the south coast near Littlehampton.
That was their dream, was to have a house by the sea,
and that's when it became obvious she wasn't well.
In 2006, Patricia was diagnosed with ovarian cancer
and, after a long battle, she passed away at the age of 63.
Dad wouldn't talk about it,
wouldn't talk about it at all,
because I think that he didn't want to accept that she was ill.
He certainly didn't accept she died.
David later developed Parkinson's disease
and struggled to look after himself.
The Parkinson's took so much away from him -
his perception, his mobility and his dexterity.
Joanne and her husband, Chris, would visit whenever they could.
But they lived over 100 miles away,
so David's local social services set up a care package.
A number of carers would visit him four times a day.
Carers coming into the bungalow was fantastic news for my dad.
He really responded well. He used to look forward to the carers.
He loved it.
But David often had bad falls when his carers weren't there,
so Joanne installed a CCTV camera,
hoping it might help improve his safety.
Right, you had a fall then, let's go through.
Oh, that's where you had your fall and that's why, Dad.
But that CCTV camera is to prove its value in a totally unexpected way
when, out of the blue, David's money starts to disappear.
It's a Wednesday morning
and Joanne receives a worrying phone call from her dad.
He phoned me to say that his wallet had been stripped
and he had no money.
David had just come out of hospital
after a fortnight receiving treatment.
Joanne calls them to report her dad's missing money.
They said, "No, all that was signed out of the safe
"was an empty wallet with a card in it."
While the hospital is investigating the missing cash,
Joanne and husband, Chris, go to see her dad,
and Chris takes a look at CCTV camera footage.
Chris went, "Oh, my God! What's she doing?"
Chris is looking at a recording from three weeks earlier,
before David went into hospital.
One of his new carers has just arrived to give him a wash.
David makes his way through to the bedroom.
As soon as he walks past her, the woman starts looking round the room.
She is actually looking for money she can steal.
She checks the side of the chair where David keeps his wallet,
then she stares at his trouser pockets.
The woman keeps suggesting to David
that he should sit on a commode,
even though he's said he doesn't want to.
She seems to want him out of the sitting room as long as possible.
The moment his back is turned, she comes into the room
and reaches straight for David's bag.
She finds his wallet and takes out £130...
..puts the notes onto the chair...
..then rummages through his bag some more.
Not finding anything else, she stuffs the money into her bra.
But she isn't finished yet.
She starts looking under ornaments on a cabinet shelf,
including an urn that contains the ashes of David's wife, Patricia...
..all the while leaving David unattended in the bedroom -
something his other carers have never done.
Realising there's nothing else to steal,
she finally goes back into the bedroom to check on David.
Chris, Joanne and her dad can't believe
what the camera has captured.
Shocked, completely, you know.
We just all sat there and my dad said,
"That's my money. Get that back. She's got my money."
I said, "We'll have to phone the police, Dad.
"This is actually a crime."
As well as reporting her to the police, they inform her employers.
The care agency sacked the carer immediately and she denied theft.
The woman tells the police
that David had said she could take £10 from his wallet.
She decides to plead not guilty
and the long wait before the court case
proves highly upsetting for David.
He completely broke down because we'd reported it to the police.
He thought someone was going to come round, smash his windows in,
beat him up. He felt vulnerable, really badly.
It was the fragility of the situation he was in.
He couldn't sleep. It made him completely paranoid.
And two weeks after that, he went into hospital and never came out.
David's health continued to decline in hospital
over the next 12 months
and, after succumbing to a chest infection, he passed away.
Months later, Joanne finds herself in court,
facing the woman who stole from her dad.
To be made to go through something like that
when you've just lost your father as well was...
I had to sit in court and watch that video.
My legs went, I couldn't stand up.
It was the worst thing I've ever had to go through in my life.
She chose to take the witness box and stand and lie
and everybody saw through her because she was lying.
The jury found the woman guilty.
She was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months.
She was ordered to complete 260 hours of unpaid work
and 10 days of rehabilitation.
I just felt, thank God, you know. Yes!
The woman may have been able to take David's money
but she couldn't take away the wonderful memories
Joanne has of her dad's life.
Dad was amazing. The Queen Mum would call him David.
He was part of the household and he was really, really proud of that.
Wow, you know.
Thieves can often go to extraordinary lengths.
But it's still a shock to see this man roll up outside a house
in a wheelchair at 1.30 AM and start smashing its window with a hammer.
Nobody's in but a hidden surveillance camera is recording.
The man finds a novel use for his chair's removable cushion,
protecting himself from glass left in the frame,
as he slides himself through.
It's all rather awkward, which is no surprise,
when it turns out this intruder only has one leg.
It dawns on him that he's going to have a lot of trouble
getting around in here.
His solution? To bring his wheelchair in as well.
It turns out this man wants to wreak revenge on a landlord
and, as well as stealing a large-screen TV, he takes time out
to disconnect a washing machine to deliberately flood the place.
But he's done this in full view of a camera
and, for fairly obvious reasons,
it isn't too hard for police to whittle down the list of suspects.
The thief's soon arrested and for this and other offences,
he has to wheel himself off to prison for 26 months.
A late-night burglar wriggles, snakelike,
to avoid activating a restaurant alarm system.
He thinks he's quids in when he finds a safe.
But he's been caught on camera and, when he opens the safe,
he's in for an unpleasant surprise.
Westbourne is a fashionable suburb of Bournemouth that's well-known
for its independent boutique shops and eateries.
Trevor came here three years ago to set up a restaurant with a twist -
a cheese twist - specialising in a wide variety of cheeses
from all over the world.
It was his first dip into the restaurant trade
and Trevor was nervous about how his new business venture would go.
I literally cried.
I lost weight, I was the most stressed I'd ever been
and, leading up to the days of the opening,
I was like, "Why have I invested everything
"into something like this? Nobody is going to come
"and want cheese and wine. It's just a ridiculous idea."
And I was wrong.
Renoufs is an extension of my home.
It's very family, close feel to it,
and Westbourne is a fantastic suburb.
The business owners in the area are a close-knit group.
John runs a coffee lounge and chocolate shop
a few doors down from Trevor.
We all know each other and we chat to each other during the day
and we can solve little issues that we have.
They call it the Village, the village community,
which is lovely, really. Got a good feel.
But one night, the Village is left with a nasty taste in its mouth,
when a burglar targets Trevor's restaurant.
It's a Sunday morning, and Trevor's taking a day off at home.
But his neighbour, John, has come in early
to open up his coffee shop nearby.
I was on my way to say hello to all the other shopkeepers and that
and I was walking past Renoufs
and I noticed the window on the door panel had been broken.
John calls Trevor to let him know about his broken door
and Trevor drives straight down to investigate.
There was lots going through my mind in that five-minute journey.
When Trevor arrives, he's faced with a mystery.
The restaurant alarm hasn't been triggered
and everything looks normal, apart from the broken panel.
He comes to the conclusion it's a case of vandalism.
It's just some mindless thug that's smashed the window
and he's done a runner.
But then he sees that the broken glass has been moved
away from the doorway and carefully put into a neat pile.
Determined to solve the mystery, Trevor checks his CCTV recording.
What I saw next literally made my skin crawl.
Trevor copies the recording onto his mobile phone.
The security camera has picked up a man
slowly squeezing through the hole in the smashed door panel.
Trevor has a smart alarm system that has movement sensors,
but the intruder thinks he can outsmart it by staying low,
slithering across the floor like a snake to avoid triggering the alarm.
It's scary. It is quite a scary vision of this guy,
like something you'd see out of a movie.
The intruder crawls behind the bar,
goes to a cupboard in the corner and flashes a cigarette lighter.
At first I think he's in the corner to set fire to the place.
He's got a vendetta for some reason and it's quite mortifying.
But the man is actually trying to light up the dark room,
so he can find cash to steal.
And bingo - he finds a safe.
I don't think he's realised that this safe just acts as a cupboard
to store our vouchers in.
Probably thinking it contains the entire weekend's takings,
the burglar slowly pushes the safe back towards the door.
It brought me a little bit of satisfaction,
knowing that this guy is going to be hacking away at a safe all day
to end up with some vouchers to come and buy some cheese and wine.
Trevor calls the police, who soon arrive.
They examine the CCTV pictures and dust for fingerprints
but there isn't enough evidence to identify the burglar.
They were going to contact the council,
ask for the street CCTV footage,
see if they can tie anything in there and they would be in touch.
The next day, the emptied safe is found nearby.
Trevor may have got his safe back
but he still finds it hard to come to terms with the burglary.
When you've been a victim of this kind of crime,
it creates a sense of paranoia.
You're looking at people, you're looking at everybody,
and it really sends you into this paranoia of,
is this a safe place to be? When you set out originally, it was,
and it really knocks you back.
Trevor's determined to fight back.
He installs new alarms and cameras
and then turns his attention to try to identify the burglar.
I thought I'd make a little video myself.
I posted it on Facebook and it went viral.
Over the next two days,
local business owners, customers and friends share the video.
Trevor putting it on social media
and getting everyone involved was a really good thing.
It puts a warning out there that we do look out for each other.
A fortnight later, Trevor gets some good news.
Although his CCTV didn't actually reveal the thief's face,
it was put together with evidence
from council street cameras outside, which did,
and the police have recognised the burglar.
The police were really good. They positively ID-ed the burglar.
They told us to remove the footage from Facebook.
They didn't want this burglar to see the footage on Facebook
and then not return home, so we took it down.
A few days later, Trevor gets more good news.
It was the most refreshing thing I'd heard.
They'd made an arrest and this guy's been taken off the streets.
It's the end of his reign.
It turned out that breaking into Trevor's business
wasn't this man's only crime.
In court, he pleaded guilty to four counts of burglary
and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Trevor is delighted with the result
and is now well and truly over the burglary.
From receiving the phone call from John
to the response on Facebook,
it's all about people getting involved
and hoping, in the long run, that justice is done.
There's a growing trend to post CCTV of criminals on social media.
But sometimes that's not always the best thing to do,
especially if it tips off the crook they've been caught on camera.
So, when is it best to post and when is it best to avoid?
Social media is a great way of reaching out
to a large number of people very quickly, but talk to us.
Let's work out what's the best thing we can do together
to identify the individual who may have committed a crime against you.
Wide circulation of CCTV on social media can severely weaken a case
because you may get multiple identifications,
a number of suspects identified,
and that can weaken the case against the actual suspect in the long run.
If an image has been circulated on social media,
the defence solicitor could argue
that their client cannot get a fair trial
because so much information is already in the public domain.
If they think that the image has been circulated widely,
they might suggest that the person recognising the offender
is recognising them from social media
and not from the actual crime itself.
Unfortunately, we have seen cases in the past,
where the wrong person's name has been linked to a photograph
and people have come to harm, as a result of that mix-up.
Contact your local police force.
That way the police can release the images over social media
and the police will have management of that crime.
A robber thinks he has
his late-night raid on a petrol station planned to perfection.
But he reckons without an uncooperative cashier,
an uncooperative door...
..and an uncooperative plastic bin.
The coastal market town of Hythe in Kent.
Alan moved here from the Greater London area a few years ago
with his wife, Karen, and their pet dog, Nala.
Life hasn't always been easy for Alan.
After a career on the railway, he suffered a spell of unemployment,
so he came to Hythe to get his life back on track.
We came down here and I wasn't actually looking for shop work.
I just got friendly with one of the local grocery shops
and, bit by bit, I ended up doing little jobs.
Work was difficult to come by,
but Alan also managed to get a job at a petrol station.
I was originally employed to stock shelves but the till work,
I took to that like a duck to water
and, within a week, I ended up doing night work.
Alan worked alone from 10.00 PM to 6.00 AM.
I thought, "It's going to be a long night,"
but it goes, cos you've got so many things to do.
The good part, you do meet lots of people.
Alan's fresh start in Hythe was going well,
but then, one night, it suddenly came under threat,
when an armed man tries to rob the store
and Alan must decide between fight and flight.
It's 1.30 AM and the security cameras at the garage are showing
no cars on the forecourt and Alan is on his own inside.
We had a very quiet spell.
It was about quarter to two and a customer just walks in.
The man enters the shop and goes to the counter.
He asked for a bottle of vodka.
Alan sells this customer the vodka, just a normal transaction.
But there's nothing normal
about the next man to arrive at the garage.
At first I thought it was just a customer coming round to the drinks.
Most people buy drinks at about two o'clock in the morning.
But this man wants more than booze.
As he enters, he pulls his hat down over his face.
It's a type of balaclava that must restrict his vision
because he bumps into a cabinet.
It's almost comical,
but this situation is about to become far from amusing.
The man goes to a door behind the counter where Alan is standing,
then suddenly bursts through it.
I looked around and I see the customer with a knife
and a baseball bat in his arms.
The man brandishes the knife in Alan's face.
He had a big black facemask on. All you could see was his eyes.
And he said to me, "Open your till or I'm going to stab you."
But Alan doesn't follow the man's orders.
Showing great courage, he decides to stand up to the armed robber.
I thought, "No, I'm not doing nothing.
"You're going to have to force ME."
I think it gobsmacked him.
I think he was expecting me to open the till willy-nilly.
The armed man starts to become angry.
He just said, "You ARE going to open the till."
But I ain't, and I won't open for anyone.
He was definitely on edge and I thought,
"This is going to get worse before it gets better."
Alan makes a split-second decision.
I just grabbed my moment.
He snatches the balaclava from the robber's head,
so he and the CCTV cameras can see the man's face.
But the robber retaliates.
I was struck on the head about here.
I didn't feel no pain.
I suppose the adrenaline just took in, but I was still standing,
and I think I shocked him to the point where he said,
"I've got to get out of here."
Alan's brave resistance does the trick
and the man runs out in panic, trying to hide his face.
But he still can't resist nabbing some beers on the way out,
and then promptly runs straight into the door.
And even more comically, outside, he drops a can, picks it up,
and then runs headlong into a bright green rubbish bin.
He hits it with such force
that he rebounds several feet and spills the beer.
The man who earlier bought the vodka is still at the petrol station
and calmly grabs the opportunity
to help himself to several cans as he leaves.
Alan continues to protect his garage,
bravely coming out to chase the armed robber away,
while on the phone to the police.
After his attacker has fled,
Alan suddenly realises the extreme danger he's been in.
I just cried my eyes out.
It only lasted about a few seconds
but I suppose it's the relief it's all over.
The police arrive
and Detective Constable Carl Evans analyses the CCTV recording.
That must have been terrifying for Alan.
He's within less than a metre of him.
I suspect Alan was pretty scared, terrified in fact.
Alan gives the police the balaclava
that he snatched from the robber's head
and remembers an important detail.
I said, "His saliva will be on the face bit, around here."
There's a chance that the man spat on the balaclava
when he was shouting at Alan.
Saliva's a good source for DNA evidence.
Whilst we can't condone that victims put themselves in danger,
Alan's actions in grabbing the mask was able to secure us
key evidence in this case.
Although there are glimpses of the armed man's face on CCTV,
the images on their own aren't clear enough to identify him.
But soon Carl and his team get a tip-off from locals,
who'd seen a man acting suspiciously in town that night.
That leads to a possible name for the robber.
We checked that name on the police database
and it was a known offender, so our investigation took that path.
The man goes into hiding but, after a fortnight,
he surfaces and he's arrested.
Whilst he was in custody,
we received the results back from the lab on the balaclava,
and there was DNA of the offender on there.
With DNA evidence clearly placing him at the scene,
the man had more than a rubbish bin to worry about.
In the Crown Court, the man pleaded guilty to attempted robbery
and threatening a person with a blade in a public place.
He was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Despite the trauma of that night,
Alan's new start in Hythe continues to go well,
and when he attended the robber's court hearing,
his courage during the ordeal was recognised in a very special way.
When I got the High Sheriff's Award,
everyone in the courtroom just stood up and clapped
and I just...
I just started...started crying a bit.
It was a really proud moment. My family were with me.
Just one of those moments in your life you look back on.
That's it for today.
And that's it for a few more criminals
who've been caught red-handed.
A carer steals from a former member of the royal household, a deli specialising in cheese attracts a local rat, and an armed robber who attacks a petrol station gets more than he bargained for.