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   Inside Out - Yorkshire & Lincolnshire: Monday September 12, 2005

THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

woman using internet
Watch out - web scammers can infiltrate your surfing

Inside Out goes on the trail of the conmen who robbed a Scarborough couple of a lifetime of holidays. Weatherman Paul Hudson meets Yorkshire's stormchasers. And we join the last survivors of Huddersfield's fireworks industry at a major international display.

Beware - scammers online

Online auction sites like eBay are among the fastest growing businesses in the world - it can be great fun and you can pick up a real bargain.

But beware - there are scammers using the sites too, who want your money - for nothing.

Inside Out looks at how a couple from Scarborough were fleeced by a gang of internet scammers.

Retired security officer Graham Norris says, "We paid £5000 for a camper van that doesn't exist".

"I thought I was dealing on eBay and it was all safe. We weren't on eBay at all, and it was a con. It was so easy for them."

Graham's wife Pat adds, "It seemed to good to be true - and it was too good to be true. We just hope that no-one else falls for this scam".

Screen and keyboard
Be web aware - scammers are on the increase

Inside Out presenter Nicola Rees managed to get in touch with the same scammers online.

With the help of a former computer hacker, she tries some 'scam-baiting' - this is where you try and string computer scammer along to try and get information out of them, or simply to waste their time.

She says, "I set up a special email account so the scammer wouldn't know I was from the BBC and I pretended I wanted to buy the van".

Nicola explains, "He took the bait and we emailed each other for a couple of weeks.

"He said he was an Italian house builder called Robert and his story made sense.

"I understand how people are taken in - but if you know what you are looking for, you can spot these scammers."

Nicola added, "He did get a bit fed up with me though when I sent him an email saying he was a miserable, lying scammer and he was on the TV!"

Cybercrime

During the programme financial crime specialist Tony Hetherington warned of the rapid rise in the number of these types of crime.

He says, "It's almost impossible to catch these criminals. Cyberspace is a good place to be committing a crime at the moment because the chances of getting caught are almost nil.

"Police forces haven't the time or the expertise to deal with these scams."

Tony believes that this particular scam stems from Eastern Europe and that the Russian Mafia are behind it.

"They are well organised and very hi-tech. They know how to work the system and they target vulnerable people.

"They know that the chances are no-one is going to come after them."

Graham and Pat Norris are hoping that the programme will help warn other people before they are taken in by the scammers.

Storm chasers

BBC weatherman Paul Hudson has turned TV reporter to tell the amazing story of two Yorkshire stormchasers.

Paul teamed up with Sarah and Caroline Bain, post graduate students at Leeds University, who spend their weekends tracking thunder and lightning and capturing it on camera.

Inside Out reveals their amazing footage of the once-in-a-lifetime storm that devastated villages around Helmsley in June 2005.

It is thought to be the only film of the storm itself.

The film shows hailstones the size of 50p pieces pounding the area around the Chopgate, followed by torrential rain.

Flood
Stormchasers can get caught by fast changing weather

Seventy centimetres - a month's average rainfall - came down in an hour.

Sarah had to seek shelter moments after capturing these scenes when her car broke down and becks and streams overflowed.

She was led to safety by a villagers across a narrow bridge over floodwaters that reached 12 feet deep.

Hudson says, "It's remarkable to see the actual weather that led to such terrible damage. Although there was a lot of footage of the aftermath, to see pictures of hailstones that big is astonishing."

The Look North weatherman took Sarah and Caroline back to the town, where some of the worst flooding took place.

He later helped them chase the storm which brought chaos to this summer's Glastonbuiry

Inside Out also meets Sarah Norris and Caroline Bain, meteorology graduates, and Yorkshire's most fanatical stormchasers.

They're adrenaline junkies who go hunting extreme weather.

But in June this year, this storm almost proved too much for Sarah.

On the North York Moors, she and her camera came face to face with a once in a lifetime superstorm…

Thousands of people were running for their lives as the River Rye burst its banks and a wall of water thundered down into Helmsley.

Surrounded by rising floodwater, Sarah's car had broken down, its engine flooded.

Mike Birch is the man who could have saved her life - by leading her to safety in his home near Chopgate.

Note - safety first

Storm Chasing can be very dangerous if undertaken by inexperienced individuals.

Storm chasers should always have a safety plan and follow safety rules.

Firework champions?

Inside Out looks at one of the world's best pyrotechnic teams at work.

Fireworks
Up in smoke - will Huddersfield make a big bang?

Huddersfield's Kath Schofield and Graham Wilkinson are in Prague - they're setting up a huge display they hope will literally blow their international competition away, and put Yorkshire back on the firework map.

They are competing against pyrotechnic teams from all over the world.

Graham and Kath have shipped in 1½ tonnes of explosives. They've got two days to lay them out by hand - and it'll all go up in smoke in just 20 minutes.

But will they win best firework display?

 
See also ...

Inside Out: Yorkshire & Lincolnshire
Parrot trade
Carjacking

On the rest of Inside Out
Stormchasers
Weird weather

On bbc.co.uk
bbc.co.uk/weather

On the rest of the web
eBay
Cybercrime (US Dept of Justice)
UK Storm Chasing
Kirklees Council (Fireworks)

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

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