Skint Britain: Police vow to investigate latest episode of controversial documentary filmed in Hartlepool

Police have confirmed that they will be investigating the final episode of documentary Skint Britain: Friends Without Benefits which showed guns and knives on the streets of Hartlepool.

By Sophie Brownson
Thursday, 28 February, 2019, 16:14

The controversial Channel 4 documentary came to an end on Wednesday night showing how people in the town are being hit by Universal Credit.

The last episode of the three part series showed people on the benefit system using loan sharks as they struggle to cope - but repaying debts sees both those borrowing money and the loan sharks themselves resorting to violence.

Billy and Julie who run a letting agency in Hartlepool featured in the final episode. Image by Channel 4.

Scenes show people on the streets with knives and guns and now Cleveland Police have confirmed that they will be investigating the latest episode.

A spokeswoman for the force said: "Cleveland Police will be investigating the Skint Britain: Friends Without Benefits episode from Wednesday night."

After last week's episode Cleveland Police ACC 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.

Jayde appears on the documentary which follows her struggle to find a property after falling into debt. Image by Channel 4.

"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.

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

The news is likely to be welcomed by Harlepool MP Mike Hill who called for the police to launch an investigation after seeing the third episode.

He said: "There are some elements in the programme that do not reflect the true face of Hartlepool.

"I am concerned that Channel 4 chose to focus on crime in the town again.

"Particularly the use of weapons and particularly the showing of a gun.

"I think that needs to be urgently investigated by Cleveland Police because people will rightly be worried that weapons such as guns are on the streets of Hartlepool.

"But I firmly and strongly believe that is not the case."

*Video by Channel 4.