CRIMEWATCH helped shed new light on Swindon crimes.

The much-loved BBC show, which it was announced this week will be axed after 33 years, reconstructed unsolved crimes and hosted high-profile police appeals.

We look back on major crimes that shook Swindon – and sparked Crimewatch appeals.

  • The disappearance of Sally Ann John

The former sex worker disappeared from Swindon’s streets on September 8, 1995.

A postcard that was kept in a police store for more than 20 years sparked an appearance on Crimewatch.

For years, police believed that Sally Ann had posted the postcard from London – taking it as proof she was safe and well in the capital.

But detectives revealed on Crimewatch last year that the handwriting on the postcard was not Sally Ann’s.

Wiltshire Police offered a £25,000 reward for information leading to the discovery of her body – or the conviction of her mystery killer.

The case remains unsolved.

  • The killing of Paul Elliston

Faringdon man Paul Elliston was 26-years-old when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver along the A361 near the South Marston Industrial estate in July 2001.

Crimewatch carried an appeal for information in September of that year.

  • Conman Darryl Evans caught

Serial conman Darryl Evans swindled shops around Swindon out of £20,000. He used stolen credit cards to buy luxury watches, including a Rolex, from shops around Swindon, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

He was caught on CCTV, with his image broadcast in a Crimewatch appeal.

The conman was jailed at Swindon Crown Court in 2001.

  • Pub robber stopped

Manchester burglar John Ward was jailed by a Swindon Crown Court jury in March of this year after targeting three Wiltshire pubs.

But he was only stopped after members of the public recognised him from a Crimewatch CCTV appeal.

  • Skydive death cadet

Army cadet Stephen Hilder plunged 13,000 feet to his death in 2003 after his main and reserve parachute were sabotaged.

The Shrivenham-based skydiver’s death was described on Crimewatch as unique in British criminal history.

His death was not ruled a suicide, with Lincolnshire coroner Stewart Atkinson recording an open verdict.

  • Lechlade bomb couple

Ryan and Alison Chapman featured on Crimewatch in 2001, speaking about a string of threatening messages that culminated in a bomb being sent to their family home in Lechlade.

Following the appeal, detectives received 50 calls – although they said none had led to a breakthrough.

At the time, Gloucestershire Police said: “The response has been disappointing.”