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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It's the most famous shopping street in the world,
in the heart of Britain's capital city -
a mile and a half long, with 30 million visitors each year,
with some of the world's most famous shops,
-..and busiest stations.
-Sorry, guys, stand back for me!
What does it take to keep it running 24 hours a day...
It's the 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, rip-off gaming scams.
It's not illegal gambling, they're actually fraud
because it's a game you cannot win.
Police take on the scammers.
This boy wants the most expensive shoes in the shop.
Will his dad foot the bill?
Tube staff deal with unhappy passengers.
I can't be late. That's something I can't do.
And there's a bike race with an Olympic champion.
-SHE HONKS HORN
Oxford Street draws millions of visitors
from the UK and across the world and to keep them coming back,
the street is kept as clean, inviting and friendly as possible.
Part of this responsibility falls to the undercover police officers
from West End Central Station.
As well as chasing shoplifters and pickpockets,
PC Paul Penrose and his team battle
the street's other antisocial elements.
We've got street hawkers, people who are begging,
pedicabbers who are ripping off tourists.
They're all there to take advantage of people's good nature
and the amount of money that's being spent on Oxford Street.
Today, he and colleague Hatice Iper are patrolling the street,
keeping watch for the signs of criminal behaviour.
Saturday afternoon. Very, very busy on Oxford Street.
London's a bit of a jungle
and on a Saturday, Oxford Street is definitely the watering hole.
Before long, Hatice spots two men looking suspicious,
lurking outside a shop without ever going inside.
On our side? Yeah, I've got him, yeah.
The pair decide to follow them.
The men come to a halt outside a Tube station
and Paul and Hatice watch from the other side of the road.
They just don't feel right.
Whether they're actually up to something, I don't know.
Paul's not sure what the men are up to,
but he's got an idea it might be serious.
Then the men head off.
Making a slow walk down, so we're going to follow them.
Having spent so long watching the men,
Paul doesn't want to get too close now and get spotted.
I think this is drugs.
They're coming over here. Stay still.
OK, he's met up with him.
Right, there's something going on.
The men have met two others and swapped a bag.
Paul's seen thieves do this before, when they exchange stolen goods.
If they separate again, he won't be able to stop all of them,
so he decides to make his move now.
Guys, police. Can you come here, please? Come here. And you.
Police. Can you all come and stand here for me?
Stay calm or you're going to get handcuffed up, all right?
I need you to stay there for me, please.
Keep your hands out your pockets.
If you put your hands in your pockets, I'll put you in handcuffs.
I've seen them start to exchange things between each other.
One's then taken a bag off this gentleman on the right.
I'm just keeping it nice and calm before I start a search.
Later, when Paul and Hatice search the men,
they uncover something they didn't expect.
OK, do you want to tell me what this is? Cos I know what this is.
-It's not mine.
-Whoa, you stay there. Who's going to tell on their mate?
A big growth area for retail sales at the moment is trainers.
These humble sports shoes have never been more popular,
with demand for fashionable brands driving sales.
And making the most of this booming trade is JD.
Sales at its sports fashion shops rose 13% last year,
with its 350 branches across the UK
selling a whopping ten million pairs of trainers.
And at their Oxford Street store this morning,
branch manager Donna is preparing her staff -
at the start of their eight-hour shift - to sell even more.
People are on Oxford Street, they're looking for bargains,
and it's up to us to sell them.
They're starting their seasonal sale
and Donna's hoping to see the trainers fly off the shelves.
Stuart, you're going to be working in the stockroom today,
so you're going to be running orders, so...RUN orders, please.
Not walking - that would be great.
Anthony, you're going to be on the floor.
Cain, Jenaya, you're also going to be on the floor, serving,
so keep your customers up to date with where their order's at.
In fact, trainer sales are so buoyant,
JD is opening a brand-new flagship store on Oxford Street.
But until it opens, this branch will have to cope with demand.
Our footfall for today could be
anywhere between 4,000 to 6,000 customers, coming into our store.
With the store starting to get busy, Donna is pushing her team hard.
Can you order that in that size for a customer?
Get rubbish off the floor as well, yeah?
Keep the shoes back on the wall for me, yeah?
My manager, Donna, is very OCD.
She's always out saying, "Do that, do that.
"Make sure everything is tidy."
Some people might say that I have OCD with my store...
Realistically, I just want everything to be
as best as it possibly can be.
With so much demand to try on trainers,
the store's installed a cutting-edge system
to get shoes out to the shop floor as fast as possible.
What we have here is our footwear ordering system.
Size ten in this pair? Give me just one second,
I'll check for you. Take a seat.
I'm just scanning the shoe to see
if we have the size that she needs in stock.
I scan it, it goes through on the display to the stockroom
and then they'll grab the shoes, bring it out.
That will be just a few minutes, we'll get it out to you.
This is the side of JD few ever see.
A Max 90-400 in a ten.
Stuart's running the storeroom today - literally.
The screen tells him the make, model and size
and he uses a coding system to find it
and get it to the shop floor as fast as he can.
They want it out from here,
from when they've ordered to here in about two to three minutes.
Thanks very much, bud. 401.
Running the storeroom is trainer fanatic Stuart's dream job.
Shoes is literally everything. It's every second thought for me.
I collect shoes. I'm on 132 at the minute.
My most expensive, I've actually just sold,
was an original Jordan from 1984.
Never been worn, never come out the box.
I paid 1,700, so it's about £1,300.
I sold them for just under 3,000, so about £2,400.
Not a bad profit, but part of me still wants the shoes.
And with the sale in full swing,
Stuart has a lot more orders to pull out.
Later, the sale continues and one shoe, in particular, causes a stir.
Very comfy. I'm so hoping I can get them.
Oxford Street is undergoing its most radical change in over 100 years.
Vast swathes at the east end of the street are now a building site,
as developers plunge billions into a new plaza
that will dominate the area.
And no-one is living with this more than the staff
at Tottenham Court Road Underground Station.
The station is decrepit and is long past its sell-by date,
so London Underground are spending hundreds of millions updating it.
Stage one of the works starts this morning,
when one of the two Tube lines that uses the station -
the Central Line - closes.
For stage two, tomorrow, they open a brand-new ticket hall next door.
This morning is Bob Lawrence's final shift at the old ticket hall.
It's Bob's job, this morning,
to deal with the fallout from passengers
when they realise that Central Line trains are no longer stopping here.
One man is more upset than most.
He's travelled eight and a half miles from his north London home
on his way to work to change trains here,
and has now found out he can't.
The only way then is to Embankment
and then get the Circle Line round to Notting Hill Gate.
That's the only way round, I'm afraid.
Oh... And how long is that going to take me?
-I'm really going to be late.
It's going to take you about half an hour to get there,
including the interchange.
I work security as well. I can't be late.
-That's something I can't do.
-What time you got to be there by? Now?
-Nine! I'm meant to be there at nine!
-It's nine o'clock now, yeah. Um...
At Colindale Station, I asked the guy,
"Is it open for me to come through the Central Line to get to work?"
And he says, "Yeah, get on the train. Go." I'm here and I'm stuck.
I've suggested he exits here at number one,
catches any number of five buses to go from here to Marble Arch,
to continue his journey on the Central Line to Shepherd's Bush.
That's the way it's been. It's been advertised for a month now.
Why they never told you...
At Colindale Station, someone has to be responsible for their actions.
Bob wants to help and is prepared to go the extra mile.
He volunteers to give the man his own mobile number
so that if his bosses want to confirm why he's late for work, they can.
-If they want to call here, give him that.
-OK, no problem.
So, you've got the 7, 10, 73...
If his bosses do want to ring up to check
the validation of the story, they've got it, which is not a problem.
So, if he is late for work, he's covered, hopefully.
For Bob, it's not been an uneventful final shift at the old ticket hall.
But tomorrow, he'll be doing it all again in the brand-spanking new one.
As one customer put it, it's like something out of the space age.
We'll have to wait and see what happens when it finally does open.
Later, the new ticket hall's open
and the teething problems are just beginning.
At quarter past eight in the morning,
it's one thing we DON'T really need.
PC Paul Penrose and PC Hatice Iper are undercover on Oxford Street.
They've stopped four men who are acting suspiciously.
I've been watching you two, stood over there for a long time.
Then I've seen you two come over, shake hands with this gentleman
and you've swapped something between yourselves.
You have then taken this rucksack off him.
Guys, you're going to be searched, OK, under Section 1 of PACE.
I'm looking for stolen articles.
I believe you guys have been passing items between you.
The backpack that drew Paul's suspicion
has quite a surprise inside it.
OK, do you want to tell me what this is? Cos I know what this is.
You don't know?
It's not your bag?
Paul's found a foam ball and three cups.
It might not look like much, but Paul knows this is the equipment
for a fraudulent game played only to rip off the public.
Welcome to the world of gaming.
This is the game being played.
It was filmed recently by a passer-by
and posted online as a warning.
So, this is how it works. They'll have a mat, three cups.
The object of the game is to guess which cup the foam ball is under.
Watch the ball, move the cups round.
But what he's done, he's taken the foam ball out from underneath
and concealed it in his hand.
There is no ball under those cups.
Tourists will guess and go, "It's under that one."
£20 on. He'll go, "No."
He'll say, "All the time, it was under THAT one."
And he will slip it under as he lifts the other cup.
So, you are never going to win this game.
Gamers can get away with the con,
because people don't realise they've been tricked.
These guys are gambling for £20 a throw on this,
so they make £200 in 20 minutes, comfortably.
There's gangs of three, four, five who are involved.
You've got the chap who plays the game,
you've got someone who poses as a player
and will start putting down big money and they'll let him win,
as well as spotters to keep an eye out for the police.
It's not illegal gambling.
They're actually fraud because it's a game you cannot win.
It's your bag. It was on you.
So, you're telling me it's HIS bag, yeah?
OK, so you're going gaming, yeah? Whose is it?
Whoa, you stay there. Who's going to tell on their mate?
No honour amongst thieves, is there?
At the moment, it's yours. It was on your back.
None of the men are in a rush to claim ownership of the bag
and while Paul's determined that visitors to Oxford Street
won't lose their money to these fraudsters,
without seeing the men actually playing,
no offence has been committed.
You're free to go.
-OK? The minute you get that out, you get arrested.
This time, the men are allowed to go, but the police in London
are keeping an eye out for anyone they find
actually playing the scam game.
This type of fraud is a big problem
but one the police are determined to root out.
In the last six months, Westminster Police have made 107 arrests
of people organising the scam game in the West End of London alone.
Of these, 20 were cautioned and 78 were charged with illegal gaming.
It is something we're determined to crack down on
because tourists are losing a terrific amount of money
to these guys. We close them down, they move somewhere else.
We close them down, they move somewhere else.
We just hound the life out of them, really, just keep them on the move.
It's sale day at JD, Oxford Street, and with prices reduced,
business is booming.
Size six or seven, yeah?
Staff member Anthony is one of the store's top salesmen,
but even HE is feeling the pressure.
-It won't be long at all, all right?
It is actually quite busy today.
Trainers are just off the shelves, they're everywhere,
people are getting impatient,
we're trying our best as possible to get trainers out on time for them.
If you need anything, just give us a shout, OK? All right?
But one pair they don't sell a lot of are these -
the Nike Mercurial Cristiano Ronaldo football boots,
named after the Real Madrid star, and they're not in the sale.
They're £250. Very expensive.
One person who's taken a shine to the store's most expensive boots
Ah, YOU want them. Right.
He's visiting from America with his cousins
and has set his heart on getting himself a pair.
They feel really comfy...
A nice texture in them inside...
Also, they're soft, the soft bit of it.
At the moment, the kids are on their own in the store,
but Quinn's dad is currently on the way to pick the boys up.
I'm so hoping I can get them.
Quinn's hoping his dad will stretch to the £250 price tag.
So, did you want me to leave them at the till or take them back?
-Um, leave them at the till.
-That's if your dad buys them.
-Hopefully he will.
And, just on cue, Quinn's dad, Daryl, arrives.
He's had a text message about the boots.
Will he stump up and make Quinn's dream come true?
You're not having them from here. You're not having the boots.
He wants the most expensive boots in the store.
Unfortunately, that's not going to happen.
So, Quinn is forced to leave without £250 of football boots.
But while this sale might have fallen through,
the discounts are keeping the rest of the business brisk.
And keeping the shop floor fed with footwear,
Stuart's still busy backstage.
109 in a nine.
Can I leave this with you? That all right? Thank you.
But, as soon as one's delivered,
-there's half a dozen others on the screen.
-1092 in a ten...
And we don't seem...
Have we got anything going out? We're done! Clear screen.
By the end of his eight-hour shift, it looks like job done.
When you clear the screen, it's a nice relief, really, for everything.
They expected over 4,000 customers would enter the shop
and they were right.
The team have hit their targets
and can congratulate themselves on a good day's work.
Long day, really busy, a lot of customers in,
done a lot of sales, been quite productive.
It's been good, it's been fun.
While they head off,
the Nike Mercurials get ready for another lonely night in the store.
At the east end of Oxford Street,
it's all change at one of its key Tube stations - Tottenham Court Road.
As part of a multimillion-pound redevelopment,
the Victorian ticket hall has been closed,
to be replaced by a brand-new one next door.
It's taken two years to build and cost hundred of millions of pounds.
Station veteran Bob is there for the grand opening.
It's been good so far. The reaction's been pretty good.
People have been impressed.
Looking round and seeing smiles on their faces,
they're quite impressed with it all so far.
So, just hope it keeps going like this.
The opening's a big deal for London Underground -
the culmination of months of hard work.
There's a briefing with top brass for the media and, for passengers,
they're starting with what they call a soft opening,
on a weekday morning in the holiday period.
They're hoping it will weed out
any teething problems with the new building.
One person who doesn't need a ticket
is Transport for London managing director, Mike Brown.
Greeting him is Alexander.
-How are we doing? What do you think?
-Oh, very happy about this.
Feel like saying, "Ooh, we got everything."
A little bit nervous, you know.
When your chief executive come and see how the station is going,
you're a bit nervous.
I have a little butterfly flying in my tummy now.
I'm very happy. Everything is working fine.
But just then, the first problems begin to emerge.
'Your key is not working?'
The escalator has gone off.
The emergency button was pushed downstairs.
It was reset but they can't reset it.
With the boss briefing the national media,
it's vital the team get it up and running as soon as possible.
Bob calls in the experts.
All right, OK, cheers.
MESSAGE OVER RADIO
Engineer's on site. That was quite quick, actually.
The engineers get to work and things are soon ready to move again.
Escalator eight is running now.
But, no sooner have they fixed it...
One to base. Number 13 escalator is off as well.
..another one's down.
The glitches which you expect... It's like moving into a new house.
This piece is missing, that piece is missing
and we are expecting a little bit of glitches,
but gradually, it's going to be fitting in.
MESSAGE OVER RADIO
New station, everybody wants to get it right.
And, as of now, we're getting it right.
One to base. The escalator stopped again.
Weeding out teething problems like these
are why they have soft openings.
With the engineers on the scene, it's soon solved.
'We have a good service on all lines. A good service on all lines.'
Yeah, nice! Everybody happy.
My customers are happy, I'm also happy.
The old ticket hall welcomed Oxford Street customers for over 100 years.
During its lifetime, hundreds of millions of people used it.
It's hoped the new ticket hall will be just as successful.
With over half a million visitors a week
thronging the pavements of Oxford Street,
it doesn't leave much space for staging events.
But there is a place, down an alley off it, which has got room -
St Christopher's Place.
This ancient courtyard is a haven of restaurants, shops and bars,
away from the hustle and bustle of the main street
and the extra space makes it perfect
for staging the events Oxford Street can't fit.
Which is why, very early this morning,
Matthew Harris is overseeing some construction.
Any way to change the angle?
It is...heading up to half six in the morning.
We are currently getting a stage together
for the One Great Day event.
One Great Day is 24 hours of organised charity fundraising
for nearby Great Ormond Street children's hospital.
It involves events all over the UK
and St Christopher's Place is holding the London leg,
which Joanne Wilkes has helped to organise.
We did a similar benefit last year and we raised about £12,000.
This year we're aiming for closer to...
gosh, I don't know, £15,000, £20,000, something like that.
The stage will host the main event today -
a charity bike race.
Teams of three from local shops and businesses
have been sponsored to ride 3km on exercise bikes.
The team with the fastest average will get a prize.
All the money raised will be given to Great Ormond Street.
The team get busy with the preparations.
Out front is Simon, one of the St Christopher's Place bellboys,
and it's his job today to attract spectators into the event.
Good morning. It's One Great Day on St Christopher's Place today.
Come and say hello. We've got lots of things happening all day long.
But at this time in the morning, it's proving a hard sell.
Good morning. One Great Day on St Christopher's Place today.
Drop by on your lunch break. Come and say hello. Come and join us.
-We've got lots of things happening all day long.
At least we got an interaction. That's the struggle.
In the courtyard, the cycling competition is about to start.
The first team to take to the bikes
are all staff from Oxford Street's retail association,
the New West End Company.
But there's a surprise for them, waiting on stage.
They're about to get their starting orders
from a genuine Olympic champion.
I'm delighted to welcome to the stage Victoria Pendleton,
double gold medal winner and silver medal winner
and she's going to launch our very first race of the day.
-We've got 41 races to run today. Are you ready, cyclists?
-OK, three, two, one...
-SHE HONKS HORN
And they're off.
As their legs get pumping, Victoria has some words of advice.
Before long, the New West End Company are done
and their results are on the scoreboard.
They're in the lead...for now.
Good cause. It was worth doing at 8am in the morning.
But soon, other teams are hot on their heels.
Quick, quick, quick, quick!
Done two, 39 to go.
Five, four, three, two, one.
-Not quite there.
-What did you do that for?
-I was getting you going!
-That was mean!
-I know that was mean but, hey.
Exhausted or not, the racers keep trying
and the money keeps rolling in.
-It's much better than last year.
-Yeah, bigger and better.
And we've raised more money.
I think we could still hit our target of £20,000.
The competition is hotting up...
-Three, two, one...
The team from Cote Brasserie
are hoping to smash their previous record.
Last year, we arrived 31st out of 44, so really, really bad.
I promised a good lunch and a good bottle of wine
if they come within ten places.
You can do it! Come on!
Come on! Go, guys, go, go! Breathe, breathe out, breathe out.
They've got a tough task
with the current top time of four minutes, eight, to beat.
Come on, come on! Keep going, keep going!
But manager Fiorenzo is not afraid to use
all his motivational management skills.
Speed, speed, speed! Vai, vai!
-Even if he's forgotten they're cycling.
-Run, run, run, run!
3km done in a time of four minutes, 47 seconds,
isn't going to trouble the leaderboard,
but it leaves them well ahead of last year's 31st place.
The day and the competition are almost over
and the fundraisers are optimistic.
The bucket is full, so we're really stoked.
We made our £12,000 target, but that's not enough.
We're carrying on. We're going to try and hit £20,000.
There's loads of people drinking now, so if they can afford £5
for a pint of beer, they can stick a couple of quid in the bucket.
In total, St Christopher's Place has raised £15,000,
25% more than the previous year, smashing their targets.
There was a 5% increase in footfall across the day
and 18,000 social media mentions.
It's good news for the children of Great Ormond Street
and proves that visitors to Oxford Street
can be a generous lot on a good day.
Meanwhile, the organisers can relax and start enjoying one great night.
-He doesn't do hugs.
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.