Episode 5 Oxford Street Revealed


Episode 5

Observational documentary series. Oxford Street's undercover police team try and stamp out the cup-and-ball gaming scam taking tourists for a ride.


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Transcript


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It's the most famous shopping street in the world,

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in the heart of Britain's capital city -

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a mile and a half long, with 30 million visitors each year,

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with some of the world's most famous shops,

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-biggest stars...

-Kate Moss.

-CHEERING

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-..and busiest stations.

-Sorry, guys, stand back for me!

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What does it take to keep it running 24 hours a day...

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It's the busiest street in the world,

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so it needs constant attention.

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-..seven days a week?

-Oi! Clear off!

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You're going to be arrested on suspicion of attempted theft.

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Are you ready, London?

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A street that never sleeps.

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This sort of thing wouldn't happen anywhere else.

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Oxford Street.

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Coming up, rip-off gaming scams.

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It's not illegal gambling, they're actually fraud

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because it's a game you cannot win.

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Police take on the scammers.

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This boy wants the most expensive shoes in the shop.

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They're £250.

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Will his dad foot the bill?

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Tube staff deal with unhappy passengers.

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I can't be late. That's something I can't do.

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And there's a bike race with an Olympic champion.

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-Victoria Pendleton.

-SHE HONKS HORN

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Oxford Street draws millions of visitors

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from the UK and across the world and to keep them coming back,

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the street is kept as clean, inviting and friendly as possible.

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Part of this responsibility falls to the undercover police officers

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from West End Central Station.

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As well as chasing shoplifters and pickpockets,

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PC Paul Penrose and his team battle

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the street's other antisocial elements.

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We've got street hawkers, people who are begging,

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pedicabbers who are ripping off tourists.

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They're all there to take advantage of people's good nature

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and the amount of money that's being spent on Oxford Street.

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Today, he and colleague Hatice Iper are patrolling the street,

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keeping watch for the signs of criminal behaviour.

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Saturday afternoon. Very, very busy on Oxford Street.

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London's a bit of a jungle

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and on a Saturday, Oxford Street is definitely the watering hole.

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Before long, Hatice spots two men looking suspicious,

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lurking outside a shop without ever going inside.

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On our side? Yeah, I've got him, yeah.

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The pair decide to follow them.

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The men come to a halt outside a Tube station

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and Paul and Hatice watch from the other side of the road.

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They just don't feel right.

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Whether they're actually up to something, I don't know.

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Paul's not sure what the men are up to,

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but he's got an idea it might be serious.

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Then the men head off.

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Making a slow walk down, so we're going to follow them.

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Having spent so long watching the men,

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Paul doesn't want to get too close now and get spotted.

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I think this is drugs.

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They're coming over here. Stay still.

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OK, he's met up with him.

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Right, there's something going on.

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The men have met two others and swapped a bag.

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Paul's seen thieves do this before, when they exchange stolen goods.

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If they separate again, he won't be able to stop all of them,

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so he decides to make his move now.

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Guys, police. Can you come here, please? Come here. And you.

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Police. Can you all come and stand here for me?

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Stay calm or you're going to get handcuffed up, all right?

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I need you to stay there for me, please.

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Keep your hands out your pockets.

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If you put your hands in your pockets, I'll put you in handcuffs.

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I've seen them start to exchange things between each other.

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One's then taken a bag off this gentleman on the right.

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I'm just keeping it nice and calm before I start a search.

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Later, when Paul and Hatice search the men,

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they uncover something they didn't expect.

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OK, do you want to tell me what this is? Cos I know what this is.

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-It's not mine.

-Whoa, you stay there. Who's going to tell on their mate?

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A big growth area for retail sales at the moment is trainers.

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These humble sports shoes have never been more popular,

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with demand for fashionable brands driving sales.

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And making the most of this booming trade is JD.

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Sales at its sports fashion shops rose 13% last year,

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with its 350 branches across the UK

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selling a whopping ten million pairs of trainers.

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And at their Oxford Street store this morning,

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branch manager Donna is preparing her staff -

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at the start of their eight-hour shift - to sell even more.

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People are on Oxford Street, they're looking for bargains,

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and it's up to us to sell them.

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They're starting their seasonal sale

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and Donna's hoping to see the trainers fly off the shelves.

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Stuart, you're going to be working in the stockroom today,

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so you're going to be running orders, so...RUN orders, please.

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Not walking - that would be great.

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Anthony, you're going to be on the floor.

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Cain, Jenaya, you're also going to be on the floor, serving,

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so keep your customers up to date with where their order's at.

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In fact, trainer sales are so buoyant,

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JD is opening a brand-new flagship store on Oxford Street.

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But until it opens, this branch will have to cope with demand.

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Our footfall for today could be

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anywhere between 4,000 to 6,000 customers, coming into our store.

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With the store starting to get busy, Donna is pushing her team hard.

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Can you order that in that size for a customer?

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Get rubbish off the floor as well, yeah?

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Keep the shoes back on the wall for me, yeah?

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My manager, Donna, is very OCD.

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She's always out saying, "Do that, do that.

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"Make sure everything is tidy."

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Some people might say that I have OCD with my store...

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Realistically, I just want everything to be

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as best as it possibly can be.

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With so much demand to try on trainers,

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the store's installed a cutting-edge system

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to get shoes out to the shop floor as fast as possible.

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What we have here is our footwear ordering system.

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Size ten in this pair? Give me just one second,

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I'll check for you. Take a seat.

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I'm just scanning the shoe to see

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if we have the size that she needs in stock.

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I scan it, it goes through on the display to the stockroom

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and then they'll grab the shoes, bring it out.

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That will be just a few minutes, we'll get it out to you.

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This is the side of JD few ever see.

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A Max 90-400 in a ten.

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Stuart's running the storeroom today - literally.

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The screen tells him the make, model and size

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and he uses a coding system to find it

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and get it to the shop floor as fast as he can.

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They want it out from here,

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from when they've ordered to here in about two to three minutes.

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Thanks very much, bud. 401.

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Running the storeroom is trainer fanatic Stuart's dream job.

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Shoes is literally everything. It's every second thought for me.

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I collect shoes. I'm on 132 at the minute.

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My most expensive, I've actually just sold,

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was an original Jordan from 1984.

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Never been worn, never come out the box.

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I paid 1,700, so it's about £1,300.

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I sold them for just under 3,000, so about £2,400.

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Not a bad profit, but part of me still wants the shoes.

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And with the sale in full swing,

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Stuart has a lot more orders to pull out.

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HE PANTS

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Later, the sale continues and one shoe, in particular, causes a stir.

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Very comfy. I'm so hoping I can get them.

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Oxford Street is undergoing its most radical change in over 100 years.

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Vast swathes at the east end of the street are now a building site,

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as developers plunge billions into a new plaza

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that will dominate the area.

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And no-one is living with this more than the staff

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at Tottenham Court Road Underground Station.

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The station is decrepit and is long past its sell-by date,

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so London Underground are spending hundreds of millions updating it.

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Stage one of the works starts this morning,

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when one of the two Tube lines that uses the station -

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the Central Line - closes.

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For stage two, tomorrow, they open a brand-new ticket hall next door.

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This morning is Bob Lawrence's final shift at the old ticket hall.

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It's Bob's job, this morning,

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to deal with the fallout from passengers

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when they realise that Central Line trains are no longer stopping here.

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One man is more upset than most.

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He's travelled eight and a half miles from his north London home

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on his way to work to change trains here,

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and has now found out he can't.

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The only way then is to Embankment

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and then get the Circle Line round to Notting Hill Gate.

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That's the only way round, I'm afraid.

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Oh... And how long is that going to take me?

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-Er...

-I'm really going to be late.

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It's going to take you about half an hour to get there,

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including the interchange.

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I work security as well. I can't be late.

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-That's something I can't do.

-What time you got to be there by? Now?

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-Nine! I'm meant to be there at nine!

-It's nine o'clock now, yeah. Um...

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At Colindale Station, I asked the guy,

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"Is it open for me to come through the Central Line to get to work?"

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And he says, "Yeah, get on the train. Go." I'm here and I'm stuck.

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I've suggested he exits here at number one,

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catches any number of five buses to go from here to Marble Arch,

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to continue his journey on the Central Line to Shepherd's Bush.

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That's the way it's been. It's been advertised for a month now.

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Why they never told you...

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At Colindale Station, someone has to be responsible for their actions.

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Bob wants to help and is prepared to go the extra mile.

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He volunteers to give the man his own mobile number

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so that if his bosses want to confirm why he's late for work, they can.

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-If they want to call here, give him that.

-OK, no problem.

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So, you've got the 7, 10, 73...

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If his bosses do want to ring up to check

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the validation of the story, they've got it, which is not a problem.

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So, if he is late for work, he's covered, hopefully.

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For Bob, it's not been an uneventful final shift at the old ticket hall.

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But tomorrow, he'll be doing it all again in the brand-spanking new one.

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As one customer put it, it's like something out of the space age.

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We'll have to wait and see what happens when it finally does open.

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Later, the new ticket hall's open

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and the teething problems are just beginning.

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At quarter past eight in the morning,

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it's one thing we DON'T really need.

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PC Paul Penrose and PC Hatice Iper are undercover on Oxford Street.

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They've stopped four men who are acting suspiciously.

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I've been watching you two, stood over there for a long time.

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Then I've seen you two come over, shake hands with this gentleman

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and you've swapped something between yourselves.

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You have then taken this rucksack off him.

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Guys, you're going to be searched, OK, under Section 1 of PACE.

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I'm looking for stolen articles.

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I believe you guys have been passing items between you.

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The backpack that drew Paul's suspicion

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has quite a surprise inside it.

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OK, do you want to tell me what this is? Cos I know what this is.

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You don't know?

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It's not your bag?

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Paul's found a foam ball and three cups.

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It might not look like much, but Paul knows this is the equipment

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for a fraudulent game played only to rip off the public.

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Welcome to the world of gaming.

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This is the game being played.

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It was filmed recently by a passer-by

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and posted online as a warning.

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So, this is how it works. They'll have a mat, three cups.

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The object of the game is to guess which cup the foam ball is under.

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Watch the ball, move the cups round.

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But what he's done, he's taken the foam ball out from underneath

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and concealed it in his hand.

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There is no ball under those cups.

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Tourists will guess and go, "It's under that one."

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£20 on. He'll go, "No."

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He'll say, "All the time, it was under THAT one."

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And he will slip it under as he lifts the other cup.

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So, you are never going to win this game.

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Gamers can get away with the con,

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because people don't realise they've been tricked.

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These guys are gambling for £20 a throw on this,

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so they make £200 in 20 minutes, comfortably.

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There's gangs of three, four, five who are involved.

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You've got the chap who plays the game,

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you've got someone who poses as a player

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and will start putting down big money and they'll let him win,

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as well as spotters to keep an eye out for the police.

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It's not illegal gambling.

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They're actually fraud because it's a game you cannot win.

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It's your bag. It was on you.

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So, you're telling me it's HIS bag, yeah?

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OK, so you're going gaming, yeah? Whose is it?

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Whoa, you stay there. Who's going to tell on their mate?

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No honour amongst thieves, is there?

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At the moment, it's yours. It was on your back.

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None of the men are in a rush to claim ownership of the bag

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and while Paul's determined that visitors to Oxford Street

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won't lose their money to these fraudsters,

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without seeing the men actually playing,

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no offence has been committed.

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You're free to go.

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-Yes.

-OK? The minute you get that out, you get arrested.

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This time, the men are allowed to go, but the police in London

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are keeping an eye out for anyone they find

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actually playing the scam game.

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This type of fraud is a big problem

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but one the police are determined to root out.

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In the last six months, Westminster Police have made 107 arrests

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of people organising the scam game in the West End of London alone.

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Of these, 20 were cautioned and 78 were charged with illegal gaming.

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It is something we're determined to crack down on

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because tourists are losing a terrific amount of money

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to these guys. We close them down, they move somewhere else.

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We close them down, they move somewhere else.

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We just hound the life out of them, really, just keep them on the move.

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It's sale day at JD, Oxford Street, and with prices reduced,

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business is booming.

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Size six or seven, yeah?

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Staff member Anthony is one of the store's top salesmen,

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but even HE is feeling the pressure.

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-It won't be long at all, all right?

-MAN:

-Cheers.

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It is actually quite busy today.

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Trainers are just off the shelves, they're everywhere,

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people are getting impatient,

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we're trying our best as possible to get trainers out on time for them.

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If you need anything, just give us a shout, OK? All right?

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But one pair they don't sell a lot of are these -

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the Nike Mercurial Cristiano Ronaldo football boots,

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named after the Real Madrid star, and they're not in the sale.

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They're £250. Very expensive.

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One person who's taken a shine to the store's most expensive boots

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is Quinn.

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Ah, YOU want them. Right.

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He's visiting from America with his cousins

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and has set his heart on getting himself a pair.

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They feel really comfy...

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A nice texture in them inside...

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Also, they're soft, the soft bit of it.

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At the moment, the kids are on their own in the store,

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but Quinn's dad is currently on the way to pick the boys up.

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Very comfy....

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I'm so hoping I can get them.

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Quinn's hoping his dad will stretch to the £250 price tag.

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So, did you want me to leave them at the till or take them back?

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-Um, leave them at the till.

-All right.

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-That's if your dad buys them.

-Hopefully he will.

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And, just on cue, Quinn's dad, Daryl, arrives.

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He's had a text message about the boots.

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Will he stump up and make Quinn's dream come true?

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You're not having them from here. You're not having the boots.

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He wants the most expensive boots in the store.

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Unfortunately, that's not going to happen.

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So, Quinn is forced to leave without £250 of football boots.

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But while this sale might have fallen through,

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the discounts are keeping the rest of the business brisk.

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And keeping the shop floor fed with footwear,

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Stuart's still busy backstage.

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109 in a nine.

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Can I leave this with you? That all right? Thank you.

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But, as soon as one's delivered,

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-there's half a dozen others on the screen.

-1092 in a ten...

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And we don't seem...

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Have we got anything going out? We're done! Clear screen.

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By the end of his eight-hour shift, it looks like job done.

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When you clear the screen, it's a nice relief, really, for everything.

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They expected over 4,000 customers would enter the shop

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and they were right.

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The team have hit their targets

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and can congratulate themselves on a good day's work.

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Long day, really busy, a lot of customers in,

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done a lot of sales, been quite productive.

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It's been good, it's been fun.

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While they head off,

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the Nike Mercurials get ready for another lonely night in the store.

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At the east end of Oxford Street,

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it's all change at one of its key Tube stations - Tottenham Court Road.

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As part of a multimillion-pound redevelopment,

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the Victorian ticket hall has been closed,

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to be replaced by a brand-new one next door.

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It's taken two years to build and cost hundred of millions of pounds.

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Station veteran Bob is there for the grand opening.

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It's been good so far. The reaction's been pretty good.

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People have been impressed.

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Looking round and seeing smiles on their faces,

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they're quite impressed with it all so far.

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So, just hope it keeps going like this.

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The opening's a big deal for London Underground -

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the culmination of months of hard work.

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There's a briefing with top brass for the media and, for passengers,

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they're starting with what they call a soft opening,

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on a weekday morning in the holiday period.

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They're hoping it will weed out

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any teething problems with the new building.

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One person who doesn't need a ticket

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is Transport for London managing director, Mike Brown.

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Greeting him is Alexander.

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-How are we doing? What do you think?

-Oh, very happy about this.

-Yeah?

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Feel like saying, "Ooh, we got everything."

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A little bit nervous, you know.

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When your chief executive come and see how the station is going,

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you're a bit nervous.

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I have a little butterfly flying in my tummy now.

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I'm very happy. Everything is working fine.

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But just then, the first problems begin to emerge.

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'Your key is not working?'

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The escalator has gone off.

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The emergency button was pushed downstairs.

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It was reset but they can't reset it.

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With the boss briefing the national media,

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it's vital the team get it up and running as soon as possible.

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Bob calls in the experts.

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All right, OK, cheers.

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MESSAGE OVER RADIO

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Engineer's on site. That was quite quick, actually.

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The engineers get to work and things are soon ready to move again.

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Escalator eight is running now.

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But, no sooner have they fixed it...

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One to base. Number 13 escalator is off as well.

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..another one's down.

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The glitches which you expect... It's like moving into a new house.

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This piece is missing, that piece is missing

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and we are expecting a little bit of glitches,

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but gradually, it's going to be fitting in.

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MESSAGE OVER RADIO

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New station, everybody wants to get it right.

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And, as of now, we're getting it right.

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One to base. The escalator stopped again.

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Weeding out teething problems like these

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are why they have soft openings.

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With the engineers on the scene, it's soon solved.

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'We have a good service on all lines. A good service on all lines.'

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Yeah, nice! Everybody happy.

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My customers are happy, I'm also happy.

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The old ticket hall welcomed Oxford Street customers for over 100 years.

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During its lifetime, hundreds of millions of people used it.

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It's hoped the new ticket hall will be just as successful.

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With over half a million visitors a week

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thronging the pavements of Oxford Street,

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it doesn't leave much space for staging events.

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But there is a place, down an alley off it, which has got room -

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St Christopher's Place.

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This ancient courtyard is a haven of restaurants, shops and bars,

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away from the hustle and bustle of the main street

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and the extra space makes it perfect

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for staging the events Oxford Street can't fit.

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Which is why, very early this morning,

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Matthew Harris is overseeing some construction.

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Any way to change the angle?

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It is...heading up to half six in the morning.

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We are currently getting a stage together

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for the One Great Day event.

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One Great Day is 24 hours of organised charity fundraising

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for nearby Great Ormond Street children's hospital.

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It involves events all over the UK

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and St Christopher's Place is holding the London leg,

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which Joanne Wilkes has helped to organise.

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We did a similar benefit last year and we raised about £12,000.

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This year we're aiming for closer to...

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gosh, I don't know, £15,000, £20,000, something like that.

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The stage will host the main event today -

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a charity bike race.

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Teams of three from local shops and businesses

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have been sponsored to ride 3km on exercise bikes.

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The team with the fastest average will get a prize.

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All the money raised will be given to Great Ormond Street.

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The team get busy with the preparations.

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Out front is Simon, one of the St Christopher's Place bellboys,

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and it's his job today to attract spectators into the event.

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Good morning. It's One Great Day on St Christopher's Place today.

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Come and say hello. We've got lots of things happening all day long.

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But at this time in the morning, it's proving a hard sell.

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Good morning. One Great Day on St Christopher's Place today.

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Drop by on your lunch break. Come and say hello. Come and join us.

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-We've got lots of things happening all day long.

-Thank you.

-Thank you.

0:24:460:24:50

At least we got an interaction. That's the struggle.

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In the courtyard, the cycling competition is about to start.

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The first team to take to the bikes

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are all staff from Oxford Street's retail association,

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the New West End Company.

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But there's a surprise for them, waiting on stage.

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They're about to get their starting orders

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from a genuine Olympic champion.

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I'm delighted to welcome to the stage Victoria Pendleton,

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double gold medal winner and silver medal winner

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and she's going to launch our very first race of the day.

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-We've got 41 races to run today. Are you ready, cyclists?

-Yes.

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-OK, three, two, one...

-SHE HONKS HORN

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And they're off.

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As their legs get pumping, Victoria has some words of advice.

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Before long, the New West End Company are done

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and their results are on the scoreboard.

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They're in the lead...for now.

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Good cause. It was worth doing at 8am in the morning.

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But soon, other teams are hot on their heels.

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Quick, quick, quick, quick!

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Done two, 39 to go.

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HE LAUGHS

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Five, four, three, two, one.

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-Not quite there.

-What did you do that for?

0:26:160:26:19

-I was getting you going!

-That was mean!

-I know that was mean but, hey.

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Exhausted or not, the racers keep trying

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and the money keeps rolling in.

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-It's much better than last year.

-Yeah, bigger and better.

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And we've raised more money.

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I think we could still hit our target of £20,000.

0:26:360:26:39

The competition is hotting up...

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-Three, two, one...

-HORN BLARES

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The team from Cote Brasserie

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are hoping to smash their previous record.

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Last year, we arrived 31st out of 44, so really, really bad.

0:26:480:26:53

I promised a good lunch and a good bottle of wine

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if they come within ten places.

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You can do it! Come on!

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Come on! Go, guys, go, go! Breathe, breathe out, breathe out.

0:27:020:27:07

They've got a tough task

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with the current top time of four minutes, eight, to beat.

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Come on, come on! Keep going, keep going!

0:27:120:27:14

But manager Fiorenzo is not afraid to use

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all his motivational management skills.

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Speed, speed, speed! Vai, vai!

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-Even if he's forgotten they're cycling.

-Run, run, run, run!

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3km done in a time of four minutes, 47 seconds,

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isn't going to trouble the leaderboard,

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but it leaves them well ahead of last year's 31st place.

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Whoo!

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The day and the competition are almost over

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and the fundraisers are optimistic.

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The bucket is full, so we're really stoked.

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We made our £12,000 target, but that's not enough.

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We're carrying on. We're going to try and hit £20,000.

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There's loads of people drinking now, so if they can afford £5

0:27:530:27:56

for a pint of beer, they can stick a couple of quid in the bucket.

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In total, St Christopher's Place has raised £15,000,

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25% more than the previous year, smashing their targets.

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There was a 5% increase in footfall across the day

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and 18,000 social media mentions.

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It's good news for the children of Great Ormond Street

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and proves that visitors to Oxford Street

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can be a generous lot on a good day.

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Meanwhile, the organisers can relax and start enjoying one great night.

0:28:220:28:27

-He doesn't do hugs.

-No.

0:28:270:28:29

Oxford Street's undercover police team try and stamp out the cup-and-ball gaming scam taking tourists for a ride.

Elsewhere, it's opening day for a new tube station at the east end of the street, and there's an Olympic champion in town for a bike race with a difference.


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