Dom Littlewood shows how technology is being used to catch crooks. A jeweller must act fast when armed men attack his shop, and a city unites to take on thieves.
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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, jeweller Shrikant has to act fast...
..when armed men attack his shop.
My staff started screaming
so, obviously, I was thinking of the safety of everybody in the shop.
But the robbers get a surprise
when Shrikant triggers his state-of-the-art security system.
Also today, in Liverpool, thieves have been plaguing small businesses.
They turned over Gareth's bar twice in a month.
It's horrible. Is this ever going to stop?
Is anyone ever going to be caught?
So Gareth comes up with a plan to unite the city
and call time on these crooks.
And this couple are using a baby buggy to steal a beer barrel.
But they haven't counted on the sharp eyes
of the security camera operator, who wasn't born yesterday.
Of all the shops in a typical high street,
jewellery shops are prime targets for robbers.
They can see all the valuables on display
and they look very accessible.
But jewellers are finding some ingenious ways
to defend their businesses.
The Golden Mile in Leicester,
a road renowned for its Indian restaurants,
sari shops and jewellers.
Shrikant, with his brothers Jay and Raj, runs this jewellery shop,
which was established by their father in 1976.
He'd run a similar business in Uganda,
before being forced out of the country,
along with many other Asians in the mid-'70s.
When we had to leave, in the night
there was a lot of gunshots, so it was quite scary.
And that's really stuck in my head.
Shrikant was just ten when he arrived in the UK.
Along with his brothers, he learnt about jewellery as he grew up.
The jewellery trade, it's in our blood
and, whilst my father was building up the business,
he used to teach me how to make some jewellery
and that's how I got into it.
Despite competition for customers, the jewellery shop owners
in the Golden Mile have always stuck together.
It is a lovely community, very tight-knit.
We do get together and have meetings regularly for security purposes.
Local businesses have boosted their security systems
with state-of-the-art alarms and smoke generators
to deter thieves because shops,
including Shrikant's, have been attacked by armed gangs in the past.
Very, very terrifying it was, but, at the back of your mind,
you're always thinking to yourself
that yes, this has happened and it could happen again.
And it does happen to Shrikant again
when, one day, armed men raid his shop
and he has just seconds to respond to save his business.
It's mid-afternoon on a Saturday.
Shrikant, his brother Jay and other members of staff are in the shop.
Shrikant's dealing with two customers.
I was at the back and, obviously,
when you're concentrating on a customer,
you're not really looking round to see what's going on.
A man walks up to the entrance.
For security, the door is kept locked,
so a member of staff presses a button under the counter
to let him in.
But he loiters by the door, preventing it from shutting.
I heard the staff saying, "Please close the door."
And I thought, "Right, what's going on?
"Is somebody else coming in with a pushchair?"
But then, when I looked, I only saw one person there
so I said to him, "Please, if you don't mind, close the door."
Shrikant can't see outside, where a car has pulled up
and three masked men are leaping out.
Two of them are brandishing axes, the other has a metal bar.
They storm into the shop.
Very, very terrifying.
All sorts of thoughts go through your mind cos I didn't know
whether they were just here to try and grab some jewellery
or whether they were here to try and attack us and do something else,
and if they're swinging an axe, they could swing it at you as well.
The armed men start smashing the toughened glass counters.
My staff started screaming
so, obviously, I was thinking of the safety of everybody in the shop.
But even though it's a terrifying situation,
Shrikant manages to keep a cool head.
I had to act very fast,
so I turned round and I went to the back of the shop,
activated the alarms, activated the smoke,
and the SmokeCloak fills the shop up within seconds.
I think they realise that they don't have much time left now.
The robbers have only been in the shop for ten seconds,
when they panic and start leaving,
driven out by the alarm and billowing smoke.
Shrikant follows them.
I thought, "Right, I'll run after them so that I've got
"something to give to the police as to which direction they went."
The robbers dive into the black car.
All they've managed to take is two small trays of gold jewellery.
They went straight down the road, so I made a note of the registration.
Shrikant goes back inside and calmly phones the police.
This is part of the recording of his 999 call.
Shrikant tries to console his staff and customers.
You are so upset at that point.
I told the family members and staff, "Let's go to the back of the shop.
"Sit yourselves down, relax."
The police reach his shop within minutes.
Detective Constable Nick Lant is the officer in charge of the case.
Officers arrived at the jewellers to find a scene of devastation.
There was still smoke spilling out of the open door
and there was smashed glass everywhere.
There was an axe lying on the pavement,
directly outside the front door,
and an axe lying within the shop.
You can imagine the state that some of the staff were in.
The robbery might have only lasted ten seconds,
but it certainly didn't seem like that to Shrikant and his colleagues.
The seconds really felt like about five minutes
and you're so frightened and those five minutes are really, really bad.
Considering the extreme and organised nature of their raid,
the robbers must be disappointed with the value of their haul.
We would estimate that the street value is probably only £5,000.
If they had to share that, it doesn't add up to much.
Whilst they do this, they leave a scar at the back of your mind
which will obviously be there for the rest of your life.
Because the robbers achieved so little, they may well try again.
They need to be caught quickly.
Coming up, police officers search the shop and find the robbers
have left behind a clue that will prove to be their downfall.
For most people, 5.30am is a little early to roll out the barrel.
But not this couple!
They're making off across a market square
with a keg of beer they've stolen from a pub.
And now, bizarrely,
they're loading the barrel into a baby buggy.
I've heard of wetting the baby's head but this is ridiculous!
Like proud parents, they leisurely saunter through the city streets
with their 52-pint-size new arrival.
But they haven't counted on
the ever watchful local security camera operator,
who's spotted the theft
and is reporting their movements to the police.
One policeman chases after them on foot,
while a patrol car follows up behind.
The couple are soon apprehended
and forced to sheepishly wield their booze-filled buggy back to the pub.
They are fined £100 for their trouble.
Thanks to the sharp-eyed camera operator,
the police had them over a barrel.
A bar and a cafe share the same building
and they share the same problem.
They are being attacked by thieves again...
GLASS SMASHES ..and again...
GLASS SMASHES ..and again.
In Liverpool's historic city centre,
husband and wife team, Gareth and Vicky,
have been running their own bar for a year.
They specialise in craft beer,
which has been growing in popularity across the UK.
We live, eat, breathe craft beer, you know.
Small batch, small brewery, handcrafted beer.
The couple were inspired to start their own business
after experiencing the craft beer scene in America, while on holiday.
It was just a very drunken conversation.
What if we opened our own bar?
Gareth and Vicky gave up their jobs and poured in their savings
to build a bar in their hometown of Liverpool.
It was a massive risk to open a bar.
Neither of us have opened a bar in our lives.
Day before opening, we had the entire family here,
painting and putting the furniture in
and it was a fantastic night, it really was.
We've not looked back since, thankfully.
Their bar is on one of Liverpool's oldest streets
and is situated in a conservation area.
It's just a gorgeous building to be in, it really is.
But being in a listed building can have its drawbacks.
The couple are allowed to have a metal shutter on their door
but they can't have shutters on their windows
to protect their bar when it's closed.
And that's about to cost them dear.
It's the early hours of a Sunday morning.
The bar has closed for the night.
Gareth and Vicky are currently abroad on holiday.
Their staff have long gone home...
..when a man breaks in,
by smashing a window to the side of the front door.
He scurries over to the till, but it's totally empty.
The man searches round for anything else he can lay his hands on.
He finds the staff's tip jars and tips each jar into his pockets.
Then he hurries back out the way he came in.
Staff discover the break-in later that day
and Gareth and Vicky get a call that ruins their happy holiday.
Totally shell-shocked, really.
My wife, Vicky, was extremely upset, as was I.
It was heartbreaking, it really was.
It's little consolation that the thief had got away
with only a small amount of tips.
The real problem is the extensive damage he'd caused.
Replacement cost of the window
and the boarding up costs were in excess of £1,000
and for a very small business like ourselves,
that was difficult to find.
Gareth fears for the bar's future.
The fact he can't put shutters on the window
puts him in an impossible situation.
It's a Grade II listed building and Planning would never allow that,
so there was no way for us
to actually secure them windows from the outside.
The couple have to carry on trading with the window boarded up.
A month later, the glass is back in place.
But not for long.
Six days after the window was in, it happened again.
Around 5.30am on a Friday,
the camera above the bar's front door catches two men hanging around,
Minutes later, another camera shows one of them
hiding a brick behind his coat.
Making sure nobody is watching,
he then throws it at the bar's window, smashing it through.
BRICK BANGS ON WINDOW
But the pair don't enter there and then.
They walk away, in case any alarm has been triggered.
A short while later, they're back.
When they see there's been no response to their vandalism,
one of the men crawls in through the broken window.
At this point, motion sensors inside the bar do set the alarm off...
ALARM RINGS ..but the man runs in anyway.
Unfortunately, a fault means the alarm causes the CCTV system
to cut out and it doesn't record what happens next.
The first Gareth knows of it is when the police ring him at 9.30am.
As soon as it was a "No caller ID" on my phone,
I knew it was the police, I knew in my gut that we'd been broken into.
Gareth is able to view the bar's CCTV on his mobile phone
and now the alarm has stopped, the cameras have started working again.
I can see the same window that they got into previously.
Six days, £1,000 window, and there's another one gone straight away.
The two thieves have gone away empty-handed
but, again, there's been considerable damage.
They decided to smash the till up, we don't know why.
Again, that was over £1,000. We just can't sustain things like this.
We're a little independent business. Every penny counts.
The police take away the CCTV footage to investigate,
but Gareth's bar is not the only business that's suffered.
On the other corner of the same building
is another independent enterprise, the Dale Street Eatery,
which also has unshuttered windows.
The owners of the Dale Street Eatery gave us a call
to say that they'd been broken into.
The cafe security camera shows a man breaking the window.
He then starts rummaging around for stuff to steal.
It's the same man who smashed the window at Gareth's bar.
He takes some phones that are lying around and then leaves the cafe.
But again, not for long.
Just five days later, he's back.
The cafe owner has replaced the window but, once more,
he kicks it through with his heel.
This time he has a different accomplice
from when he raided Gareth's.
The thieves only get away with a small amount of change
that's left in the till but, yet again,
there is significant damage to the premises.
Another independent business, our friends,
they're in the same predicament as us
cos they're in the same building as us, Grade II listed,
so they can't protect the front of their shop like we want to.
Horrible for them, horrible for us, and this block as well, you know.
If they've been done twice in a week,
when's our next one going to happen?
And that's when we really were just checking, checking,
checking the cameras all the time, not really sleeping.
Gareth finds out there have also been repeated raids
on other small businesses in the same street
and nearby roads in the city's conservation area.
It did really feel that the independents were being victimised.
Gareth comes up with a plan.
He contacts the local paper and asks them to highlight
what a struggle it is for small businesses
to protect themselves in the conservation area.
To get extra attention,
he puts the images of the burglars breaking into his bar online.
And the cafe does too. It causes an outcry.
It was just to get their faces out there, as much as you could.
Everyone was outraged, everyone was sharing it.
And all the publicity seems to work.
Gareth soon gets the news he's been hoping for.
The police phoned me up, like, a day later. Two arrests had been made.
Genuinely happy that they got them.
The police did say to us it is down to such good footage
that we gave them, you know,
so, for us, that was a little victory in what's been a struggle.
Later, another man is arrested
and, in total, three men are charged with burglary.
In court, they all pleaded guilty.
One was jailed for 24 weeks...
..another for 18 months,
and the third man, who was involved in three of the offences,
was sent down for 20 months.
And there was more good news for Gareth.
His bar's broken window is still boarded up,
but all the publicity about the case means the council have relented
and will now allow him to have protective shutters on his windows.
We are then fully secure, front and back,
as much as humanly...as we can be,
and then we'll replace the window, so we'll sleep a lot easier.
The business has still done really well and we're still loving it.
We are now living the dream.
It seems criminals do like to return to the scene of their crimes,
whether it's a business or someone's home.
One in four burglary victims are targeted for a second time.
So, what can people do to avoid becoming victims of repeat crime?
What we do experience sometimes is that burglars will know
that you probably replace valuable property, so they'll give you
a little while, then come back in a couple of weeks' time.
If you've got valuable new items in the home,
don't advertise the fact by leaving the packaging and the boxes outside.
Just make sure that the packaging is either put firmly
into the bottom of your wheelie bin
or hidden away in your garage or shed
until the right day that the rubbish is going to be collected.
If you're a victim of crime, please don't just carry on regardless.
You need to think about taking measures to protect yourself
in the future, so if your home is broken into, change your locks.
I know it can be expensive, but it's money well invested
and, often, your home insurance will cover these things.
Don't be afraid to ask the police for advice
and they will complete a crime prevention survey on your property
and offer you that expert opinion on upgrading your security.
We're back in Leicester, where there's been an armed robbery
at a jeweller's shop, leaving staff and customers badly shaken.
The shop owner, Shrikant, triggered the alarm
and smoke defence system,
driving the robbers out within seconds of them entering the shop.
So the first thing to think was, "I'll run after them,
"just to see exactly where they're going, so that I've got
"something to give to the police as to which direction they went to."
Detective Constable Nick Lant is the officer in charge of the case.
The staff within the jeweller's,
despite the trauma of that incident, they were switched on...
..and they got the vehicle registration mark
and the direction of travel.
Nick knows there are five robbers in the gang.
The three masked men and the doorman,
and there was a getaway driver.
Officers begin scouring the most likely escape routes,
in case the robbers have abandoned their getaway car.
Back at the jeweller's,
investigators examine two axes the gang left behind
and they see that they have a unique type of pricing label.
We're looking at a distinctive green price label there
and, if you look, you can see that there's a section missing
from that end bowl of the "P".
That tells us that the machine probably has a misprint on it
because it's the same misprint on every label.
Therefore, if we find the shop where they're sold,
we can expect to see that same misprint, so the hunt is on.
Then, more good news comes in. Officers have found the getaway car.
They did a top quality job.
They were very quick to find that black vehicle.
There was an integral sat nav in that vehicle, and that's crucial.
It showed us the origin of that vehicle's last journey,
a West Midlands postcode.
The postcode is for an area in Birmingham.
The police also discover that the car had been stolen
a few weeks earlier from the West Midlands area.
And then, more valuable information comes in.
A member of the public had found a mask and a metal bar together,
on an alleyway, very close to the dumped 4x4.
The mask and metal bar are sent for forensic analysis.
Detectives are dispatched to the Birmingham postcode,
with the task of finding nearby hardware stores
which might have sold the two axes.
And the first shop we go to,
the nearest one to that postcode, it's bingo.
Everything in that shop is marked with the same green labels
and we're on a winner.
The detectives talk to the shopkeeper.
We establish that two axes were sold the day before the robbery.
Two men came in to buy the axes.
One of them is a tall, slim Somali male,
with a distinctive gold tooth to the front of his mouth.
The second is an Asian male.
Then the forensic results from the mask
that had been found in the alleyway come back from the lab.
What we get back couldn't be better.
It's a full DNA hit from the mouthpiece of that mask.
That person is a Somali male, tall and slim,
with a gold tooth to the front of his mouth.
The police have enough evidence to arrest the man,
but they don't strike yet.
We've only identified one offender.
To arrest him without identifying the others creates a problem.
We could be alerting them, we could be losing evidence,
and we have to balance that against the risk of them
committing further offences before we go and lift them.
Investigators liaise with the West Midlands force
to try to identify the other man
who bought the axes from the hardware store.
His description bears a strong resemblance
to someone on their radar.
We do some work, intelligence-wise, and we get a name for the Asian man,
and they have a previous offending history for robbery.
So we've identified a second offender.
The third man they go after is the doorman,
the robber who held the shop door open for the rest of the gang.
He notably didn't hide his face from the cameras.
The fact that this fellow is... happy to wear no mask
tells us he's probably not known to police.
We can also see that this doorman's wearing
a distinctive blue jacket and what's also noticeable is the way he walks.
He's got quite a distinctive gait.
Someone's going to recognise this fellow.
And someone does.
Within days, information gathering
in and around the Birmingham postcode area yields a result.
We eventually get some intelligence
that gives us a firm identity for the doorman.
And we were right.
This individual, he had very little in the way of past offending.
He was known to police, but hadn't been convicted of any crime.
After a briefing with his superior, DS Dave Spate,
Nick mobilises an arrest team.
At the point we've identified three,
that balance is now set that we need to stop them
before they strike again.
We work together with West Midlands Police
and we plan three early morning arrests.
The police teams make dawn raids on three properties
and find each of the suspects asleep in bed.
I arrest the Somali male with the gold tooth.
In his bedroom is a laptop.
That laptop had been used to search
for news of an axe robbery in Leicester.
Officers at the address of the second suspect also find
a laptop that's been used to search for news of the robbery.
But it's different evidence that gives the third suspect away.
We're over the moon when we arrest him.
Lying by the side of the single bed is a jacket
exactly the same as the one we've seen on the CCTV.
Within the pocket of that jacket,
we find nearly a grand's-worth of class A drug.
He is well involved in criminality.
In the weeks that follow, Nick and the team gather
and piece together all the evidence,
including council CCTV of the gang's car en route to the crime.
By the time the case reached court,
two of the robbers saw little option but to plead guilty
to robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.
The man with a gold tooth, however, pleaded not guilty
and took his chance with a trial by jury,
and that turned out to be a big mistake.
He was sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison.
The other two were sentenced to eight and five-year detention
in a young offenders institution.
Nick and the team were pleased with the result.
Sentences like these are why we do the job, and we were very happy
to be able to pass that result back to the victims.
They've had to endure the aftermath of that offence
and it's great to give them that result.
The police worked very hard.
I'm really happy as to what they have done.
They've really done a fantastic job.
Shrikant and his brothers have now invested
in even more security, including a double door system
to stop anyone gaining entry without their say-so.
They also clubbed together with other jewellers on the Golden Mile
to give Nick and the team a special award for their work on the case.
All the jewellers thought it would be very nice
to present the police with an award
because the police taking so much care has given us confidence
that, yes, we can work here, we can work here safely.
Anybody out there thinking of doing anything,
just be aware that you will get caught.
That's it for today.
And that's it for a few more criminals
who've been caught red-handed.
A jeweller must act fast when armed men attack his shop, a city unites to take on thieves who are targeting small businesses, and a couple use a baby buggy to steal a beer barrel but soon discover the local CCTV operator wasn't born yesterday.