SAS hardman Billy Billingham spotted filming in Stockton after armed police drama and machete arrest

SAS hardman Billy Billingham filming for BBC series SAS: Catching the Criminals in Stockton
SAS hardman Billy Billingham filming for BBC series SAS: Catching the Criminals in Stockton -Credit:Terry Blackburn

An ex-SAS leader has been spotted filming on Teesside.

Billy Billingham is following Cleveland Police around on Friday filming for a new BBC show. The TV personality is travelling across the UK shadowing the forces using covert intelligence, surveillance and disruption to target anti-social crime.

Billy was pictured in Stockton following an armed police drama involving a man allegedly in possession of a machete. Residents told of a “massive struggle” before a 32-year-old man was taken to the floor and then put in the back of a police van on Kininvie Walk.

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The 58-year-old former bodyguard to the stars was captured on camera by Terry Blackburn exiting a police vehicle before presenting a piece to camera about the armed incident for the daytime show, SAS: Catching the Criminals.

A fleet of police cars and a police van were pictured at the scene and on adjoining Ketton Road. Images show the male, who is dressed in a grey jacket, struggling with three officers at the back of the police van. He was placed on the floor by officers before being arrested.

SAS hardman Billy Billingham filming for BBC series SAS: Catching the Criminals in Stockton
SAS hardman Billy Billingham filming for BBC series SAS: Catching the Criminals in Stockton -Credit:Terry Blackburn

One resident told of a “massive struggle” to get the male into the van. He also told how armed police “flew round the corner” onto the street. Cleveland Police has now confirmed that a 32-year-old has been arrested and due to be quizzed by officers.

Residents on the estate also told of windows being smashed on Ketton Road and a man “carrying a knife”. Another spoke of an assault, stating that a male attacked a council worker, who was cutting the grass, shortly before 9am.

“He jumps on the grass cutter trying to drive off on it,” he said. The resident told how the male allegedly assaulted another male leading to the arrival of Cleveland Police armed response.

SAS: Catching the Criminals promises to take audiences on an “immersive journey, and look at how police and enforcement teams are increasingly using military and SAS tactics to catch criminals”. The 15-part series, airing later this year, will focus on theft, fly tipping, and environmental crimes.

Each episode will feature a sting operation, planned and executed by the teams that Billy follows, with the star also speaking to victims and members of the public who helped to solve the case.

Billy posted on his Instagram page on Thursday: “Currently en route ‘Up North’ to continue filming for my new BBC series. Standby for more news on that!”

SAS hardman Billy Billingham
SAS hardman Billy Billingham -Credit:Terry Blackburn

A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: “With regards to Billy Billingham, he is here with Cleveland Police filming for a new BBC show. He’s only out with Cleveland Police today – he’s been up and down the country with other forces and law enforcement agencies.”

Speaking about the show, Billy said: “It’s incredible to see that police forces and enforcement teams are now adapting SAS techniques to catch criminals. It’s been great to shadow and help them develop techniques to put criminals behind bars.

"There is so much time that goes into these sting operations, and to see live results with a build up to the catching of these unscrupulous individuals will be a real thrill for audiences. I’m excited to be a part of this brilliant series.”

Rob Unsworth, head of BBC daytime and early peak commissioning, added: “SAS: Catching the Criminals will be a brilliant new addition to our schedule, with a dynamic, immersive premise that grabbed us right away. We know viewers will be as intrigued as we were to gain such an unprecedented insight into the techniques used by police forces and enforcement services across the UK as they bring wrongdoers to account.”

Produced by Double Act, the series will be made out of its new regional hub in Birmingham. The series will air on BBC One and iPlayer. later this year.