What’s the least to expect from Secrets of the Shoplifters (9pm, 16 April, C4)? A few secrets, perhaps? None were on offer. The closest we came was when ‘Brighton bon viveur’ Jack (who refers to his trade as ‘upstealing’) was about to show us how he passes off a bottle of Moët & Chandon as a cheap cava (via a self-service till using a soaked-off label). But the transaction wasn’t shown.
The rest, pursued by South Yorkshire police as part of a pre-Christmas blitz to catch the 10 most prolific shoplifters, were the opposite of secretive. With missing teeth and gaunt faces (thanks, presumably, to drug and alcohol issues), they walked into stores and grabbed what they wanted (Trevor casually strolled out of Asda with £140 worth of goods).
There was no art or subterfuge. They didn’t care if they were seen or caught. It was as if some of them WANTED to be caught, for all their bravado and bluster (as Gavin the Grinch - so named because he steals Christmas - put it: “I’m better than Father Christmas).
Or at least that seemed the case with former store detective Bruce, who claimed to know the tricks of the trade - but didn’t use them. The self-styled “Darth Vader of the shoplifting world” - looking more like Sherlock Holmes crossed with Del Boy with his deerstalker and sheepskin coat - kept getting nabbed. And despite promising to “knock it on the head” was soon at it again - stealing a £2.99 packet of tea lights.
Pathetic and deserving of sympathy maybe, rather than someone to be paraded before us on a TV programme.