Police launch review of latest Skint Britain episode over 'concerns about the criminal activity' being aired on TV show filmed in Hartlepool

Police are due to look at footage from documentary Skint Britain: Friends Without Benefits to see if new investigations will be launched as a result.

The second episode of the three-part Channel 4 show was aired on Wednesday night showing Hartlepool residents turning to crime as they struggle on the new benefit system Universal Credit.

Startling scenes show how some residents in the town have resorted to selling stolen goods, searching for scrap metal and shoplifting as an attempt to survive.

One of the characters is shown to searching the streets for items he can sell and even resorting to breaking into boarded up houses to steal metal to sell to scrap dealers in a bid to feed himself and his partner.

Meanwhile another resident who has his benefits sanctioned so he and his partner have just £6 to live off for a month, is seen putting on a mask and going out to rob drug dealers in the town with a knife in a bid to bring in money.

Another scene shows a shopkeeper telling producers that they are robbed up to 30 times a week by people who have been hit hard by the new benefit system.

Following the episode Cleveland Police have said they will assess the footage as to whether it will help them with any live investigations or whether new investigations will be launched as a result.

Assistant Chief Constable Jason Harwin said: "Like viewers across the country we saw the episode broadcast last night for the first time and are concerned about the criminal activity being shown.

"We will assess the footage as to whether it will help us with any live investigations or whether new investigations will be launched as a result.

"Our local neighbourhood teams care passionately about Hartlepool and making communities safer for local people.

"They do all they can to reduce crime and bring people to justice."

Meanwhile Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has hit out after the latest episode of the show saying that 'it doesn't do genuine people justice' in terms of how people on the benefit system are portrayed in the town.

Producers say the show aims to portray how the new benefit system Universal Credit has impacted on people's lives.

Universal Credit, which is aimed at getting people on benefits back to work, replaces six other benefits with a single monthly payment for people out of work or on a low income.
Video credit: Channel 4