Skint Britain: Friends Without Benefits - this is what happened in the second episode of the Channel 4 show filmed in Hartlepool

Hartlepool resident Graham is forced to resort to shoplifting to survive. 'Image by Channel 4.
Hartlepool resident Graham is forced to resort to shoplifting to survive. 'Image by Channel 4.

In the second episode of Skint Britain: Friends Without Benefits stark scenes show the lengths some people on Universal Credit are going to in a bid survive.

The three-part series from Channel 4 returned to TV screens tonight showcasing a town rocked by the introduction of the Governments new benefit system.

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.

Hartlepool was one of the pilot areas for the roll-out of the new system and the new show aims to portray how the system has impacted on people's lives.

The second episode portrays the rise in crime in the town and follows people in the town on the Universal Credit system who say they have been left with no choice but to turn to crime so that they can feed themselves.

These are the standout moments from the second episode:

Darren says he has to resort to robbing drug dealers with a knife after his benefits were sanctioned.'Image by Channel 4.

Darren says he has to resort to robbing drug dealers with a knife after his benefits were sanctioned.'Image by Channel 4.

2 minutes in: Couple Graham and Jordan are left feeling desperate as they face a long wait before they will receive their Universal Credit payment.

6 minutes in: Graham, who has served time before, says he is trying to live by the law but the desperate financial situation they are in means that he has to do what he can so he and Jordan can eat.

Scenes show Graham searching the streets for things he can sell and even resorting to breaking into boarded up houses to steal metal to sell to scrap dealers.

7 minutes in: One shopkeeper says that they are robbed up to 30 times a week by people who have been hit hard by the new benefit system.

John Watson has set up a security services firm. 'Image by Channel 4.

John Watson has set up a security services firm. 'Image by Channel 4.

14 minutes in: Meanwhile couple Darren and Donna are on the brink after being told they must live off just £6 between them for a month after being sanctioned for failing to comply with the job search requirements.

But unable to live off 10p a day, Darren puts on a mask and goes out to rob drug dealers in the town with a knife in a bid to bring in money.

Asked why they have been sanctioned Darren says they 'don't understand the rules.'

But their increasing targeting of drug dealers brings trouble to their door and Darren is left fearing for his life after receiving threats from those he has robbed.

He said: "I'll do what it takes to make sure we have food in our bellies and we keep warm.

"I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel but it shouldn't be like this and it was never like this without the Universal Credit.

"This is the lowest we've ever been."

16 minutes in: The reported increase in crime leads to one Redcar resident John Watson getting into the private security business , setting up firm JWS Security LTD.

He is seen offering his services to residents in more affluent areas of Hartlepool.

Although he makes clear he does not agree with people stealing, he takes the time to speak to those struggling on the benefit system saying that he sympathises with their plight.

27 minutes in: Residents in Hartlepool are also fed up with being the victims of crime and attend a meeting to speak to police.

But they are left disappointed when told that police are limited with resources.

33 minutes in: With weeks to go until the benefit money comes in and an increasing lack of scrap metal in the town, Graham says he is left with no choice but to shoplift for food.

Sad scenes show Graham escorted away by police after he is caught in Sainsbury's, but after being released on bail and still desperate to feed himself and his partner, it's not long before he is back to stealing from shops once more.

41 minutes in: A faint glimmer of hope is offered by way of promising young drummer Tamsyn who lands a gig at Flamingo Land's Party in the Park with Hartlepool duo LIV'n'G.

Thrilled with the success of the gig Tamsyn explains how she dreams of a brighter future and hopes her drumming will help her to escape the town and the poverty trap.

48 minutes in: Producers say that crime has increased by 12% since Universal Credit was introduced but after contacting the Government a statement which appears on screen reads that the Government says there is no evidence to link Universal Credit with a rise in crime.