Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. An intruder raids a social club's safe while the manager is on the phone.
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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 is up to no good had better think twice.
They might just get caught red-handed.
Today, while social-club manager Ian is on the phone,
an intruder sneaks through his club's back door.
And raids the safe,
stuffing thousands of pounds down his trousers.
I didn't know what to do, you know, and I was almost in tears.
His face, he was as white as a sheet and he said, "There's no money,
"there's no money."
a burglar doesn't think twice about robbing this house in broad daylight.
But then he meets his match at the foot of the stairs.
I was absolutely horrified.
"What the hell are you doing in my house?"
73-year-old Margaret teaches him a lesson he won't forget in a hurry.
"Get out, get out now!"
And a man breaks into a garage.
But doesn't watch his step and ends up having an early bath!
In engine oil.
A government campaign back in the '60s said, "Watch out, watch out,
"there's a thief about."
And nothing has changed.
There are still plenty of thieves watching out themselves
for easy pickings.
West Byfleet is a small village in the Surrey stockbroker belt.
At its heart is the social club and thanks to steward Ian,
the club is now more popular than ever.
We've got a really big mixture of, you know,
from like 18-year-old members.
Our oldest one last year had his birthday party, 107,
he turned round and he said, "You know what, this is the best party I've ever had in my life.
"Can I book it for next year?"
Barmaid Nora likes the happy atmosphere Ian has built up at
the club, both for the members and the staff.
Ian is my boss but also, we are good friends, you know, socially.
We all quite like that in here.
We do what we're told when we have to but we can also, you know,
have fun together.
Working here is more than just a job for Ian.
It's a passion.
It's my pride and joy.
And I just love the place.
To me, it's my home.
But one day while Ian was on duty,
his home from home was invaded by an unwelcome visitor.
It's a Thursday morning and Ian is cashing up before he takes the club's earnings to the bank.
But when a delivery lorry arrives from the brewery,
Ian has to leave the tills for a while.
I stopped counting the money,
I put everything to one side and I always lock up the cage, shut it,
lock it up, because at the end of the day,
I wouldn't want to put temptation to anybody.
But outside, this man is no stranger to temptation.
He checks out the cab of the lorry,
probably looking for something to steal.
It's broad daylight but no-one spots his odd behaviour.
The draymen are busy inside and Ian's dealing with delivery
paperwork in the club's committee room
but he knows the cash is safely under lock and key.
Once it's padlocked, basically, you need to break in to get into it
and, while I'm around, I don't think anybody's going to do that.
But the man outside has other ideas.
He's been hiding behind the lorry
and now he's looking to get inside the club.
Seconds later, the draymen walk back to their vehicle.
Somehow they don't see him as they leave.
The intruder sees his opportunity and casually walks towards the
storeroom. He finds the cage and sees the cash.
As the delivery lorry leaves the yard,
Ian's still busy in his office.
The main reason why I didn't go back to the tills immediately after the
brewery had been is that when the phone rang, I went to answer the phone.
The intruder is just a couple of feet away from a week's worth of takings,
thousands of pounds, but there's a padlocked door in the way.
The man searches for a key.
He could be spotted at any moment.
He's just round the corner from the room where Ian is on the phone.
He's found a key.
But it doesn't fit.
So he tries another.
That doesn't fit either.
The intruder searches the bar again and finds a tool box.
He's going to use a screwdriver.
And a bit of brute force.
He's got to the cash.
Ian's still on the phone.
He's totally unaware he's being burgled.
I've not heard anybody.
The committee room is the other end of the building.
The intruder goes for the notes,
grabbing fistfuls and stuffing them down his trousers.
Then he finds more money in the cash box.
For a moment, he worries about fingerprints.
But then continues to clear the till drawers.
He's taking the risk of being discovered,
but this thief's greedy, because he's noticed the safe below.
Again, he searches for a key.
Then realises the safe is open.
When he can't fit any more money in his clothing, he leaves,
quietly closing the cage door.
He exits the same way he came in and no-one is any the wiser.
But not for long.
A few minutes later, Nora arrives at the club for her shift.
Ian still hasn't had a chance to get back to the tills.
I came early because I was helping out, because the cleaner was away.
I did see Ian.
He was busy doing bits and pieces.
I got all my stuff together and went out into the bathroom area.
Ian gives Nora a hand with some cleaning.
While I was helping her, the tills had just totally gone from my mind.
It's not until the cleaning is done that Ian remembers
he has to get the cash to the bank.
I just glanced at the clock and said, "Oh, my God,
"I haven't done the tills yet."
He goes back down to the storeroom and when he reaches the cage,
he gets a shock.
I went to grab the lock and it just fell on the floor.
I looked and all the money had gone.
It had gone from the tills.
I then opened the safe and I thought, "Oh, my God,
"I forgot to lock the safe." Although I had padlocked the cage.
It was like, what the hell has happened? I've not heard anybody.
We've been here. I just could not imagine how I've left all the money
there and everything there locked up in the cage and now it's gone.
Ian rushes to ask Nora if she's seen anything.
His face, he was as white as a sheet and he said, "There's no money,
-"there's no money."
-I said, "I didn't know what to do, Nora."
You know, and I was almost in tears.
And Nora just grabbed hold of me and we both, well,
we both just hugged one another and, you know,
we just didn't know what to do.
Despite clearly remembering locking the cage,
Ian starts to blame himself.
The club will struggle to cope with the loss of a week's takings.
I just thought, "Hold on a minute, you know,
"there's over £5,000 here of the club's money
"and I've let it go."
You know, I've lost it. What am I going to do?
And I just really kept trying to reassure him,
"Ian, it's not your fault. It's not your fault.
"Obviously, we've been burgled. Something's happened."
Without having somebody there, I don't know how I would've coped, to be honest.
Ian calls the club treasurer and then the police.
They tell him to check the CCTV recording.
It's the only chance Ian has to find out how the money has vanished.
Because it's something that we don't use all the time, I just couldn't...
I had looked at it once before but my mind just wouldn't work,
and I'm thinking, "Oh, my God, how does this work? Please be working, please be working."
Ian and Nora go together to check if the cameras provide any clues.
We was looking and Nora's behind me and all of a sudden, she just said,
"Oh, my God! "Oh, my God. Look at him.
"Look what he's doing.
And I just turned around and I says, "Thank the Lord."
I just thought, "Oh, my gosh." I can't believe this has actually happened in broad daylight
when you're at work, so early in the morning and just...
I just couldn't believe it.
Ian hands the recording over to the police and they have an immediate
result. Officers recognise the man.
They track him down and arrest him two days later.
The camera footage helps them build a strong case against him
and he realises the game is up.
In court, the burglar pleaded guilty and was jailed
for three years and four months.
Ian has now got over what happened.
Thanks to everyone at the club rallying round him,
he no longer feels so guilty about the break-in.
I always in the back of my mind think I could have stopped that happening
but I'm here to tell the story.
People say we're glad for what you did and what you do for the club.
We don't think bad of you at all.
So all in all, it turned out good but, you know,
great thanks to the CCTV.
And now, the pitfalls of a life of crime.
This man's broken into a garage but in the dark, he stumbles
straight into the mechanic's pit that is filled with used engine oil.
They call mechanics "grease monkeys" and this guy certainly looks
the part as he clambers out.
What he thought would be a slick burglary
has ended up a pretty crude attempt!
To add to his woes,
this slippery customer's oily face is caught on a surveillance camera.
And with this clip of his pratfall,
his image is smeared over the internet.
So it's easier for police to clean up the case,
because, as burglars go, this one's been a bit of a dipstick.
This Canterbury street was built just after the war.
One of its residents, 73-year-old Margaret,
hasn't been here quite that long but she and husband Les
have lived in this street since they got married half a century ago.
We decided, yes, it was the house for us.
That's how much it cost.
52 years ago, mind you, and we're still quite happy here.
Margaret and 82-year-old Les have been through a difficult time recently.
Last year, Les became ill with mouth cancer.
He reacted well to treatment but is still recuperating.
It was a horrible time.
Les is now fed by bags of food that have to be pumped through a tube
in his tum and they are supposed to help him put on weight.
As well as looking after Les,
Margaret keeps herself busy by volunteering at a local school
and working hard to keep the neighbourhood clean and tidy.
I get a nice day and I think to myself, right,
it's street tidying day.
I weed it and sweep it, both sides.
Margaret's community spirit doesn't go unnoticed.
Neighbour Sam moved into the street a year ago and he quickly became one
of Margaret's many local admirers.
Margaret's just the most lovely person. She's got a huge sense of community about her,
which is really nice. She always says hello.
She does stuff that I wouldn't even think to do,
like cleaning the moss off the pavement and when you walk up and
down the road, you really notice that kind of stuff.
Margaret's always working to improve the neighbourhood.
And, after a spate of vandalism, she had a CCTV camera installed.
I did write a letter to all the neighbours to say
I wasn't spying on them.
I had put it in because I found that we were having damage done to our
car, which is parked outside our house.
And Margaret's security camera was soon to record a crime when she came
face-to-face with a burglar inside her own home.
It's lunchtime and Margaret has just finished her daily clean-up outside.
I'd come back into the back door to start the washing up
and I heard this thump, which I thought was from next door.
I couldn't get up and look.
I came through from the kitchen and there was a carrier bag in the hall.
Puzzled, Margaret asks Les about the bag.
As I turned from speaking to Les, this man came down the stairs.
I was absolutely horrified.
So I immediately shouted at him and said,
"What the hell are you doing in my house?
"Get out, get out now!"
I could just hear her having a good go at somebody.
Fair means or foul, I was going to get rid of him.
I, as the man of the house, should have been doing that.
But I couldn't.
As he got to the bottom of the stairs,
I physically got hold of him.
Helped him down the stairs a bit more and slung him out of the door!
Margaret's CCTV camera captures the moment she ejects him from her home.
I manhandled him out of the front door,
pushed him out of the porch door and start yelling my head off.
The man runs off.
He's running up the road and these items start falling out of his pockets
and I suddenly realised, it was my jewellery that he had taken.
The intruder has stolen some of Margaret's most precious possessions,
including her engagement ring.
Her neighbour Sam hears the shouting and rushes out to the street.
She told me that she'd been burgled.
It was just a sense of panic, really.
She just seemed really, really shaken up,
so it come across me that I just needed to help her.
Witnesses in the street point out which way the man went.
Sam's girlfriend Sophie picks him up in her car
and they drive off in search of the man.
We drove around the corner and then we saw a lot of Margaret's possessions
that he'd obviously thrown out on to the corner,
so Sophie stopped and picked all that up and I ran after the guy.
But the man's disappeared.
Sam goes back to check that Margaret's OK and hands over the
items he's found, including a laptop and some jewellery.
Amongst the tangle of beads that Sam retrieved
was my engagement and my ruby anniversary ring.
I was really thankful that they...
At least I'd got those back.
It was a nice moment. I could see a sense of relief on her face and I
could see that she was, you know, slightly more relieved but however,
she was still in shock.
But one of Margaret's most cherished possessions is still missing.
It's a charm bracelet that Les had bought me the charms for over the years.
She was very, very upset.
The police are called and scour the area
but it looks like the burglar has got away.
Back at the house, officers look for clues and they find some important
evidence upstairs in Margaret's bedroom.
The forensics man found fresh blood on the jewellery wardrobe.
The intruder must have cut himself while stealing Margaret's jewellery.
Samples of the blood are sent to the forensics lab for DNA testing.
The case is assigned to Detective Constable Peter Frampton.
It was an alarming burglary because he knew that somebody was in the
house, so it was very important to catch this chap.
The DNA results from the blood sample come through and Peter gets a
The DNA's been matched on the national database and it
gives me a name and we've got an address, which is absolutely fantastic.
The police go round to arrest the man.
These officers found him hiding in a rear bedroom
in the same clothing that he was caught on CCTV.
The fact that the suspect's clothes matched those worn by the thief on
Margaret's security camera helps Peter build the case against the suspect.
The man pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced
to a year and eight months in prison.
Following the incident, the neighbourhood's admiration for
Margaret has grown even more,
for the way she single-handedly threw the burglar out of her home.
My neighbours were absolutely amazed that I'd struggled with this man
to evict him from the house.
They also said, he could have had a knife,
he could have injured you but you get this adrenaline surge,
and I just wanted him out.
Margaret didn't manage to get all her jewellery back,
but she hasn't lost her positive attitude to life.
Les has now been declared cancer-free
and I think that I've got quite a long time left yet to live
in this house and hopefully, it will be happily ever after.
Now you've got to admire Margaret's spirit but sometimes,
confronting a burglar face-to-face can be the worst thing we can do.
So what action should we take in the unlikely event of finding an
intruder in our home?
If you end up in a confrontation with an offender, or suspect, that
is unavoidable, try to keep things calm
because sometimes being violent or aggressive
can escalate the situation and put you at risk.
One of the options you do have is obviously to run away and to
create distance, so go to a safe part of the house,
or if that's not an option, there may be a physical barrier,
kitchen table, something like that,
use that as an option to keep yourself safe.
Back off from them, be as reassuring to them as you possibly can,
given the situation, that you don't mean them any threat or any harm.
Ask them to leave but be polite and you'll be surprised
how many burglars will politely walk out of your house
when challenged by a polite homeowner.
People might not realise this, but you don't actually have to speak to us when you ring 999.
So if you just ring the number and it's a silent 999,
we can trace the call and we'll be there immediately.
Clothing and direction of travel of where they are going to after is
really, really important
cos we may capture it on CCTV leaving your address
or a nearby address, as well.
Our thief eyes up a valuable vase in an art gallery.
She waits until no-one is looking then hides it in her bag.
Next minute, she's out of the shop and away.
But she's left behind a crucial piece of evidence.
In the north of Cardiff, the suburb of Rhiwbina
has a friendly village feel with a variety of shops
that appeal to locals and visitors alike.
This is where Victoria, an art entrepreneur,
decided to set up a gallery 13 years ago.
This shop popped up on the market,
and I've never regretted deciding to come to Rhiwbina.
Victoria had learned how to design and make jewellery at
university but it was her love for all art, and the need for a steadier
income, that led her to open a gallery.
I thought, let's bite the bullet and as well as making my own jewellery on the premises,
I also had the income of selling other people's work as well.
As her business grew, Victoria advertised for another member
of staff and was delighted when she found Alison.
I love art and I really enjoy it.
It's the best job I've ever had.
Victoria exhibits work by artists from all over the country.
Every piece that is sold in the gallery,
the gallery takes a cut and pays the artist.
The arrangement works well for everyone.
Unless, of course, one of the exhibits is taken by someone who doesn't pay for it.
If a piece is stolen, then I still have to pay the artist
and it's me personally that's out of pocket.
Victoria knows this only too well because a couple of unsold
thefts in the past left her with large losses.
Because it's a small business and because Victoria's got a young family,
every penny counts and it's not like a big business.
It has a much bigger impact on a small business.
So Victoria's dad installed some surveillance technology.
Hopefully, it's a deterrent.
But unfortunately, it doesn't deter one particular thief,
who clearly believes she has mastered the art of shoplifting.
It's a weekday morning in the early summer.
Victoria's opening the gallery after leaving it in Alison's capable hands the previous afternoon.
I come in, turn on the lights, I come straight through to the kitchen,
turned round and noticed an empty space on one of the plinths.
The plinth had been displaying an expensive vase.
A very beautiful blue glass vase, worth £280.
I immediately panicked.
Victoria sees there's no mention of the vase in the items sold register
so she calls Alison at home.
Victoria asked me if I've put aside the vase,
which I hadn't.
And at that point, your heart just drops.
I was very panicked, especially as it was an expensive item.
I just didn't know what to say to Alison.
I was in charge in the gallery,
so I felt really frightened and guilty and worried.
The vase had a camera pointing towards it,
so Victoria begins searching to see what it had recorded.
There's hours of footage to play back and then I realised that,
"Oh, I've got this personal camera."
Victoria's spellbound as she watches a woman and a man enter the gallery.
The man walks back out but the woman goes up to the vase that's missing.
Alison was distracted at the till.
She was selling a raffle ticket at the time.
The woman looks closely at another vase,
glances at her bag then goes to the front of the gallery.
She just walks away for a second
whilst she's possibly checking that Alison's not watching her.
Then the woman goes back to the vases again.
She seems to take an age deciding what to do.
Then she takes the vase and quickly hides it in her bag,
before leaving the gallery.
It's very shocking when you see somebody on camera taking something.
It makes me feel angry,
because I work so hard to keep this gallery going and to have somebody
come in and steal something, it's just terrifying.
Victoria calls the police.
Officers arrive and look at the camera recording.
Not only is the woman's face visible,
the footage also clearly shows her touching another vase.
It could yield valuable forensic evidence.
That's the vase that we took the fingerprints off.
We were lucky to have had that.
It's something that you can't deny.
The police leave with the fingerprint and camera evidence.
Meanwhile, Victoria decides to launch her own investigation.
She films the CCTV with her phone and posts it on the internet,
hoping someone will recognise the woman.
I was so cross that it had happened
and I didn't want people to think that we're a pushover.
I knew that I had to put it on Facebook to show people
I'm not prepared to let this go.
She is staggered by the reaction.
It was amazing, the response I had from people.
Everybody was sharing it,
friends and family and people who weren't even in Rhiwbina, or Cardiff.
Everyone wanted this person to be caught.
Before the end of the day, I'd had several phone calls
with a name and I was lucky enough to be able to pass that information on to the police.
Officers go to arrest the woman.
They went to her house and she wasn't there.
I think she knew, because it was on Facebook, that she was,
she was going to get a knock on the door.
They catch the woman several days later.
She denies the theft during questioning but they can prove
she isn't telling the truth.
They then took fingerprints which matched the fingerprints they'd
taken off the vase which she'd left in the gallery.
Faced with this, the woman changes her plea to guilty.
In court, she was ordered to pay £515 in fines and costs,
including compensation to Victoria for the value of the vase.
Victoria's pleased the woman received a criminal record.
It's hopefully a deterrent that we as a small business
are not going to just let people walk all over us
and come in and take what they want.
Victoria and Alison haven't let the experience spoil their enjoyment of
running the gallery.
Everybody was so, so supportive of Victoria
and the loyalty to the gallery was very heartening.
This experience has made me a stronger person.
I feel confident in what I can do
and I would like to continue doing as best as I can.
-Thank you very much.
That's it for today.
And that's it for a few more criminals who've been caught red-handed.
An intruder raids a social club's safe while the manager is on the phone, a burglar tries to rob a house but meets his match at the foot of the stairs, and a man breaks into a garage and ends up having an early bath... in engine oil.