BBC blunder sees police rush to Crimewatch reconstruction
Jun 8 2009 by Phil Doherty, The Journal
THE BBC has been left red faced after police raced to reports of a robbery at a newsagents, only to find it was a television reconstruction they hadn’t been told about.
Producers of the programme Crimewatch neglected to tell Northumbria Police they were using actors armed with weapons to film a scene at Mills Newsagents in North Shields, North Tyneside.
A terrified passer-by phoned 999 after seeing the actors brandishing a hammer at staff and police raced to the scene.
Eyewitness Jim Selby, 46, who watched the drama unfold from his home, said: “I saw people with balaclavas on and dressed up as assailants getting onto push bikes outside the store. I knew it was fake because there was a film crew following them.
“But then about 10 minutes after they had gone a police car raced up to the a shop and a copper ran into the shop.
“However, the film crew had gone by the time the police got there and I thought something else had happened after they’d left. Crimewatch Roadshow were reconstructing a robbery that took place in February where two offenders threatened staff with a hammer and then made off on BMX bikes with a small quantity of cash.
A BBC spokesman said: “Crimewatch has a proud history spanning 25 years of working closely with police forces across the UK, and has been working with Northumbria Police over the past three weeks for the Crimewatch Roadshow.