Episode 13 Robbed, Raided, Reunited


Episode 13

Series looking at burglary - its culprits, its victims and the police. In this episode, an amateur dramatics group turns detective when their lighting equipment is stolen.


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Transcript


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Every single minute, there is a burglary in the UK.

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SHE GASPS My jewellery! Oh, no!

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It's an invasion of your personal space. Somebody has been in your house going through stuff.

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It's not just your expensive gadgets that are under threat -

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it's your priceless, irreplaceable heirlooms, too...

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What's that football expression? You feel gutted.

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..items of huge sentimental value.

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Dad was very proud of his entire career in the flying service

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so to have the medals stolen... I know he was absolutely devastated.

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It can be a difficult time...

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What's that saying? An Englishman's home is his castle.

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..but dedicated teams of police are on the case...

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-Police!

-Police!

-Police!

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..with specialist burglary units across the country

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chasing down the villains...

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-Just calm down.

-And let us do our checks.

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..using every high-tech tool at their disposal,

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working with the Good Samaritans among us...

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Do you think you recognise them if you saw them again?

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-Yeah, I think I probably would.

-..to make sure justice is done.

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Their ultimate aim - to recover your prized possessions...

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We're dancing.

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Just found a bag of sat navs.

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..and return them to you.

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-It's amazing, the work that they've done.

-And we've got all our stuff back.

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I'm very pleased with the police, and they've been so good and kind.

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I have nothing but gratitude for the efforts they've made.

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This is Robbed, Raided, Reunited.

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-Thank you so much.

-Thank you so much.

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Thank you ever so, ever so much.

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On today's programme, a family's home is ransacked,

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leaving a young student's future in jeopardy...

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On the computer there's my schoolwork from the past four or five years.

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..but the hunt for the burglars leads to an unexpected result...

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-Have you had a sat nav stolen?

-Yes.

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-Did it look like that?

-Yeah.

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..and a local theatre group whose equipment is stolen

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turn detective to make sure the show does go on.

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Suddenly, one of our members saw the lighting control board

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on the online auction site.

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Southend-on-Sea is a visitor's playground,

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but unfortunately for some residents,

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it's also a burglar's playground.

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At Southend Central police station, detectives Paul Brown

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and Gary Jackets are due to interview two suspected burglars

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caught red-handed this afternoon with two bags of stolen goods.

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When he made off, he ran quite a way, didn't he?

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I'll quote you something from this statement.

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"I was 10m away from him, the visibility was good

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-"and as

-BLEEP

-turned and looked at me,

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"beyond the green metal fence that he had just climbed,

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"the suspect dropped the holdall that he was carrying

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"and made off out of my sight."

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The officers want to have a closer look at where the suspects were caught.

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I'm just going on Street Map

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to see if we can get a better look at the area.

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They still don't know where they got stolen items from.

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So he's jumped over here and he's in here

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and then he ran over the other side, I imagine.

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Yeah, but he was the other side of that fence

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when he looked at him and dropped the bag and ran.

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Basically, we're getting all our evidence together

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and information for interview so we know what we're talking about

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when we go in there and we know what questions we can put to the suspects.

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We have two guys in custody at the moment

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who are known to us for dwelling burglaries.

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They've got on them items that unquestionably aren't theirs

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so they're going to have to account for that.

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So now is up to them to tell us where they got the stuff from.

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And the time they have to find out the full story is heavily regulated.

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They can be here for up to 24 hours.

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If we deem necessary, we can go to the superintendent

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and get an extension for another 12 hours.

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Southend-on-Sea has a lower than average rate of burglaries,

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but when they do happen they are just as traumatic.

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The Peer family have come from work

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to discover their entire house has been ransacked.

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I think the word that sums up my feelings now is "violated".

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Not only has stuff been nicked, but we're going to have to replace the doors.

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What's been happening?

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Scenes Of Crime officer Paul Clark arrives to start the investigation.

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How have they got in?

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The back patio door has been jimmied.

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Right, OK.

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I came in from work, I picked my son up from school, came in,

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turned on the lights, saw the stuff on the floor and thought,

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"That's a bit odd," looked down the room and saw the laptop had gone

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and I said, "Hang on - don't touch anything. I think we've been burgled."

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The burglars have forced the patio doors.

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Has that got a lock? Yeah, it has as well, hasn't it?

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I mean, this is obviously quite thick aluminium here, but it's...

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Yeah, but inside they've done the same.

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-My main concern is securing it tonight.

-That's right.

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Just make sure there's no blood or anything on there.

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It's quite sharp as well, isn't it?

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The police are keen to gather any trace of DNA

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that might lead them to a suspect.

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They've broken the side of the shed.

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The burglars appear to have used

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the victim's own possessions to break-in.

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Yeah, I mean, the padlock's still intact,

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but with wood, obviously, they've just ripped the whole thing off.

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I mean, people think of burglars walking around with a big crowbar,

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but it's easier to go to someone's house

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and find something at the house that they can use.

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We think that these items which have been taken out the shed,

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which unfortunately are soaking wet now, but there's...

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..this item here which could have been used.

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It's obviously something quite big for it actually bend all that,

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and this part as well.

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Obviously here quite a while trying to get in.

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They didn't appear to be too worried about the noise they were making

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and we've established that it's probably happened

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between two o'clock and four o'clock in the afternoon.

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-Right.

-The Xbox was sitting here and the transducer thing across the back.

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They've taken one handset, but not that one.

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They've taken his iPod that was on here,

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been in his wallet, taken the money that was in there - it was about 20 quid...

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The burglars have been through every room in the house.

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-The other one, this is... My other son's at uni.

-OK.

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-This is his tin that were sitting on there.

-So they've opened that.

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That's all that was in it. Just old change.

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-The other computer was laying down there. That's gone.

-Right.

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I know my son was upset. Just the look on his face,

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and he was going round and it was nearly all his stuff.

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-This is your bedroom?

-Yes. They've been in there. There was loads of rings.

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-They've taken the ones that were worth money.

-OK.

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The television that they've moved. OK.

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The electrical goods can be replaced,

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but as dad Mike reflects, memories can't.

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When my father died, my brother and myself and my mother

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each bought something to remind us of him

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and the ring has markings on, initials, and a small diamond.

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There's also some of my late mother's rings - not very valuable -

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and a watch she had as well.

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It's the sentimental value.

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And perhaps I was foolish leaving it on the bedside,

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but you just don't think of these things.

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It's not just the past that's been stolen from the family -

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it could be their future, too.

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Son Nick has an interview at Cambridge University next week,

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but one of the items stolen was his laptop

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with all his academic files and documents on it.

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He's got an interview on the 9th at Cambridge

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and he needs to do some research before he goes for the interview

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which he was going to start tonight.

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There's my schoolwork from the past four or five years.

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There's coursework I was going to hand in on Monday,

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there's notes for books I've got to read,

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there's various pieces of other work, there's essays,

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and there's also my personal files,

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so music and photos and things like that.

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With the prospect of Nick's education now in jeopardy,

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all in all, it's been a miserable night for the family.

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But coming up...

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A startling connection between the two cases leads to a breakthrough.

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We've recovered quite a large amount of property. We're hoping it is your stuff.

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And Officer Brown and his team pay the burglary suspect's home a visit.

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I've got a search warrant,

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if you don't open the door we'll force the entry.

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RAM THUDS

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-But first...

-Is your ladyship at home this afternoon?

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-Yes - who has called?

-Lord Darlington, my lady.

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In Romford, Essex, a community drama group - The Guildonian Players -

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meets every week to rehearse in the local church.

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But one evening in September 2011,

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Suzy Faulkner and her group made a shocking discovery.

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One of the church members came in to me and said, "We've had a burglary.

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"Have you got anything missing?"

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And then I opened our stage management office

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and discovered that our lighting control board

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and all our sound control equipment had gone.

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The way that the burglars got in,

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they broke a window in the playschool area

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and they managed to find the keys.

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They basically went wherever they could find a key that fitted.

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They opened the doors and in the few places

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where there was something they couldn't get into,

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they broke the locks.

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The items the burglars stole

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were vital to the running of the drama group -

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their high-tech light control desk and sound equipment.

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The lighting equipment we replaced about three or four years ago.

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The sound equipment - our most recent purchase - just cost us so much

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and, of course, since now, all gone, so we start from square one again.

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The theatre group had invested a huge amount of time and energy

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raising the money to buy the expensive equipment.

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Without it, it was clear the show could not go on.

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Their next performance was due within weeks,

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rehearsals nearly complete, tickets already sold.

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The drama group may have been facing their final curtain.

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The Guildonian Players was formed 66 years ago

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and is run by volunteers from the local community.

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We are all unpaid. We do it because we love doing it.

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Every year the group puts on plays

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to raise money for maintenance work on the church.

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An essential part of the community,

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the church also provides vital services for local people.

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The theft of the equipment would have a massive impact -

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not just on the play, but also on the group's fundraising efforts.

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We'd got to plays about to be produced only weeks away.

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We were looking into hiring equipment,

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which would take away from any funding

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that we could get from that play.

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We were very, very worried.

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Days passed and the police reported little progress in the case.

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Lighting engineer Nigel Cooke decided to surf the internet,

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desperately looking in case someone try to sell the stolen equipment.

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And there was a sighting.

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After six days, suddenly, one of our members

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saw the lighting control board on the online auction site.

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Nigel had discovered their lighting desk was being sold online.

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Lo and behold, this board came up with lots of pictures of it

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and it was so identifiable because even stickers that I'd put on,

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like, pre-show, they were still on the board.

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The guys hadn't even removed that when they tried to sell it.

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It was for sale with a local second-hand dealer

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who had bought the light-box without realising it was stolen.

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Nigel went straight to the shop,

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but he still had to prove the equipment belonged to the group.

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They asked me how could I finally identify it

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from something that wasn't visible

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and I told them it was the lid.

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Our lighting engineer had written on the box "base" and "top"

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so that when we opened it we didn't open it the wrong way up.

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Without looking at it, he was able to say these things,

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so it was very obvious that it was ours.

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It was a remarkable discovery,

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but not everything stolen could be recovered.

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Sadly, the sound equipment wasn't there.

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The assistant manager told us,

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"Yes, it had been there until the Saturday morning."

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If we'd only seen the online auction site sooner,

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we might have recovered all of the equipment.

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The audio equipment couldn't be traced,

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but thankfully the group had managed to borrow some.

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With the imminent return of the lighting desk, the play was back on.

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However, the police needed to carry out

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forensic tests on the desk before returning it.

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The group were left with another agonising wait.

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We didn't know whether we were going to get the equipment back,

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whether they were going to hold it for the court and so we waited.

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Finally, with only three days left,

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The Guildonian Players' lighting desk was returned

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and the show could go on.

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APPLAUSE

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-That dammed poster.

-Jumper and breeches.

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Standing at the back seeing the lights working properly

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as they should do is just great.

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The play proved a great success, raising over £1,000 for the church.

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It just goes to show, sometimes

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a bit of amateur detective work does pay off.

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APPLAUSE

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Earlier, we were in Southend where police had arrested two men

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carrying stolen goods in broad daylight.

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They've got on them items that unquestionably aren't theirs.

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Later that day, the Peer family

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reported they'd been burgled while they were out.

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It's the sentimental value

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and perhaps I was foolish leaving it on the bedside,

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but you just don't think of these things.

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They had several thousand pounds worth of their possessions stolen,

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including a laptop which contained vital coursework

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for son Nick's interview at Cambridge University.

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I know my son was upset. Just the look on his face,

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and he was going round and it was nearly all his stuff.

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It's now 5pm. Detectives Paul Brown and Gary jackets from Southend CID

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have been briefed on the Peer's burglary.

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We've got here a map of where the action took place,

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where they were seen, where they were arrested

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and were they made off from. So now it's up to them to tell us

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where they got the stuff from and if they did that burglary.

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They decide it's worth taking the goods seized

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from the two suspected burglars that afternoon over to the house.

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At the Peer family home,

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Scene Of Crime officer Clark is determined to gather fingerprints.

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We spend quite a lot of time looking at the point of entry

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because that's where we tend to find quite a lot of our finger marks,

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because normally you've either got to force something or get through a small gap

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and you're more likely to leave your fingerprints.

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At 5.30pm, detectives Brown and Jackets arrive at the house.

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-Have you reported a burglary?

-Correct.

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Yeah, PC Brown from Southend police station.

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We've recovered quite a large amount of property.

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We've got it all with us so we're hoping it is your stuff.

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What do you know is missing at the moment?

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We've got a list.

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A lot of stuff, I have to say, at the moment matching that description

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we have with us, so hopefully that's good.

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But what about the all-important laptop,

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critical to Nick's Cambridge prospects?

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Were just trying to identify that this is the same laptop

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that was stolen from his house earlier on today

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is the one that we've recovered.

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What's the password? NICK ANSWERS INDISTINCTLY

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-P?

-Yeah.

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If it is Nick's, it will also connect

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the two suspects with this exact crime.

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And the first thing down there should be the Google Chrome logo.

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Is that fair to say that is...?

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-Yes, and there's Google Chrome there.

-Yeah?

-Yeah.

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This is a remarkable break-through

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reuniting the family with most of their stolen items.

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I'm happy it's all back.

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Less destructive than if it hadn't been found.

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And because it's happened so quickly,

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there's plenty more time to question the suspects about the other items they've stolen.

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It's surprising, really, isn't it?

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That they manage to get it. Which is quite nice.

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These, I think, were known criminals

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that they've caught that have just come out

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from wherever they were tucked away.

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I don't know what their age is or anything.

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Just low-life that have probably got nothing better to do.

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I'd just like to meet them.

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Officer Brown is pleased with the night's work.

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It's just a good result, you know?

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And we're hoping, obviously, the people's fingerprints

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will be on the stuff, because that'll tie them to the property

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which will then tie them to the burglary. Fingers crossed.

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The two suspects are questioned overnight.

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They won't say what has happened to the Peer family's jewellery,

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but have revealed two addresses they use.

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Officer Brown and his raid squad

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head for the addresses first thing the next morning.

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What we'll be looking for is anything used to commit burglaries

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and anything from burglaries.

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We know these guys are active burglars anyway

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and we've had loads of burglaries in this area,

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so there is a likelihood there may be property there

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from other burglaries or from this burglary,

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so we'll see when we get inside.

0:18:590:19:01

Can I have an entry code, please?

0:19:020:19:05

The family of one of the lads in custody.

0:19:050:19:08

I think his dad lives there. Whether he'll be there not, we don't know.

0:19:080:19:12

Come to the door - it's the police.

0:19:290:19:30

BANGS LETTERBOX

0:19:320:19:34

Police officers, come to the door now or the door will be forced.

0:19:340:19:38

-RAM THUDS

-Stop! All right!

-Open the door!

-Hang on!

0:19:440:19:47

LATCH CLICKS

0:19:470:19:49

Once inside, they must establish exactly who's there.

0:19:530:19:56

-Is anyone else here?

-No, it's only me here.

0:19:590:20:02

Only the suspect's father is present

0:20:020:20:04

and is told exactly why they are there.

0:20:040:20:06

Obviously we've got the authority

0:20:060:20:08

to search the premises under section 18 of PACE.

0:20:080:20:11

-The aim is to try and find stolen goods.

-Right.

-OK?

0:20:110:20:14

And anything in relation to a burglary.

0:20:140:20:16

That's the reason we're here at the moment.

0:20:160:20:18

Paul and his team must meticulously go through the flat

0:20:180:20:21

to see if any of the contents could be stolen.

0:20:210:20:24

Unruly kids can often make their parents' life a misery,

0:20:270:20:30

but for this dad, having a serial burglar has a son

0:20:300:20:33

is getting beyond a joke.

0:20:330:20:35

I know the police have been here a few times before, haven't they?

0:20:350:20:38

But I haven't done anything. They've taken my stuff before

0:20:380:20:40

because of my boys then come round and give it back to me

0:20:400:20:43

and I've lost my stuff twice now because of their aggro.

0:20:430:20:46

I ain't involved, I'll tell you that. I don't get involved.

0:20:470:20:50

Nevertheless, Paul's team must conduct a thorough search.

0:20:520:20:56

We're looking for things like boxes of jewellery,

0:20:560:20:59

new electrical items that they just wouldn't have here.

0:20:590:21:03

If they've got any Xboxes or Wiis. Cos obviously,

0:21:030:21:06

when you're somewhere like this, things stick out a bit more.

0:21:060:21:09

It looks like Paul and his officers

0:21:100:21:12

have drawn a blank at the first address,

0:21:120:21:14

although they are going to take some martial arts equipment

0:21:140:21:17

to see if it's involved in any offences.

0:21:170:21:19

He's going to sign them over for us.

0:21:210:21:24

Not the normal thing that I'd keep in my house.

0:21:250:21:28

Undeterred, the raid team move on.

0:21:320:21:34

The second address belongs to the pregnant girlfriend

0:21:340:21:37

of one of the suspects who lives in the same block of flats.

0:21:370:21:40

It's police officers, can you come to the door, please?

0:21:440:21:47

We've got a search warrant.

0:21:490:21:51

If you don't open the door, we'll force entry.

0:21:510:21:53

THEY BANG ON DOOR

0:21:530:21:56

It's not clear if she's at home...

0:21:560:21:58

All right, stand clear of the door.

0:21:580:22:00

..but the team must be sure no-one is near the door

0:22:000:22:03

and at risk of being hit by shattered wood and metal.

0:22:030:22:06

-BABY CRIES

-Can you hear something?

-That's next door.

0:22:080:22:12

False alarm - the baby crying is from next door

0:22:130:22:17

so Dan gets on with the job in hand.

0:22:170:22:21

THUDS

0:22:210:22:24

-Police!

-Police!

-Police officers.

0:22:240:22:29

Not too exciting.

0:22:300:22:32

There's no-one at home

0:22:350:22:36

and there doesn't seem to be anything else here either.

0:22:360:22:39

Yeah, sometimes that happens, but it's clear she's just moved in,

0:22:390:22:43

she's decorating the place, so we'll get the door boarded up and we'll go.

0:22:430:22:47

Cos as you can tell, there's absolutely nothing here - not even any carpets -

0:22:470:22:51

so I don't think there's a great deal were going to be seizing.

0:22:510:22:54

But just as it looks like another dead end...

0:22:570:23:00

There's a bag of sat navs here.

0:23:010:23:03

It's unusual to have three sat navs. Most people have only got ONE.

0:23:050:23:08

If you've got an old one, you chuck 'em away.

0:23:080:23:10

The fella in custody is known for stealing from cars,

0:23:100:23:12

Him and his brother have been at it a long while

0:23:120:23:14

and these will hopefully be returned to someone who owns them. Result.

0:23:140:23:18

Back at the station, officer Gary Jackets has made good progress

0:23:250:23:28

on the original burglary at the Peer family's home.

0:23:280:23:32

We've had results back from Fingerprints,

0:23:320:23:36

we've had a positive fingerprint for one of the suspects

0:23:360:23:39

come back on a laptop and also on a cash tin

0:23:390:23:43

that was not taken from the house,

0:23:430:23:45

so it never left the house as far as we're concerned,

0:23:450:23:49

it stayed in the house,

0:23:490:23:50

and it's got one of the suspects' fingerprints on.

0:23:500:23:54

So that puts them in the house.

0:23:540:23:57

Liz was particularly interested

0:23:580:24:00

in who could have done such a heartless thing to her family.

0:24:000:24:03

Just low-life that probably have nothing better to do.

0:24:030:24:09

Now Gary is keen to let her know justice is being done

0:24:100:24:13

and to put her mind at rest.

0:24:130:24:16

All the paperwork is being put before the Crown Prosecution Service

0:24:170:24:20

and they've recommended they both be charged with dwelling burglary.

0:24:200:24:23

-Good.

-OK?

-Will they stay in custody?

0:24:230:24:28

Or are you going to let them out on bail?

0:24:280:24:30

No, I didn't mention that, sorry - no, they're on remand now

0:24:300:24:33

so they'll be before the judge tomorrow morning.

0:24:330:24:37

-Oh, brilliant.

-And they'll either be let out tomorrow

0:24:370:24:39

or they'll stay in prison until the case,

0:24:390:24:42

which'll probably be mid January or early February.

0:24:420:24:45

Oh, OK. So are they likely to be detained?

0:24:450:24:48

I'd be very disappointed if they're not.

0:24:480:24:50

The officers must now trace the owners of the stolen sat navs.

0:24:530:24:56

The sat navs that were found in the address,

0:24:590:25:02

obviously gone through the history

0:25:020:25:05

and looked on to the home screen for the home address.

0:25:050:25:08

We've got two addresses to try, to try and locate the owners of these two sat navs.

0:25:080:25:12

The hope is that the home address programmed into the sat nav

0:25:120:25:16

will lead them to someone also burgled by the suspects

0:25:160:25:20

and they can be reunited with their property.

0:25:200:25:23

Hello there. Police officers from Southend.

0:25:280:25:30

-Nothing to worry about at all. Have you had a sat nav stolen?

-Yes.

0:25:300:25:34

-Did it look like that?

-Yeah.

-OK.

0:25:340:25:37

We found this in someone's address

0:25:370:25:39

and the home address comes back to here

0:25:390:25:41

-so I'm guessing this is your sat nav.

-Yes.

0:25:410:25:43

-That's a bit of good news anyway, isn't it?

-Yeah, it is - I'm very surprised!

0:25:450:25:48

I thought I'd never see that any more so I feel very good, yeah.

0:25:500:25:56

It's another victory in the battle to beat the burglars.

0:25:560:25:59

I can confirm it is their sat nav, so result.

0:25:590:26:03

Apart from two phones, all of the Peer family's stolen items

0:26:060:26:10

have been recovered, including their jewellery.

0:26:100:26:14

Nick, aided by his reunited laptop,

0:26:140:26:16

passed his interview at Cambridge

0:26:160:26:19

and has been offered a place to study philosophy.

0:26:190:26:22

The martial-arts equipment seized wasn't connected to further offences

0:26:220:26:27

and the stolen sat nav wasn't proven to be linked to the suspects.

0:26:270:26:32

But the older suspect did plead guilty to the Peer family's burglary

0:26:320:26:35

and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

0:26:350:26:38

The second suspect also later pleaded guilty

0:26:380:26:41

and was sentenced to 16 months.

0:26:410:26:44

In Romford, the show has gone on

0:26:440:26:47

despite the theft of vital technical equipment.

0:26:470:26:50

The drama group continued to perform using their returned lighting desk

0:26:520:26:56

and borrowed audio equipment while they save for replacement.

0:26:560:26:59

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:27:170:27:20

In this episode, burglars target a family's home, stealing a laptop containing vital research for their son's upcoming interview at Cambridge University; and an amateur dramatics group turns detective when their lighting and sound equipment is stolen.


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