Observational documentary series. Police hunt down the gangs responsible for skimming devices, and celebrity photographer Andy Barnes tries to get a picture of Simon Cowell.
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It's the most famous shopping street in the world
in the heart of Britain's capital city,
1.5 miles long with 30 million visitors each year,
with some of the world's most famous shops, biggest stars...
-..and busiest stations.
-Sorry, guys. Stand back for me.
What does it take to keep it running 24 hours a day...
Busiest street in the world so it needs constant attention.
-..seven days a week?
-Oi! Clear off!
You're going to be arrested on suspicion of attempted theft.
-Are you ready, London?
-A street that never sleeps...
This sort of thing wouldn't happen anywhere else.
Coming up... Skimming devices on cash machines.
The Oxford Street police hunt down the gangs responsible.
Simon Cowell's coming to Oxford Street. Can the paps get a snap?
Just look at the state of that! That is incredible, that is.
And bread of heaven.
It's St David's Day at John Lewis and the store's in full voice.
Oxford Street has its own team of specialist police tasked with
keeping it safe for all those that use it. They're known as ORB.
It's 9am and one of the ORB team, PC Barry Nicholls, has been
-called to a West End bank.
-'South-west 1, over.'
-Can you just tell us what number it is, please?
He's off to deal with the latest example of a crime
that's afflicting Oxford Street and city centres up and down the UK -
ATM, or cash machine, fraud.
We've got a suspect device that's been put on one of the cash points.
Inside the bank, all becomes clear.
A member of staff has removed the devices to show them to the police.
Card clips. They're not actual readers. Do you know how they work?
-Basically, the device is stuck inside the machine, like that.
So you put your card into the machine.
So it goes underneath, works as normal,
and when the card goes to go out, gets stuck, then the machine
says "out of order" and the person thinks they've had their card eaten.
The person will stand near them and try and get the PIN number.
The person will walk away and all they'll do is unclip that,
the card will pop out, so they've got a PIN number and a card.
PC Nicholls and Rickett ask to inspect the bank's CCTV
to try and spot the criminal.
Then, after a few minutes of studying the footage...
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-It's him, isn't it?
Yeah, he's just lining it up, isn't he, to get it right?
an unwitting member of the public becomes the first victim.
She just keeps putting her hand up,
and that's where the little clip will have just held it in.
The skimmer waits around, looking for the moment to retrieve the device
and the card it's trapped.
There he is.
PCs Nicholls and Rickett, on the other hand,
are hoping for a clear shot of his face.
Especially there. That was awesome. What time is it? 10.08 and 51.
It's a good facial shot.
ATM skimming is on the rise in the UK.
Fraud from skimmed cards has risen 15%, according to latest figures.
But few places have the resources Oxford Street does to combat it.
Barry and colleague take the device
and CCTV evidence back to the station.
It will now go to a specialist team
to see if they can identify the suspect.
What it means for the ORB team is
there are cash machine gangs on the loose in the West End
and they need to do everything they can to disrupt them.
Doing his bit is PC Darren Bond, part of the team's plain-clothes squad.
Today, he's on patrol with colleague Hadees Iper.
One of the ATMs around Oxford Street will be having a device,
a skimming device, on it on a daily basis.
It's an ongoing war.
They're on the lookout for the telltale signs
of the card skimmers
and as they patrol, the team spots something.
Just been keeping an eye on a guy who's been walking down the road,
probably walked along behind him for about 200 metres.
And now he's crossed over, but he's going back the way he's come.
Yeah, not quite sure what to make of him.
The man has stopped at several cash machines.
Darren thinks he might be planting card skimmers on them.
A definite job.
Just seen two males standing very close
and observing the ATMs just down here.
Darren glances at the machines the men were at.
It's not clear if they have a skimming device on them
and he doesn't want to get too close.
Got to be very aware of the third eye
they may have left, watching the machines,
if there is a device on them.
Darren and Hadees call in more officers to covertly follow the two
and the officers report the men are heading towards a bank.
When they're at the cashpoint, bang!
Later, Darren finds a lot more than he bargained for.
That has a pinhole camera here.
In the dog-eat-dog world of the paparazzi photographer,
there's no patch more crucial than Oxford Street,
where a steady stream of stars come to work, shop and play.
No-one knows this better than leading celebrity snapper Andy Barnes.
Got to be there at the right time.
You've got to have the right equipment.
I mean, I'm all kitted out.
And it's all about preparation and also, perhaps, sometimes,
just that little bit of luck can help you just get the right moment.
And today, Andy's got a hot tip he's hoping will land him
some lucrative picture sales.
The auditions for ITV's Britain's Got Talent show
are taking place at the Dominion Theatre at the east end of the street
and the celebrity judges are due to arrive.
We're expecting some really good names to turn up -
the likes of Simon Cowell.
They always sell really well in magazines.
They're always absolutely brilliant, price-wise.
Yesterday, the show's judges staged a red carpet entrance
at the front door of the theatre especially for the press.
But Andy's learnt there's a second day of auditions,
and all four judges - Simon Cowell, David Walliams,
Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon -
are expected to make a low-key entrance to the theatre.
-What's going on?
-Britain's Got Talent.
-Oh, is it here?
Oh, right. Didn't realise. Do you like Simon Cowell?
-See if he gets out of that car.
-No. Not really!
-Oh, well. I hope you see him.
-Yeah, so do I.
The problem for Andy is
he doesn't know where the stars will be arriving.
There are at least three separate entrances a good distance apart.
At the stage door at the back,
Andy thinks he might have the field to himself.
Have any of the judges actually arrived yet? Nothing at all?
Brilliant. That's lovely, that.
But it's not long before other snappers are on the case.
Andy goes on the hunt for insider information.
Do you know if they'll be coming this way?
-We've been told front doors.
-They're going straight in at the front door?
Andy heads back to the front.
Getting this right could mean the difference between
thousands of pounds of picture sales or nothing at all.
He was just saying that, if it's quiet,
he might drop them off here and then they walk through the front door.
But then, the driver might think that it's a little bit too busy
so he might just take them round the corner and put them
through the stage door.
If I hear that they've gone round the back, we leg it.
We leg it as fast as we can possibly go, and I've got a bad leg.
But with the arrival imminent, Andy suddenly gets fresh info.
They're coming in the back exit through there.
-Over there on the right.
-Definitely that way, is it?
-Lovely. Thank you.
We'd better run.
Think we'd better go and see
if we can get something round the back here now.
Andy gets moving, bad leg and all...
Good for a bit of exercise.
..and just in time, as David Walliams's Range Rover swoops in.
That was a bit rubbish, wasn't it? Didn't get anything at all there.
I got him in the car, so it's not too bad.
I got a couple of frames out of it, so it's not too bad,
but, if I'm honest with you, he can be a bit...
He doesn't like just posing up outside.
Andy's hoping for better luck with the ladies.
I reckon Alesha or Amanda will probably do something for us now.
And he hasn't got long to wait.
Hold on a minute.
Let's hope we get a better shot than Mr Walliams.
Guys, is there any chance we can get a photo?
But today, Amanda's not keen on being seen.
Oh, clever stuff! Oh, look at that!
All he gets is a view of her footwear.
Just look at the state of that! That is incredible, that is.
The lengths they've gone to to hide what she's wearing!
This is new territory for Andy -
a celebrity that, today at least, doesn't want publicity.
Later, we'll see if he gets any more luck bagging himself a Cowell.
There's quite a few snappers there but we've all got very, very little.
Standing out from the crowd amongst Oxford Street's 200 shops
are its four huge department stores.
These giants of the retail world have battled for customers
on the street for decades and each seeks to outdo the others
with events and offerings to entice shoppers in.
And today, John Lewis has got an event
it's hoping will do exactly that.
It's St David's Day, the national day of Wales, and to celebrate it,
the shop's food hall has lined up a special series of events.
Half a dozen boutique Welsh food producers have sent samplers
to promote their products in store.
Hi, would you like to try?
Food sampler Lucinda is here on behalf of pate-maker Patchwork.
Hello, how are you?
This is tequila and cranberry with a chicken liver base. OK?
South Wales baker James's family have been making
classic Welsh cakes and pastries for three generations.
Today, he's hoping shoppers like his bara brith - a type of cake.
We soak the sultanas in tea overnight.
You've got mixed spices in there, the whole combination going on.
Well, I hope you enjoy my products on St David's Day.
Thank you very much.
At the end of the day, all the samplers will get a sales report
to see if they've hit their targets.
To add a bit of theatre to the event,
the store's pulling out all the stops.
There's a harpist on hand to accompany the food tasting
and they've got another special Welsh treat in store.
They've booked a choir to perform some of the principality's
most famous songs as part of a surprise flash mob.
But this morning, choir leader Alice has already run into difficulties.
The alto in our group fell over in the Tube
and fell down some stairs and hit her head
and had to go to casualty,
so frantically trying to call everyone we knew in London
who was a singer and could speak Welsh
and who knew the songs we were going to sing.
And one of those calls has found them a saviour in the shape of Becca.
So I've just arrived here and, hopefully, I'll know the songs
and maybe I'll be able to make up some harmony.
So hopefully, it will be OK.
# Mae bys Meri Ann wedi brifo
# A Dafydd y gwas... #
First rehearsals do not bode well.
# Dai bach... #
I'll do that again. I apologise.
The choir plan to surprise shoppers,
coming out of nowhere as store staff and customers
to sing traditional Welsh songs.
So I'm just putting on this staff apron,
so that I blend in with the rest of the Waitrose staff.
A flash mob is quite a bizarre thing to do anyway, and to know that
you're doing it in about half an hour is even more bizarre.
I reckon people will stop and just stare.
Later, it's iechyd da at the food hall,
as the harp plays, the public tuck in and the choir get ready to sing.
The undercover Oxford Street police team are on the hunt
for the criminal gangs targeting cash machines.
As they patrol,
they think they've spotted two men behaving suspiciously.
They could be planting skimmers on Oxford Street.
Time to find out.
I think I have one now.
The two men have just withdrawn cash,
but no-one has seen if they were interfering with the cash machines.
They seem surprised and are cooperating.
-Is this your card, sir?
-Right, saw you earlier,
hanging around the cashpoint further down the road.
On that basis, we get a lot of distraction thefts
and a lot of devices put on ATMs.
We're going to search you for articles for use in fraud
and for stolen property.
And officer Paul Penrose has met this man before.
It's not first time. I remember this guy before in that other street.
Maybe six months. This is second time he has made me have a check.
Thankfully, everyone's smiling.
Despite some of their behaviour matching that of the skimmers,
checks have confirmed the men have no previous
and nothing suspicious on them.
He walks very fast, going from ATM to ATM, but it's all checked out.
Sometimes, there's an innocent explanation.
-Have a good day.
-Have a good day, you, too.
The skimming gangs are hard to catch, and although this was a false alarm,
stops like this are essential to try and root out the real criminals.
And as Darren and the team continue their patrols,
it's not long before they find more examples of the gangs at work.
Another skimming device on another ATM.
I've come along today, noticed an ATM that has been targeted before,
seen there is a device on it from my experience before.
Darren takes a closer look at this much more sophisticated skimmer.
Your card would go in there and there'd be electronics
before it goes in to the machine to skim your card,
take the details off your card like any magnetic strip reader.
They insert it into the mouth, glue it in position. Your card goes through there.
Normally into the machine, you use the card and the machine perfectly normally, but as it's gone through,
the electronics in here have skimmed your card details.
So this is the camera,
so that's been fixed across the legitimate cash sign...
..with their own, as you can see, like that.
It has a pinhole camera here, that tiny pinhole there,
will read as you put your PIN number in.
So they've got your card details and your PIN number.
Then they can go away, make their own cards.
With the skimmer in his hands, Darren recognises an opportunity
to try and catch himself an elusive cash machine crook.
Rather than remove the skimmer, he makes it safe
and decides to wait across the street, in a nearby handbag shop.
He hopes the crooks will turn up to retrieve their device.
After 45 minutes of waiting, someone is using the machine
and looks to be tampering with it.
Unfortunately, it turns out to be a vigilant member of the public
and he's told the bank staff.
Darren decides to step in.
Hi, guys. Police.
We've been watching.
We saw it a while ago, we've been waiting for somebody to come
-and take it off. Obviously, not you guys.
Cos I use this machine quite regularly, I was just trying
to slide my card in and it was a little bit funny this time.
And I know those things happen, especially in this area.
And then I saw that the cash sign here was a little bit...
sticking out, so I've touched and it moved.
It got me scared for a second, but...
No, no, no. That's one of those things.
We were monitoring it for about an hour.
They'll leave it on for up to five, six hours,
getting everybody who uses that card machine's details,
so that could be hundreds of people being victims of that type of crime.
A few of those devices put in the area soon adds up
to thousands of victims, so it's a priority crime.
So far, Darren's hunt for the ATM gangs has drawn a blank twice.
Later, there's another gang in action. Will Darren's luck change?
Right, let's go.
Outside the Dominion Theatre
and celebrity photographer Andy Barnes is not having a good day.
Just look at the state of that. That is incredible, that is.
He was hoping to catch exclusive photos
of the Britain's Got Talent judges.
He got a glimpse of David Walliams, but missed Amanda Holden.
But nobody's got anything at all. I just...
I just find it quite amusing that the lengths they went to,
trying to hide.
He heads back to the front of the theatre,
in the hope that Simon Cowell will be arriving there.
It's getting close now cos he's only got about another quarter of an hour
before he's got to be at the event, so...
We're looking at about five or six points
where he could possibly be, so...
Andy waits it out at the front, but all the action is happening
at the other door and Alesha Dixon sneaks in, away from Andy's lens.
Then Andy sees a Rolls Royce sweeping past,
heading round the back.
He throws the bad leg back into action.
It's the main event. Talent judge and media mogul Simon Cowell.
Nice to see you, Simon.
-Are you well?
-Good, good, good.
-How are you doing, OK?
-Just getting one shot.
Just one more, looking back, Simon. Lovely, thank you.
Yeah, nice one.
Dear me! I'm getting too old for this game now!
And that's it for the day. It's been a mixed bag for Andy.
He missed Alesha, and Amanda hid,
but he's landed Walliams and the biggest fish of all, Cowell.
They're not bad.
Cowell always sells, so...
That'll pay for a few coffees.
I'm going to get these pictures sent off now.
So...on to the next one.
That's the magic of Oxford Street.
You never know what's going to happen from one day to the next.
John Lewis, Oxford Street,
is celebrating St David's Day with an action-packed Welsh food tasting.
-What's it got to do with Wales?
-It's made in Wales.
Lucinda is one of a dozen food samplers,
getting shoppers to try and hopefully buy Welsh produce.
-Ooh, hello. Feeding you.
And lunchtime has just arrived.
You can take it from here, if you want. Thank you very much.
Bye-bye. Take care.
At lunchtime, people are ridiculously hungry.
They realise something's going on
and it's amazing how people's behaviour changes.
They just ponder and then they just linger
and they come back for another one and then they linger, another one.
It's really funny. Hello. How are you?
She ain't interested in any products. She's a hungry shopper.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the store,
a specially arranged choir is getting ready
to stage a flash mob in the food hall.
They plan to surprise shoppers by coming out of nowhere
as shop staff and customers and singing traditional Welsh songs.
They've had an enforced line-up change already,
after their original alto had an accident on the Tube.
But with substitute Becca in place, they're ready for the kick-off.
# Mae bys Meri Ann wedi brifo
# A Dafydd y gwas ddim yn iach
# Mae'r baban yn y crud yn crio
# A'r gath wedi sgramo Joni bach
# Dai bach y sowldiwr
# Dai bach y sowldiwr
# Dai bach y sowldiwr
# A'i gwt ei grys e mas
# Sosban fach yn berwi ar y tan
# Sosban fawr yn berwi ar y llawr
# A'r gath wedi sgramo Joni bach. #
CHEERS AND APPLAUSE
It went very well.
We were all quite nervous for it, but it went really well, I think.
I felt quite strange because it's not every day you see
someone next to the crisp aisle in Waitrose just burst in to song,
performing in the middle of Oxford Street and making people
stop for a second and it's quite an experience actually.
It was quite good that I only knew about this half an hour ago,
so I didn't have time to get nervous or think about what I was doing.
Basically, get in and get the job done.
Meanwhile, back at the food tasting,
their aim was to get people trying Welsh foods
they might not have tried before and hopefully, to make some sales.
It's been busy. Tequila and cranberry is sold out.
I've had one negative customer
and then I killed her with lots of love and she left happy.
I'm quite tempted to get a sales report.
I usually get a sales report after I've done a sampling
and it boosts me and motivates me.
And it's the moment of truth for Lucinda and her fellow samplers.
-Has it gone well?
-It has, yes.
-Oh, it has. Thank you.
OK, so at least we sold something of everything.
I've done OK. I mean, I think I could have done better.
Here he is now.
It's been actually quite good. We had about 74% sales.
So I'm quite happy for that afternoon.
The figures show that James has sold three-quarters of the stock
he has in the food hall.
And with that, it's all over for the day
and as far as food hall manager Toni's concerned,
it's been a successful one for Welsh food, Welsh wine and Welsh song.
Sales were really good, especially the Welsh cakes.
So I'm going to head home for a bit of cake and a nice glass of wine.
The Oxford Street police team are dealing with a priority problem -
gangs targeting cash machines to get their hands on shoppers' money.
The ATM thieves are hard to catch, but back at the station,
Darren thinks he might have just found a crucial lead.
Footage has come in from an Oxford Street bank
of another scam being committed.
So, this is a classic ATM distraction theft.
The two males here have targeted this female.
They've encouraged her to use the ATM,
she had initially used it but had problems with it.
And they've convinced her to go back and as you can see,
he's taken an angle where he can see her put the PIN number.
Second member comes in and he's using a piece of paper to
confuse the person at the ATM.
And he's got the bank card, told his mate he's got the bank card
and off he goes with it.
She's now noticed something's wrong, but the second one's here
to reassure her - oh, the card may have been swallowed by the machine.
They're working a team,
doing a number of these jobs across London every day.
This female lost her card, and the guys then went to a nearby ATM
and withdrew cash from the machines.
And it turns out the gang tried the same distraction crime
at the same machine just a few weeks before.
But have they made a mistake?
Darren Bond is a police super recogniser with a unique ability
to recall the faces and features of regular offenders
to help identify culprits on the street and on grainy CCTV.
And in this case,
he thinks he might have recognised the man in the footage.
He's got a name and an address where his family lives.
So, this morning, the team are heading up the motorway
where they hope they'll find the suspect from the bank.
He's got plenty of previous for ATM distraction thefts
and that's what we're looking at in today.
I've ID'd him from CCTV.
Darren and the team have no way of knowing
if their man is at the target address.
The number of thefts related to ATMs has trebled in recent years.
Hoping to make a dent in these figures, Darren heads in.
OK. Right, let's go.
Not quite as, er...picturesque
or as affluent as Oxford Street,
but we've got to go to the criminals where they live
and get them out of their houses,
then we'll take them back to nice, pleasant Westminster.
Amazingly, the suspect is already behind bars for something else.
How long's he been in since?
For six years?
Well, we'll have to go and talk to him in prison and...
about some other offences.
He's been sentenced to six years' imprisonment,
from what his mother is telling us,
that hasn't come up on the national computer yet,
for similar offences, I would imagine,
that we're wanting to talk to him about.
It turns out the man was sentenced only the day before
for a serious motoring offence.
Darren's delighted that a serious criminal is safely behind bars,
but his fight against the ATM gangs is far from over.
It's an ongoing war,
but a war we're coming up against and tackling as hard as we can.
Skimming devices on cash machines are affecting high streets up and down the country. This episode follows the dedicated Oxford Street police team as they hunt down the gangs responsible.
Elsewhere, Simon Cowell is visiting an Oxford Street theatre. Can celebrity photographer Andy Barnes get himself a picture?
Plus there's a big Welsh surprise for customers in the food hall at John Lewis on St David's Day.