Episode 4 Caught Red Handed


Episode 4

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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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 catch the bad guys.

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We want to make sure we've got a concrete case.

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Enough evidence to convict at 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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It's just unbelievable that she thinks she can get away with this.

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And the public are using secret cameras to make sure the 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 is up to no good had better think twice.

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They might just get caught red-handed.

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Today, while social-club manager Ian is on the phone,

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an intruder sneaks through his club's back door.

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And raids the safe,

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stuffing thousands of pounds down his trousers.

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I didn't know what to do, you know, and I was almost in tears.

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His face, he was as white as a sheet and he said, "There's no money,

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"there's no money."

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Also today,

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a burglar doesn't think twice about robbing this house in broad daylight.

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But then he meets his match at the foot of the stairs.

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I was absolutely horrified.

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"What the hell are you doing in my house?"

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73-year-old Margaret teaches him a lesson he won't forget in a hurry.

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"Get out, get out now!"

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And a man breaks into a garage.

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But doesn't watch his step and ends up having an early bath!

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In engine oil.

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A government campaign back in the '60s said, "Watch out, watch out,

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"there's a thief about."

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And nothing has changed.

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There are still plenty of thieves watching out themselves

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for easy pickings.

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West Byfleet is a small village in the Surrey stockbroker belt.

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At its heart is the social club and thanks to steward Ian,

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the club is now more popular than ever.

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We've got a really big mixture of, you know,

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from like 18-year-old members.

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Our oldest one last year had his birthday party, 107,

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he turned round and he said, "You know what, this is the best party I've ever had in my life.

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"Can I book it for next year?"

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Everybody OK?

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Barmaid Nora likes the happy atmosphere Ian has built up at

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the club, both for the members and the staff.

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Ian is my boss but also, we are good friends, you know, socially.

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We all quite like that in here.

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We do what we're told when we have to but we can also, you know,

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have fun together.

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Working here is more than just a job for Ian.

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It's a passion.

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It's my pride and joy.

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And I just love the place.

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To me, it's my home.

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But one day while Ian was on duty,

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his home from home was invaded by an unwelcome visitor.

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It's a Thursday morning and Ian is cashing up before he takes the club's earnings to the bank.

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But when a delivery lorry arrives from the brewery,

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Ian has to leave the tills for a while.

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I stopped counting the money,

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I put everything to one side and I always lock up the cage, shut it,

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lock it up, because at the end of the day,

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I wouldn't want to put temptation to anybody.

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But outside, this man is no stranger to temptation.

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He checks out the cab of the lorry,

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probably looking for something to steal.

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It's broad daylight but no-one spots his odd behaviour.

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The draymen are busy inside and Ian's dealing with delivery

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paperwork in the club's committee room

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but he knows the cash is safely under lock and key.

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Once it's padlocked, basically, you need to break in to get into it

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and, while I'm around, I don't think anybody's going to do that.

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But the man outside has other ideas.

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He's been hiding behind the lorry

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and now he's looking to get inside the club.

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Seconds later, the draymen walk back to their vehicle.

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Somehow they don't see him as they leave.

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The intruder sees his opportunity and casually walks towards the

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storeroom. He finds the cage and sees the cash.

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As the delivery lorry leaves the yard,

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Ian's still busy in his office.

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The main reason why I didn't go back to the tills immediately after the

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brewery had been is that when the phone rang, I went to answer the phone.

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The intruder is just a couple of feet away from a week's worth of takings,

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thousands of pounds, but there's a padlocked door in the way.

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The man searches for a key.

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He could be spotted at any moment.

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He's just round the corner from the room where Ian is on the phone.

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He's found a key.

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But it doesn't fit.

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So he tries another.

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That doesn't fit either.

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The intruder searches the bar again and finds a tool box.

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He's going to use a screwdriver.

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And a bit of brute force.

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He's got to the cash.

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Ian's still on the phone.

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He's totally unaware he's being burgled.

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I've not heard anybody.

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The committee room is the other end of the building.

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The intruder goes for the notes,

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grabbing fistfuls and stuffing them down his trousers.

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Then he finds more money in the cash box.

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For a moment, he worries about fingerprints.

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But then continues to clear the till drawers.

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He's taking the risk of being discovered,

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but this thief's greedy, because he's noticed the safe below.

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Again, he searches for a key.

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Then realises the safe is open.

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When he can't fit any more money in his clothing, he leaves,

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quietly closing the cage door.

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He exits the same way he came in and no-one is any the wiser.

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But not for long.

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A few minutes later, Nora arrives at the club for her shift.

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Ian still hasn't had a chance to get back to the tills.

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I came early because I was helping out, because the cleaner was away.

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I did see Ian.

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He was busy doing bits and pieces.

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I got all my stuff together and went out into the bathroom area.

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Ian gives Nora a hand with some cleaning.

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While I was helping her, the tills had just totally gone from my mind.

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It's not until the cleaning is done that Ian remembers

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he has to get the cash to the bank.

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I just glanced at the clock and said, "Oh, my God,

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"I haven't done the tills yet."

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He goes back down to the storeroom and when he reaches the cage,

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he gets a shock.

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I went to grab the lock and it just fell on the floor.

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I looked and all the money had gone.

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It had gone from the tills.

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I then opened the safe and I thought, "Oh, my God,

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"I forgot to lock the safe." Although I had padlocked the cage.

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It was like, what the hell has happened? I've not heard anybody.

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We've been here. I just could not imagine how I've left all the money

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there and everything there locked up in the cage and now it's gone.

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Ian rushes to ask Nora if she's seen anything.

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His face, he was as white as a sheet and he said, "There's no money,

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-"there's no money."

-I said, "I didn't know what to do, Nora."

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You know, and I was almost in tears.

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And Nora just grabbed hold of me and we both, well,

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we both just hugged one another and, you know,

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we just didn't know what to do.

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Despite clearly remembering locking the cage,

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Ian starts to blame himself.

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The club will struggle to cope with the loss of a week's takings.

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I just thought, "Hold on a minute, you know,

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"there's over £5,000 here of the club's money

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"and I've let it go."

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You know, I've lost it. What am I going to do?

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And I just really kept trying to reassure him,

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"Ian, it's not your fault. It's not your fault.

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"Obviously, we've been burgled. Something's happened."

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Without having somebody there, I don't know how I would've coped, to be honest.

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Ian calls the club treasurer and then the police.

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They tell him to check the CCTV recording.

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It's the only chance Ian has to find out how the money has vanished.

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Because it's something that we don't use all the time, I just couldn't...

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I had looked at it once before but my mind just wouldn't work,

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and I'm thinking, "Oh, my God, how does this work? Please be working, please be working."

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Ian and Nora go together to check if the cameras provide any clues.

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We was looking and Nora's behind me and all of a sudden, she just said,

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"Oh, my God! "Oh, my God. Look at him.

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"Look what he's doing.

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And I just turned around and I says, "Thank the Lord."

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I just thought, "Oh, my gosh." I can't believe this has actually happened in broad daylight

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when you're at work, so early in the morning and just...

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I just couldn't believe it.

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Ian hands the recording over to the police and they have an immediate

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result. Officers recognise the man.

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They track him down and arrest him two days later.

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The camera footage helps them build a strong case against him

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and he realises the game is up.

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In court, the burglar pleaded guilty and was jailed

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for three years and four months.

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Ian has now got over what happened.

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Thanks to everyone at the club rallying round him,

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he no longer feels so guilty about the break-in.

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I always in the back of my mind think I could have stopped that happening

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but I'm here to tell the story.

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People say we're glad for what you did and what you do for the club.

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We don't think bad of you at all.

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So all in all, it turned out good but, you know,

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great thanks to the CCTV.

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And now, the pitfalls of a life of crime.

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This man's broken into a garage but in the dark, he stumbles

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straight into the mechanic's pit that is filled with used engine oil.

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They call mechanics "grease monkeys" and this guy certainly looks

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the part as he clambers out.

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What he thought would be a slick burglary

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has ended up a pretty crude attempt!

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To add to his woes,

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this slippery customer's oily face is caught on a surveillance camera.

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And with this clip of his pratfall,

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his image is smeared over the internet.

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So it's easier for police to clean up the case,

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because, as burglars go, this one's been a bit of a dipstick.

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This Canterbury street was built just after the war.

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One of its residents, 73-year-old Margaret,

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hasn't been here quite that long but she and husband Les

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have lived in this street since they got married half a century ago.

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We decided, yes, it was the house for us.

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£3,050.

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That's how much it cost.

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52 years ago, mind you, and we're still quite happy here.

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Margaret and 82-year-old Les have been through a difficult time recently.

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Last year, Les became ill with mouth cancer.

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He reacted well to treatment but is still recuperating.

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It was a horrible time.

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Les is now fed by bags of food that have to be pumped through a tube

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in his tum and they are supposed to help him put on weight.

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As well as looking after Les,

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Margaret keeps herself busy by volunteering at a local school

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and working hard to keep the neighbourhood clean and tidy.

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I get a nice day and I think to myself, right,

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it's street tidying day.

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I weed it and sweep it, both sides.

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Margaret's community spirit doesn't go unnoticed.

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Neighbour Sam moved into the street a year ago and he quickly became one

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of Margaret's many local admirers.

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Margaret's just the most lovely person. She's got a huge sense of community about her,

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which is really nice. She always says hello.

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She does stuff that I wouldn't even think to do,

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like cleaning the moss off the pavement and when you walk up and

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down the road, you really notice that kind of stuff.

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Margaret's always working to improve the neighbourhood.

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And, after a spate of vandalism, she had a CCTV camera installed.

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I did write a letter to all the neighbours to say

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I wasn't spying on them.

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I had put it in because I found that we were having damage done to our

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car, which is parked outside our house.

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And Margaret's security camera was soon to record a crime when she came

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face-to-face with a burglar inside her own home.

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It's lunchtime and Margaret has just finished her daily clean-up outside.

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I'd come back into the back door to start the washing up

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and I heard this thump, which I thought was from next door.

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What's that?

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I couldn't get up and look.

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I came through from the kitchen and there was a carrier bag in the hall.

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Puzzled, Margaret asks Les about the bag.

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As I turned from speaking to Les, this man came down the stairs.

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I was absolutely horrified.

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So I immediately shouted at him and said,

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"What the hell are you doing in my house?

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"Get out, get out now!"

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I could just hear her having a good go at somebody.

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Fair means or foul, I was going to get rid of him.

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I, as the man of the house, should have been doing that.

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But I couldn't.

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As he got to the bottom of the stairs,

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I physically got hold of him.

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Helped him down the stairs a bit more and slung him out of the door!

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Margaret's CCTV camera captures the moment she ejects him from her home.

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I manhandled him out of the front door,

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pushed him out of the porch door and start yelling my head off.

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The man runs off.

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He's running up the road and these items start falling out of his pockets

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and I suddenly realised, it was my jewellery that he had taken.

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The intruder has stolen some of Margaret's most precious possessions,

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including her engagement ring.

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Her neighbour Sam hears the shouting and rushes out to the street.

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She told me that she'd been burgled.

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It was just a sense of panic, really.

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She just seemed really, really shaken up,

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so it come across me that I just needed to help her.

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Witnesses in the street point out which way the man went.

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Sam's girlfriend Sophie picks him up in her car

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and they drive off in search of the man.

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We drove around the corner and then we saw a lot of Margaret's possessions

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that he'd obviously thrown out on to the corner,

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so Sophie stopped and picked all that up and I ran after the guy.

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But the man's disappeared.

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Sam goes back to check that Margaret's OK and hands over the

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items he's found, including a laptop and some jewellery.

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Amongst the tangle of beads that Sam retrieved

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was my engagement and my ruby anniversary ring.

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I was really thankful that they...

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At least I'd got those back.

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It was a nice moment. I could see a sense of relief on her face and I

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could see that she was, you know, slightly more relieved but however,

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she was still in shock.

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But one of Margaret's most cherished possessions is still missing.

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It's a charm bracelet that Les had bought me the charms for over the years.

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She was very, very upset.

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The police are called and scour the area

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but it looks like the burglar has got away.

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Back at the house, officers look for clues and they find some important

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evidence upstairs in Margaret's bedroom.

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The forensics man found fresh blood on the jewellery wardrobe.

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The intruder must have cut himself while stealing Margaret's jewellery.

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Samples of the blood are sent to the forensics lab for DNA testing.

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The case is assigned to Detective Constable Peter Frampton.

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It was an alarming burglary because he knew that somebody was in the

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house, so it was very important to catch this chap.

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The DNA results from the blood sample come through and Peter gets a

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valuable lead.

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The DNA's been matched on the national database and it

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gives me a name and we've got an address, which is absolutely fantastic.

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The police go round to arrest the man.

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These officers found him hiding in a rear bedroom

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in the same clothing that he was caught on CCTV.

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The fact that the suspect's clothes matched those worn by the thief on

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Margaret's security camera helps Peter build the case against the suspect.

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The man pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced

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to a year and eight months in prison.

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Following the incident, the neighbourhood's admiration for

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Margaret has grown even more,

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for the way she single-handedly threw the burglar out of her home.

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My neighbours were absolutely amazed that I'd struggled with this man

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to evict him from the house.

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They also said, he could have had a knife,

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he could have injured you but you get this adrenaline surge,

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and I just wanted him out.

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Margaret didn't manage to get all her jewellery back,

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but she hasn't lost her positive attitude to life.

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Les has now been declared cancer-free

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and I think that I've got quite a long time left yet to live

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in this house and hopefully, it will be happily ever after.

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Now you've got to admire Margaret's spirit but sometimes,

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confronting a burglar face-to-face can be the worst thing we can do.

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So what action should we take in the unlikely event of finding an

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intruder in our home?

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If you end up in a confrontation with an offender, or suspect, that

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is unavoidable, try to keep things calm

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because sometimes being violent or aggressive

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can escalate the situation and put you at risk.

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One of the options you do have is obviously to run away and to

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create distance, so go to a safe part of the house,

0:19:510:19:54

or if that's not an option, there may be a physical barrier,

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kitchen table, something like that,

0:19:570:19:59

use that as an option to keep yourself safe.

0:19:590:20:01

Back off from them, be as reassuring to them as you possibly can,

0:20:010:20:04

given the situation, that you don't mean them any threat or any harm.

0:20:040:20:08

Ask them to leave but be polite and you'll be surprised

0:20:080:20:10

how many burglars will politely walk out of your house

0:20:100:20:13

when challenged by a polite homeowner.

0:20:130:20:15

People might not realise this, but you don't actually have to speak to us when you ring 999.

0:20:150:20:19

So if you just ring the number and it's a silent 999,

0:20:190:20:23

we can trace the call and we'll be there immediately.

0:20:230:20:26

Clothing and direction of travel of where they are going to after is

0:20:260:20:28

really, really important

0:20:280:20:30

cos we may capture it on CCTV leaving your address

0:20:300:20:33

or a nearby address, as well.

0:20:330:20:35

Our thief eyes up a valuable vase in an art gallery.

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She waits until no-one is looking then hides it in her bag.

0:20:420:20:46

Next minute, she's out of the shop and away.

0:20:470:20:50

But she's left behind a crucial piece of evidence.

0:20:500:20:54

In the north of Cardiff, the suburb of Rhiwbina

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has a friendly village feel with a variety of shops

0:21:060:21:10

that appeal to locals and visitors alike.

0:21:100:21:12

This is where Victoria, an art entrepreneur,

0:21:140:21:16

decided to set up a gallery 13 years ago.

0:21:160:21:20

This shop popped up on the market,

0:21:200:21:23

and I've never regretted deciding to come to Rhiwbina.

0:21:230:21:28

It's lovely.

0:21:280:21:29

Victoria had learned how to design and make jewellery at

0:21:290:21:32

university but it was her love for all art, and the need for a steadier

0:21:320:21:37

income, that led her to open a gallery.

0:21:370:21:40

I thought, let's bite the bullet and as well as making my own jewellery on the premises,

0:21:400:21:44

I also had the income of selling other people's work as well.

0:21:440:21:49

As her business grew, Victoria advertised for another member

0:21:490:21:53

of staff and was delighted when she found Alison.

0:21:530:21:56

I love art and I really enjoy it.

0:21:560:22:00

It's the best job I've ever had.

0:22:000:22:02

Victoria exhibits work by artists from all over the country.

0:22:020:22:06

Every piece that is sold in the gallery,

0:22:060:22:09

the gallery takes a cut and pays the artist.

0:22:090:22:14

The arrangement works well for everyone.

0:22:140:22:16

Unless, of course, one of the exhibits is taken by someone who doesn't pay for it.

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If a piece is stolen, then I still have to pay the artist

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and it's me personally that's out of pocket.

0:22:260:22:29

Victoria knows this only too well because a couple of unsold

0:22:290:22:33

thefts in the past left her with large losses.

0:22:330:22:36

Because it's a small business and because Victoria's got a young family,

0:22:370:22:41

every penny counts and it's not like a big business.

0:22:410:22:44

It has a much bigger impact on a small business.

0:22:440:22:48

So Victoria's dad installed some surveillance technology.

0:22:480:22:52

Hopefully, it's a deterrent.

0:22:520:22:55

But unfortunately, it doesn't deter one particular thief,

0:22:550:22:59

who clearly believes she has mastered the art of shoplifting.

0:22:590:23:03

It's a weekday morning in the early summer.

0:23:060:23:09

Victoria's opening the gallery after leaving it in Alison's capable hands the previous afternoon.

0:23:090:23:14

I come in, turn on the lights, I come straight through to the kitchen,

0:23:160:23:19

turned round and noticed an empty space on one of the plinths.

0:23:190:23:24

The plinth had been displaying an expensive vase.

0:23:240:23:27

A very beautiful blue glass vase, worth £280.

0:23:280:23:33

I immediately panicked.

0:23:330:23:35

Victoria sees there's no mention of the vase in the items sold register

0:23:350:23:39

so she calls Alison at home.

0:23:390:23:41

Victoria asked me if I've put aside the vase,

0:23:410:23:45

which I hadn't.

0:23:450:23:48

And at that point, your heart just drops.

0:23:480:23:50

I was very panicked, especially as it was an expensive item.

0:23:500:23:54

I just didn't know what to say to Alison.

0:23:540:23:57

I was in charge in the gallery,

0:23:570:23:58

so I felt really frightened and guilty and worried.

0:23:580:24:03

The vase had a camera pointing towards it,

0:24:040:24:06

so Victoria begins searching to see what it had recorded.

0:24:060:24:10

There's hours of footage to play back and then I realised that,

0:24:100:24:14

"Oh, I've got this personal camera."

0:24:140:24:17

Victoria's spellbound as she watches a woman and a man enter the gallery.

0:24:190:24:24

The man walks back out but the woman goes up to the vase that's missing.

0:24:240:24:28

Alison was distracted at the till.

0:24:300:24:32

She was selling a raffle ticket at the time.

0:24:320:24:35

The woman looks closely at another vase,

0:24:350:24:38

glances at her bag then goes to the front of the gallery.

0:24:380:24:41

She just walks away for a second

0:24:420:24:44

whilst she's possibly checking that Alison's not watching her.

0:24:440:24:48

Then the woman goes back to the vases again.

0:24:480:24:51

She seems to take an age deciding what to do.

0:24:520:24:55

Then she takes the vase and quickly hides it in her bag,

0:24:560:25:00

before leaving the gallery.

0:25:020:25:03

It's very shocking when you see somebody on camera taking something.

0:25:050:25:10

It makes me feel angry,

0:25:100:25:12

because I work so hard to keep this gallery going and to have somebody

0:25:120:25:17

come in and steal something, it's just terrifying.

0:25:170:25:21

Victoria calls the police.

0:25:220:25:23

Officers arrive and look at the camera recording.

0:25:250:25:28

They're delighted.

0:25:280:25:29

Not only is the woman's face visible,

0:25:290:25:32

the footage also clearly shows her touching another vase.

0:25:320:25:35

It could yield valuable forensic evidence.

0:25:350:25:38

That's the vase that we took the fingerprints off.

0:25:400:25:42

We were lucky to have had that.

0:25:440:25:45

It's something that you can't deny.

0:25:450:25:48

The police leave with the fingerprint and camera evidence.

0:25:480:25:52

Meanwhile, Victoria decides to launch her own investigation.

0:25:520:25:55

She films the CCTV with her phone and posts it on the internet,

0:25:570:26:01

hoping someone will recognise the woman.

0:26:010:26:03

I was so cross that it had happened

0:26:040:26:06

and I didn't want people to think that we're a pushover.

0:26:060:26:09

I knew that I had to put it on Facebook to show people

0:26:090:26:12

I'm not prepared to let this go.

0:26:120:26:15

She is staggered by the reaction.

0:26:160:26:18

It was amazing, the response I had from people.

0:26:200:26:22

Everybody was sharing it,

0:26:220:26:24

friends and family and people who weren't even in Rhiwbina, or Cardiff.

0:26:240:26:30

Everyone wanted this person to be caught.

0:26:300:26:33

Before the end of the day, I'd had several phone calls

0:26:330:26:36

with a name and I was lucky enough to be able to pass that information on to the police.

0:26:360:26:41

Officers go to arrest the woman.

0:26:410:26:43

They went to her house and she wasn't there.

0:26:440:26:47

I think she knew, because it was on Facebook, that she was,

0:26:470:26:52

she was going to get a knock on the door.

0:26:520:26:54

They catch the woman several days later.

0:26:540:26:57

She denies the theft during questioning but they can prove

0:26:570:27:01

she isn't telling the truth.

0:27:010:27:02

They then took fingerprints which matched the fingerprints they'd

0:27:030:27:08

taken off the vase which she'd left in the gallery.

0:27:080:27:11

Faced with this, the woman changes her plea to guilty.

0:27:110:27:14

In court, she was ordered to pay £515 in fines and costs,

0:27:190:27:24

including compensation to Victoria for the value of the vase.

0:27:240:27:27

Victoria's pleased the woman received a criminal record.

0:27:310:27:36

It's hopefully a deterrent that we as a small business

0:27:360:27:41

are not going to just let people walk all over us

0:27:410:27:44

and come in and take what they want.

0:27:440:27:46

Victoria and Alison haven't let the experience spoil their enjoyment of

0:27:460:27:50

running the gallery.

0:27:500:27:52

Everybody was so, so supportive of Victoria

0:27:520:27:55

and the loyalty to the gallery was very heartening.

0:27:550:28:01

This experience has made me a stronger person.

0:28:010:28:04

I feel confident in what I can do

0:28:040:28:08

and I would like to continue doing as best as I can.

0:28:080:28:13

-Thank you very much.

-Thank you.

-Bye-bye.

0:28:130:28:16

That's it for today.

0:28:200:28:22

And that's it for a few more criminals who've been caught red-handed.

0:28:220:28:26

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.


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