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Dog Collar Criminal - Party Scene

Running Time:
1 min

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About this film

Dog Collar Criminal is based on the true story of a Paignton vicar who, in the 1970s, started out on a crime spree, which ended up with him robbing a bank in Plymouth. He was aided and abetted by his trusty housekeeper.

Tom Austin won a £3,000 bursary to put history back on the big screen. He said: “I discovered the story about 18 months ago in the Bygones section of the Herald Express (local newspaper) and thought I had to make a film of this extraordinary story. Rev Stephen Care lived a double life, preaching to his flock on Sundays but carrying out a two-year crime spree on other days.

In his most audacious crime, he walked into a bank in Southway, Plymouth, in the summer of 1975 with a pretend bomb and threatened to blow everyone up unless they gave him ‘the money’. Disguised with a false moustache, the Rev Care opened the suitcase he was carrying and revealed a battery and wires connected to tubes wrapped in brown paper, with a red flashing light on top. The pretend bomb even made a ticking noise. Almost £2,000 was hurriedly handed over by terrified staff.

His accomplice that day was none other than his frail and deaf housekeeper from Paignton, 58-year-old Stella Bunting, who had been charmed into taking part in the Rev Care’s escapade. During the subsequent investigation, police dubbed them Biddy and Clyde.


Father Hart
Lee Boyle





Director of Photography

Joshua Gaunt

Sound Recordist


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