Leedswatch officer’s hunch helped police to find rapist

Leedswatch control room officer Ruth Anelay at work. Pictures: James Hardisty
Leedswatch control room officer Ruth Anelay at work. Pictures: James Hardisty

A hunch by control room officer Ruth Anelay proved a key turning point in the investigation into a rape.

Detectives investigating the crime had been to view some of the footage captured at the time once before and returned at a bit of a loss after being unable to trace the man responsible.

Leedwatch control room officer Tracey Jones.

Leedwatch control room officer Tracey Jones.

Read more: How Leedswatch CCTV team is helping to make city safer

Ruth said: “We had a look at a few more cameras. We were able to follow this gentleman quite a lot of the way through Leeds by following the cameras and guessing where he would go. Eventually I picked him up going onto a street corner.

“We could see on the cameras that he was checking his pockets. I said he was going for his keys. My suggestion was that he was going onto the street where he lived. The next day they arrested him there.”

Two men skulking in a quiet street one evening caught the eye of control room officer Tracey Jones, prompting her to train one of the CCTV cameras onto them.

Leedswatch control room officer Ruth Anelay.

Leedswatch control room officer Ruth Anelay.

“My thoughts were they were going to attempt to rob somebody,” she recalled.

Within moments, they robbed a man of his wallet and phone, and began to casually walk away. The incident was called in to police and Tracey was witness to what happened next, ensuring vital CCTV footage was captured.

“The man approached them and they began assaulting him,” she said. “While he was unconscious they took everything and made off.”

On arrest, the men were found in possession of items taken in earlier robberies.

Read more: Stolen dumper truckers driven into Leedswatch CCTV camera posts

What appeared to be a house removal taking place in the early hours raised suspicion on another occasion.

Tracey said: “There was a big van, a small van and a car. I didn’t think it was right. Everything they were moving was really quick, so I rang it through to the police.

“The officers arrived and it turned out to be a large scale cannabis factory in a house. They were all arrested and everything was seized.”

Although they do a lot of crime-related work alongside police, the Leedswatch team also has a safeguarding role.

Recent examples include alerting paramedics to drug users who had fallen ill in the stairwell of a council tower block and helping to trace missing people.

Read more: Leedswatch CCTV network to go fully digital during upgrade

“There was one a few months back where it was an 86-year-old man with dementia,” Ruth said. “His wife had died the day before and he had gone missing. He had come from Morley very early in the morning. We picked up the bus he had boarded and managed to follow it. We were able to tell the police where to find him.”