British documentary maker offers a helping hand to Romanian kids who stole his film equipment. ‘Every child deserves a chance’

British documentary maker Charlie Ottley has turned the theft of his film equipment into a story with a potentially happy ending.

When the British presenter was robbed of his film equipment while filming a promotion for the southwestern city of Timisoara late Sunday, it was headline news for several days in Romania.

Mr Ottley’s Wild Carpathia documentary series celebrating the beauty and wildness of Romania’s untamed Carpathians has made him a household name in Romania, and the media covered all the details of the theft and the aftermath.


Police quickly found the culprits—three children aged 10-14— and returned the equipment to the British journalist and his crew.

„The police were incredible; we’ve received thousands of messages of support” Mr. Ottley told Four people even offered to buy him a new drone.

But the story didn’t end there.

On Wednesday, Mr Ottley said he wanted to help the children and offer them a chance „to break the cycle of crime.

The children will be invited on to his film set and given a chance to use a camera, while the presenter and local authorities are trying to find a job for their mother, whose husband is in jail.


At a press conference with county council chairman Alin Nica in Timisoara, he said:

„We are not victims here, the real victims are the children. They should have been in bed asleep and getting ready to go to school the next day,” he said in comments available in Romanian, translated into English by

“Parents and society let them down,” he said. “Whether they are Roma or Romanian, (these kids)  deserve a chance to go to school while their parents need to be rehabilitated so their children can have opportunites; otherwise this cycle of crime will continue.”

Film set

The children will be invited to visit the film set of Flavours of Romania and taught how to use a camera “in the hope we will encourage and inspire them not to repeat their parents’ mistakes.”

„Many say that they are Roma, but they are children and every child deserves to have  opportunities and a purpose in life,” he went on.

„Social reform needs to start on the ground floor; I call on everyone who sees these images to pass this message on: if you see a family that needs help, try to help them, find funds to take these children off the streets, send them to school so they don’t repeat their parents’ mistakes.”


„I think this could be a positive thing if we join forces. Children are the greatest treasure, the future of this country. Let’s make sure everyone has an equal chance of moving forward in life,” he added.

„We are in a position of huge privilege and we want to do what we can for this family bit there are thousands of families out there… I urge people to help other families who have to resort to crime to survive,” he told

The British documentary maker lives in a house high in the Romanian mountains, and regularly posts about his life there.

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