United Kingdom

New documentary shows behind-the-scene of police investigation into two armed robberies

This is the tense moment an armed robbery suspect is arrested by police during a raid on his home. 

Career criminal Christy Cartman, 36, was targeted by officers from Norfolk Constabulary in a raid filmed for tonight's episode of Channel 5 documentary Police: Suspect No.1.  

Cameras followed detectives Dan Hedges and Tim Lamb as they investigate a series of armed robberies carried out in June 2019, including one incident where a couple were threatened with a shotgun by two men who stole their car. 

The series reveals how officers have to build a case against their suspects in order to bring them to justice. 

The episode starts with a telephone recording from one of Cartman's victims reporting how her Mini had been stolen at knifepoint. 

Police: Suspect No.1, on at 9pm tonight on Channel 5, follows Norfolk detectives Dan Hedges and Tim Lamb as they investigate a series of armed robberies that occurred in June 2019 (pictured: police officers raiding the home of suspect Christy Cartman)

Christy Cartman (pictured) was arrested on suspicion of having taken part int he two armed robberies. However, the team needs to gather indisputable evidence in order to prove he's committed the crime 

The police recover a shotgun at Cartman's property. They later find it is linked to another robbery, which happened two weeks prior 

She tells how a man 'got into the passenger street with a knife' before she was thrown out of her car. 

Three hours later another victim phones the police to report how she had been threatened at home by a gun-toting car thief. 

The woman explains how criminals had forced open the front door and fired a shotgun into the house before smashing the glass out of the door and stealing the keys for her VW Passat. 

'They got a firearm, they've taken my car, they smashed the front door, there's glass everywhere,' she says, crying down the phone. 'They fired it into the house, 22 years I've live here, nothing like that's ever happened.'

Alam, a criminal from London who settled in Norfolk and known to police for drug and firearm possession, is arrested just 100m away shortly afterwards and was found to be in possession of the first victim's bank card.   

Hedges and Lamb, along with DI Chris Burgess, work quickly to investigate Alam's possible link to the crime and try to find his partner in crime.

'You do worry that if you don't work hard and fast you won't get that evidence,' DS Hedges explains. 'You now that person is out and about and could cause untold harm to others whilst you are carrying on this investigation.'

Rashal Alam and Christy Cartman were caught on CCTV close to the location of the first carjacking incident 

The suspect is tasered (pictured) during the arrest because he refuses to comply with the instructions of firearms officers present at the scene. In addition, at this time the team still hasn't recovered the shotgun used in the aggravated burglary

Christy (pictured) refuses to cooperate during his first police interview, and only replies 'no comment to all questions'

They soon suspect that the second man responsible for the crime is 'career criminal' Cartman, who is well known to the police and has a history of robbery and burglary.

An off-duty police officer spotted Cartman and Alam close to the scene of the first crime.  

Based on this new information, the police raid Cartman's house, where he is tasered because he refuses to comply with the instructions of firearms officers present at the scene. 

During a search of his property officers also find a shotgun hidden behind a water tank in his attic.  

Police explain their job is now to search for evidence that connects their suspects to the crimes. 

DI Burgess says: 'We're looking for evidence that connects people to vehicles or locations, but we actually don't know what. It can be something left behind, CCTV, it could be anything. 

A picture taken by a farmer who saw the two suspicious men in the second stolen car shows Alam in the passenger seat. Cartman is hiding his face 

'The first interviews are going to be crucial. It's going to be a very important part in where this case goes.'

He explains that his officers will try to get a reaction out of Cartman by multiplying questions.

He explains: 'If they see a particular area that the suspect is finding difficult and clearly uncomfortable because we're hitting a nail he didn't want us to hit, then I would expect them to keep on harrowing'

During his initial interview, Cartman does not cooperate and instead replies to every question with 'no comment.'

The officers explains that because they still have little forensic evidence at this point, it is in Cartman's favour to say as little as possible.  

Because the suspected criminal does not give himself away, it is down to the forensic evidence to prove he committed the crime.  

They also start to suspect Cartman might be involved in other crimes in the area, and manage to confirm his shotgun was stolen during a previous home robbery. 

However it is not enough to prove a link.  

'You can't say he's physically handled that gun and that is our link,' DS Hedges explains.  The pressure is on for the team to find more evidence against Cartman.  

'For detectives, there's nothing more frustrating that when someone you know has committed a crime, walks because they don't have enough evidence,' DI Burgess says.

However evidence found on a balaclava in the second car proves Cartman's undoing. After three months of investigation the team is able to say that DNA belonging to the suspected armed robber was found on the balaclava. 

Specs of glass belonging to the front door that was smashed during the second armed robbery was also found on the piece of clothing.

DC Tim Lamb (left) and DS Dan Hedges investigate the crimes. They look at forensic evidence, CCTV footage and eye-witnesses accounts for information  

DI Burgess briefs the team on the case. The investigation into Cartman lasts three months, where they have to gather every bit of forensic evidence they can 

The detectives head to HMP Wayland, where Cartman is on remand for lesser charges. 

He admits to owning a balaclava, which he says he wears when he goes fishing at night. However, he can't find an explanation for the shards of glass the team found on the balaclava.

The team explains the evidence against Cartman is now too strong to be denied. 

'It's a great feeling knowing you got all the cards. He's not gonna come back with anything,' DI Burgess says. 

Alam of Norwich, was convicted of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, aggravated burglary and taking a car without authority in March. 

He also admitted assaulting an emergency worker and racially aggravated threatening behaviour and was given an extended sentence of 10 years custody and five years extended licence.

Cartman, of Norwich, was jailed for nine years with an extended three-year licence after he admitted possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, aggravated burglary and taking a car without consent. He also admitted the car-jacking of a Mini.

Police: Suspect No.1 airs tonight at 9pm on Channel 5.   

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