Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. A clumsy crook trying to cut it as a burglar ends up cutting his hand badly.
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Thieves will steal our will 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 that 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, armed men have been caught on CCTV carrying out a spate of
robberies in Greater Manchester.
Their next target - the corner shop where Dilip and Ian work.
I was just in shock, really. He was shouting, "Get back, get back".
I am very, very scared. I said, "What do you want, what do you want?"
He said, "Open the till."
The robbers wear balaclavas, because they know they're on camera.
But they don't know a posse of police is waiting round the corner.
Also today - Eamonn, who's been blind since birth,
is convinced someone is sneaking into his flat to steal his money.
I was living in fear, because I knew someone was coming in,
and I knew I had to catch them.
So Eamonn hatches a plan -
to use an electronic eye to see what his own eyes cannot.
This ham-fisted felon clearly thinks he can cut it as a burglar.
Well, he can certainly cut something -
when putting his elbow through a window ends with a trip to A&E.
Millions of people in this country work in retail
and they get used to all sorts of people coming in and out of their shops.
But armed men with knives and a machete?
That's a different thing altogether.
In Altrinchcam, Greater Manchester,
there's a corner shop where Ian and Dilip work.
Ian, who grew up in the area,
has been at the store for two and a half years.
He's earning money while studying for a marketing degree with the Open University.
I feel like this job's brought me out of my shell a bit more.
Interacting with people made it a bit easier for me.
It's something I used to struggle with a little.
Dilip has worked at the store since he moved here from France in 2002.
I like to work in this store.
I see all the regular customers. They say, "Hello, how are you doing?"
The pair have become close mates.
Me and him, good friends, because he's a good worker.
Good nature, you know.
Dilip's full of life.
He's cheeky, he's funny - he's just a loving family man.
Ian and Dilip have never experienced any trouble in the store,
but other retailers in the town haven't been so lucky.
I'd heard of a robbery near my home. It does play in your mind,
but I guess I never really imagined that they'd come in the shop.
You don't expect that sort of thing, really.
But Ian and Dilip are about to face a robbery of the worst sort -
an attack by an armed gang wielding knives and a machete.
It's an evening in winter.
The shop CCTV camera shows that Dilip and Ian are busy.
They've just come on shift.
The day started like any other day,
just looking forward to working with Dilip,
seeing what he'd been up to,
then getting on the till and speaking to the customers.
After the evening rush dies down,
Dilip leaves the till to stock the shelves.
Outside, a street security camera shows a car pulling up near the shop,
and then it parks around the corner, out of sight.
Moments later, a man emerges and walks to the shop,
and then, two other men appear with a package. They open it...
..and take out a machete!
They run to the store.
When the first man arrives at the door, Ian looks up,
not realising what's happening.
I thought it was a joke.
I know there's a few pranksters in the area that like to have a little bit of a laugh.
But it's no joke.
Suddenly, all three robbers burst in.
I was just in shock to see someone with a weapon in their hand.
He was shouting "Get back, get back!"
One of the men jumps over the counter.
Dilip, who is in another part of the store, can hear the shouting
but can't see what's happening.
Somebody running, and I'm thinking, kids. I said, "Who...?
"Who is this?"
The man with the machete runs towards Dilip.
I'm very, very scared. I say, "What do you want? What do you want?"
He says, "Open the till. Go to behind counter."
Dilip bravely refuses and runs away from the man.
Ian sees what's happening from a distance, but is powerless to intervene.
I was worried for Dilip, wondering what's happening to him.
The machete man catches up with Dilip, who shoves him away,
and tries to keep him at a distance.
The third robber, who is carrying a large kitchen knife,
is keeping watch in the doorway.
Meanwhile, Ian is being pushed towards the small office behind the counter.
The person that was stuck with me asked me to open the back room.
The robber thinks there's cash in that room,
and he isn't willing to wait for Ian to open it.
He just tried kicking the door.
The cameras behind the counter show that the man with the machete
has now cornered Dilip, who is near the till.
He said, "Can you open the till?" I say, "OK."
But Dilip doesn't open it.
Instead, he makes a courageous decision to press a panic button.
This infuriates the robber.
He shoves Dilip, who falls backwards,
smashing his head into some light switches,
and plunging the shop into darkness.
Dilip now has a nasty gash on his head, caused by hitting the switches.
I put my hand, my finger here, I press it. I...blood, you know.
And I'm very, very scared this time. Very scared.
Ian can't see what's happened,
but he's heard the commotion when Dilip was knocked down.
It was definitely worrying to think,
wow, he could've hit him with a machete.
The frustrated robbers scream at Dilip to open the tills and give them cash.
It looks like they're about to snap. Anything could happen.
Later, the robbers get a shock.
They find themselves in the middle of a major police operation.
This pair of hapless and hopeless housebreakers
may look like a couple of students who've lost their keys,
but they're actually casing the joint.
One of them is so relaxed as he casually checks out the easiest way
to break in, he takes a phone call with one hand,
while holding his drinks bottle in the other.
He's Mr oh-so-cool, but not for long -
because he's about to make a schoolboy error,
using his elbow to break the window by the front door.
He doesn't seem to realise broken glass can be sharp -
because when he tries a third time,
he cuts himself!
So, with his red drinks bottle in one hand,
and now a nasty cut in the other, this lad's caught red-handed -
His mate tries to use their swag bag as a makeshift bandage,
but fumbles the first aid.
The panic-stricken pair then leg it.
The police have caught up with one of them, while the other
is still being hunted.
It's time they realise they're not cut out for a life of crime.
A concierge working at an apartment block creeps into one of the flats.
He goes straight to a money box and steals the cash inside.
The thief thinks he won't be spotted,
because the man who lives here is blind.
But this sneaky burglar has underestimated his victim,
who has other ways of keeping an eye on things.
40-year-old Eamonn moved to Liverpool ten years ago.
Though he's been blind since birth,
Eamonn has forged a career in the civil service and leads an independent life.
Nothing stops me from doing the things that I want to do.
And that includes playing sport.
Eamonn helps run an organisation called Sports and Activities for the Visually Impaired.
I'm really proud, because it isn't just about me playing sport -
it's about enabling others to do the same.
Eamonn is also proud about recently becoming a homeowner for the first time.
I purchased this flat just over a year ago.
It's concierged 24 hours a day, so that basically means in layman's terms,
there's a man or a lady on the front desk.
And one of the key reasons why I made the purchase
was because it had that element of security attached to it.
But the very reason Eamonn felt secure at these flats
was soon to make him feel very insecure indeed.
It's winter, early evening.
Eamonn comes home from the sports club
and notices some cash has disappeared.
When I went back and looked for the money I'd left on the table,
it wasn't there. And I was sort of like...
There's no-one been in. No-one could have moved it.
I asked my cleaner to have a look.
She couldn't find it and I just thought, well, it's one of those things.
But in the weeks that follow,
Eamonn notices money repeatedly going missing from his savings tin.
I started to think, I am either losing my mind,
or there's too much going wrong
and what I do is, I collect money for specific occasions.
The highlight of Eamonn's year is the Cheltenham horse racing festival.
This year, I'd arranged to go there with a friend of mine.
We'd booked accommodation. I was really looking forward to the races.
But when he goes to his tin to count his betting money,
Eamonn gets a shock.
Literally, there was nothing there.
Like just coppers.
It was really light. And I was like, "No, no, no, this hasn't happened."
I haven't took the money. I haven't... What's going on, like?
Eamonn cancels his long-awaited trip to Cheltenham.
He is now certain someone is stealing from him.
My first instinct was just to stop collecting the money and hide the tin and hear no more about it.
Then I thought to myself, well, if I'm right and this is happening to me,
then ultimately, the only winner is the person who's taken the money -
because I can't keep money in my own bedroom and feel safe.
So I thought at first, change the locks, do this, do that.
And I thought, that doesn't actually solve the problem.
I need to solve the problem. I need to understand who is doing this.
I knew it was someone who was either very close to me or was in a position of trust.
Eamonn racks his brains, thinking who the thief could be,
and then realises the apartment block's concierges have keys to all the flats,
and Eamonn feels suspicious about one concierge in particular.
They were always asking questions about where I was going,
and where I'd been. You know, you make conversation with people, but you start to think,
actually, are they asking too many questions here?
Eamonn becomes increasingly worried and fearful.
I did start to struggle to sleep and I did start to wonder if any noise
was related to someone coming in.
You know, they're just coming in as they like, so, you know,
are they going to get more brave, are they going to do more?
I think it's the first time in a long time that I've actually thought
about being blind and being weak as a result of that
and maybe that's why I felt so scared and vulnerable as soon as it happened to me,
because those feelings were brought into play. I don't know.
But Eamonn isn't going to be beaten.
He hatches a plan to catch the thief.
Stage one - asking a friend to add up exactly how much money is in the tin.
I actually asked someone separate to me to count it,
to ensure there was no ambiguity.
Stage two - going away for the weekend, leaving £135 in the tin.
When he returns two days later, over half the money is gone -
and there's no sign of a break-in.
I got my friend to count the money again.
That was my concrete proof that I was being stolen from and it was someone using a key.
So Eamonn moves onto the next stage of his plan -
using his audio narration computer to find a security company to install a spy camera.
He wants to get video evidence he can take to the police.
Being a blind man, looking for CCTV is probably not something
that I ever thought that I would have to do.
So I took a couple of weeks to get that all set up and in place.
A security consultant comes and installs a cleverly disguised camera.
In a perverse way, I was really quite excited.
I'm going to catch this person out,
and finally stop this from happening to me.
The next night, that particular concierge is on duty.
Eamonn goes out and tells the man he won't be back for several hours.
The spy camera is activated whenever it senses motion.
And it isn't long before it triggers into record mode.
Eamonn's bedroom door opens
and in walks the concierge he has his doubts about.
He goes straight to Eamonn's money tin and starts pocketing cash.
The concierge carefully picks out the coins that have the most value.
When he decides he's stolen enough, he leaves,
with one final glance back,
perhaps to check he's left the tin exactly as he found it.
Eamonn returns a few hours later.
I got back and the concierge was sort of there -
"Hello, mate. How are you doing? Where have you been? What have you been up to?"
Sort of... There he was, larger-than-life.
And I couldn't wait to get into the lift,
but still trying to be personable.
As soon as he gets inside his flat, Eamonn counts the money in the tin.
£20 has been taken.
I knew that my CCTV was up there and it had captured all that I needed,
and I was really frustrated that I couldn't just have a look and see who it was.
Eamonn can't wait to find out exactly what's happened.
He calls in the security expert who fitted the camera.
The consultant came and reviewed the footage with me and obviously,
we identified who it was.
He now has clear-cut video evidence of who has been stealing from him.
I was relieved that it was him and I was relieved that I was right.
Eamonn calls in the police,
but the concierge somehow gets wind that he is wanted and disappears.
He must have realised that he wasn't going to get away with it because a
week later, he hands himself in.
Eamonn has got his man.
It angers me that someone thought that I was so stupid.
Someone thought that I wouldn't realise that something was happening to me.
And they thought that even if I did,
I'd be too weak to do something about it.
The good news is, though - I knew I was going to have the last laugh,
because the one way that he never thought that he would get caught would be through sight -
and that's exactly how I caught him.
In court, the man pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to 12
months in prison, suspended for two years.
He was ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and 20 days of rehabilitation.
He must also pay £890 in costs and compensation.
Eamonn now keeps his savings in the bank,
but he does feel he got the right result in the end.
It's been a horrible thing to go through and you wouldn't wish it on anybody.
But I believe I'm a stronger person as a result of the actions I
have taken and I'm very proud that I sorted it out.
It's terrible to see Eamonn taken advantage of like that
and by someone he knew,
but thieves don't care if they know you or not.
All they're interested in is your cash and your valuables.
So, what can you do if you suspect someone you know is stealing from you?
To support any suspicions that you may have,
think about gathering information
and gathering evidence against that person.
Record times and dates.
Record what you've got and what goes missing.
Marking notes helps us to potentially recover that property
and identify where it has come from.
So if you keep records of the serial numbers,
or mark the notes with a UV pen,
there is a greater chance we'll actually be able to link that back to your crime.
CCTV evidence is really, really valuable.
The thing you need to consider is where you're going to place it,
what it's actually going to record,
and actually making sure that you have good quality CCTV that is
evidentially useful to the police.
Cameras can be hid behind photo frames.
You can get very, very small cameras
which could be fitted on the top of a bookcase.
If you are confident that you've got the evidence against them,
contact the police, let THEM do the confronting.
Let them do the investigation and bring them to justice.
We are back in Altrincham,
where a corner shop is being robbed by three violent men
brandishing knives and a machete.
Shop assistants Ian and Dilip are in fear for their lives,
but Dilip has bravely pressed a panic button.
I am very, very scared. Very scared.
I hoped he was OK.
Obviously, he's got a family that want him home safe.
The raid on Dilip and Ian's shop is just the latest in a serious violent
robberies that have been taking place in Greater Manchester.
Over the previous months,
grocery stores have been attacked.
Bookmakers have been raided...
..and other businesses ransacked by ruthless armed men.
A large number of shop workers have had to live through dangerous and
Detective Sergeant Richard Castley of Greater Manchester Police's Serious Organised Crime Group
has been leading the investigation.
When we look at offences, we will look at patterns.
You could clearly see that these offences were connected.
Because of the location, which is in the Trafford area,
and because of the way they are committing the offences,
which is going in with large kitchen knives,
they're threatening people working in shops with these weapons.
They're obviously terrified of what's going to happen to them.
The clothing they was wearing was the same, generally,
so we could clearly see that these offences were all linked.
In the weeks leading up to the raid on Dilip and Ian's corner shop,
Richard's team has been working hard to identify the men who always cover
their faces with balaclavas.
We'll look at their height, the build of these people,
we will look at the intelligence surrounding people to see what they
are involved in and what they are doing and via that,
we identify a group of suspects.
The intelligence leads Richard to two main suspects -
45-year-old Paul Sheridan and 38-year-old Andre Chevelleau.
But he doesn't have enough evidence to arrest them.
We know who is potentially committing them, but we just don't have enough
evidence to show a court, so at that point,
we then decide the only option we have is to run a proactive operation on them,
which is to run surveillance on these people.
And that is why earlier, on the day of the attack on Dilip and Ian's
shop, undercover officers have
already started a surveillance operation,
watching Sheridan at his house.
When it gets to evening time,
it looks like Sheridan and his gang might be about to strike again.
Our main subject goes into an estate where he lives and he gets into a
vehicle which is an unregistered vehicle - not registered to him,
not insured, and starts to drive off.
The surveillance officers follow Sheridan.
He drives over to pick up Chevelleau, their other main suspect.
Then they pick up a third man, 35-year-old Luke Enright.
The officers keep Richard informed so he can relay instructions to the
other unit under his command for this operation.
We've always got to anticipate that they are going to go and commit a robbery.
So I have to plan - when I've got a surveillance unit,
I'll have to have an arrest team as well and on this occasion,
it was the Tactical Vehicle Intercept Unit.
So they are always with us throughout.
The car they are watching drives over to the corner shop where Ian and Dilip work.
At that stage, I'm nervous, because
I'm thinking to myself, what are they going to do?
They could be going, just meeting some friends and socialising.
They could be doing a robbery. I don't know what they're going to do.
Richard decides to wait before striking.
In an operation like this, the arrest team will make a move on his order,
and the timing has to be just right.
There's a fine line between arresting too early and not having enough evidence.
Basically, you arrest them,
no evidence and then they're released to carry on their criminality -
and invariably knowing that we are looking at them -
or arresting too late.
I could arrest too late and it could be the fact that they've seriously hurt someone.
The gang storms into the shop.
One robber leaps over the counter towards Ian, and moments later,
another can be seen chasing Dilip with a machete.
Then he pushes Dilip, whose head hits some light switches,
cutting it badly and plunging the shop into darkness.
While Ian and Dilip are facing the most dangerous and frightening
experience of their lives,
they are not to know that there's a police team racing to rescue them from their ordeal.
Mercifully, they only have to endure this horror for less than a minute.
I know they are going to be there within a matter of seconds.
However, it does feel like an eternity.
When the police arrive, the robbers see them,
panic and make a run for it.
Some of the officers have tasers to try and stop the men
and a police dog helps chase them down.
You are a little bit nervous because your friends have come out,
they've ran off, the police officers going at them.
Then getting the occasional one detained.
But I'm wanting all three detained,
so for that short period, I'm hoping no-one's got away.
Then Richard receives the news he's been waiting for.
Three people have been arrested. All three of the suspects.
Inside the shop, Ian and Dilip are in a state of shock.
A bit bewildered really, wondering what was going on.
And then I look at the door and there was a police officer stood there,
which was a huge relief.
I am really happy the police arrest the people.
Ian remained calm during the ordeal, but now, it's a different story.
Afterwards, it just hit me - "Oh, my God, that's just happened!
"You could have been hurt and Dilip could have been hurt worse than what he was."
I guess it's just the nerves hitting you after the adrenaline was
maybe keeping them at bay.
But this case is not yet closed.
With the robbers in custody,
Richard's team must now focus on building a watertight case
against them for all of their crimes, not just one. No easy task.
These suspects are quite arrogant.
Quite dismissive of what is going on.
They're saying to us, "We're going to get short prison sentences -
"we'll be out quite soon," etc.
But Richard knows there are a number of shocked and frightened victims
relying on him to put this gang away for a long time.
It's important for us to get them prosecuted for the level of criminality they have committed.
If they have committed seven offences,
they get convicted of seven offences.
And that's important that they get a longer sentence for what they have
done and also to give closure to the victims of the other attacks.
The investigation enters a new phase.
Analysis of the CCTV from Ian and Dilip's shop and all the others,
using the latest police technology,
can provide evidence that will make sure these robbers face justice.
Every item of evidence seized from the suspects and their houses is
painstakingly matched to the CCTV footage of all the robberies.
And soon, Richard's team make significant progress.
A coat that's identical to one worn at a raid on a bookies is found
at one of the robbers' houses.
And a pair of gloves.
And a balaclava.
And other clothing found is also matched to images from the raids.
It all linked in very well and very nicely.
It can't be anyone else, because there's not another team of armed robbers doing exactly the same as
them, wearing exactly the same clothing,
going round the same area of Greater Manchester, committing the robberies.
It's these people we've arrested.
DNA evidence is also compiled and incriminating information
gleaned from the robbers' phones.
When my team have put it all together,
we've got seven offences that these people are going to get convicted of.
I'm really happy then.
Now Richard's team has done its work,
the suspects have less to be arrogant about.
They're going to jail for a long time.
In the Crown Court, Paul Sheridan was convicted of seven counts relating
to actual or attempted robberies and was sentenced to 11 years in prison,
plus a further three years on licence.
Andre Chevelleau was convicted of six counts relating to actual or attempted robberies
and was sentenced to ten years in prison.
And Luke Enright was sentenced to seven years in prison plus a further
three years on licence for the raid on Dilip and Ian's shop.
Richard and his team were delighted with the sentences.
I like to put these people in prison because they are just bullies at the
end of the day. They're going out,
they're harassing people who are working for a living,
they're causing trauma to people.
They should be put in prison for a long time.
The public are protected and I'm happy they've got their comeuppance.
Dilip needed seven stitches to patch up his head wound,
but he and Ian are now back at work and recovering from the ordeal.
Even though it was bad,
it's still something that makes you look back and say, you know,
"We went through that together."
That's it for today, and that's it for a few more criminals
who have been Caught Red Handed.
A blind man uses an electronic eye to see what his own eyes cannot, and a clumsy crook trying to cut it as a burglar ends up cutting his hand badly.