Sunday 21 July 2019

Philip Boucher Hayes punked by CrimeCall crew as he foils fake mugging

Grainne Seoige and Philip Boucher Hayes present Crimecall each month on RTE One. Tuesday at 10.15pm
Grainne Seoige and Philip Boucher Hayes present Crimecall each month on RTE One. Tuesday at 10.15pm
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Philip Boucher Hayes is used to dealing with crime, albeit indirectly through the medium of CrimeCall on RTE every month.

However, whilst filming a package for the show, which he presents with Grainne Seoige, the broadcaster found himself in the middle of a real-life mugging - or so he thought.

Boucher Hayes saw a man pushing a woman and stealing her handbag before running away and he reacted immediately by pursuing the man and shouting, "Sunshine, put the bag down".

However, the presenter was set up by producers of CrimeCall who staged the event to test the gardai's new facial recognition technology.

Gardaí in the Garda Photographic Section have introduced a system for building facial composites by witnesses and victims of crime called ‘EvoFIT’. EvoFit replaces the CD fit technology traditionally used by the Gardaí and claims a 70% identification rate.

This ‘recognition’ type composite system does not require eyewitnesses to have good recall of an offender’s face, unlike the traditional ‘feature’ methods.

Boucher Hayes then spent 90 minutes providing gardai with information about the incident in an effort to test the system, and according to producers he "did quite well".

Speaking to Ryan Tubridy on 2FM this morning, the presenter joked about how the incident has affected him.

"I was punked really good and proper by the production team.  They asked me to come down to the front of the Gibson hotel early one morning last week to film a piece and I was wandering around and doing stuff on autopilot at 7.30am in the morning," he said.

"While I'm standing there being filmed looking at the sunrise or whatever, I saw this guy out of the corner of my eye reef a bag off a girl's shoulder and run off, fight or flight, I just legged i after him to grab the bag and you can see it on YouTube and you can have a laugh yourself because what I didn't see out of the other corner of my eye was the entire CrimeCall production team and two plain clothes guards all standing there with their arms folded. 

"The whole lot of them were in on it."

He continued to joke about how it had affected him, "I turned around and oh they were saying, 'You're so gallant.  You're such a hero!' It has beaten every last little bit of chivalry out of me.  From here on in if I see anyone in trouble I'll look around for the camera crew first and suss out the lay of the land and then I'll turn around and maybe think about helping."

Of the CrimeCall production team who set him up, he added, "They didn't think this through really.  It has only added to the humiliation offering me underpants to wear over my trousers and a little red cape."

He added, "#bastards #makeafooloutofmecositseasy #sucker".

The presenter had another encounter with crime - real crime - last September when he was mugged as he was covering the Scottish independence referendum in Edinburgh. 

He had his recording equipment stolen in Edinburgh and then had to pay st£200 (€254) from the thieves to recover it.

Philip was confronted by a man in the suburb of Niddrie who grabbed his recording equipment and then cheekily offered it back for £200.

The reporter promptly paid up. He later tweeted that he was "told I was 'lucky you're not English' or it would have cost me even more".

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