Target carpet cleaner in court
A tradesman allegedly caught in a Target TV show sting committing an indecent act at a customer's house has been granted interim name suppression to protect his wife and child.
The man appeared in the Manukau District Court charged with burglary and wilfully accessing a computer and was remanded on bail to reappear in court next month.
In an episode aired last night, TV3 consumer show Target employed a carpet cleaning firm to clean a filthy lounge floor and a red wine stain in the master bedroom as part of its weekly hidden camera trial.
The footage, filmed on May 4, showed the cleaner going through the homeowner's chest of drawers then examining her laundry basket where he sniffs several items of clothing.
The man is then seen collecting a perfume bottle which he takes to the master bedroom and sprays on a pair of underwear. He then turns on the household computer and views pornography while masturbating into the underwear.
The man later deletes the internet browsing history and returns the underwear to the laundry basket, before completing the carpet job and leaving.
Target did not name the company involved. The cleaner has been fired.
Target producer Simon Roy said a technician was watching the incident as it happened.
"He contacted me straight away. As soon as [the tradesman] started going into the laundry basket early on that's when we started getting texts."
Roy said a decision was made in conjunction with the owner of production company Top Shelf and its lawyers to notify police the Monday after the incident happened.
"They came to our offices pretty quickly and watched the raw footage and collected some evidence at the house, the underwear and the computer he was logged on to."
He says the job had been filmed on a Friday afternoon and they assumed the tradesman would not be working over the weekend.
Roy said the South Auckland house where filming takes place is not owned by the actress posing as a customer in the show.
"There's an aspect there of it being a personal thing, which is upsetting for her, particularly the way he found her perfume and sprayed her underwear with it.
"That to us was another indication it might be unsafe for him to be in public."
He said there was no question whether they would broadcast the footage and have received a divided response from the public.
"We've got two sets of opinions. One is that what we showed was too extreme. I would argue you see much more unpleasant things at six o'clock on the news.
"Then we've also had people congratulating us on catching the person."
Roy, who has produced Target since 2006, said the house would no longer be used for the show and all hidden cameras have been removed from it.
He said it was the first time a show had resulted in court action under his watch, but a cleaner in Hamilton was caught for similar behaviour in a show that screened in 2005.