Heroes and Villians
Whilst Tottenham has been having its riots and looting, Walthamstow has been suffering its own crime wave. Yesterday I was interviewed by a Scene of the Crime Officer (SOCO) at the scene of a major incident. It was gripping stuff.
I was at home this Saturday morning when I had a call from our local police. "Mr Coidan, I understand you have reported a crime." I could hear the Helen Mirren 40 fags a day catch in the lady officer's voice as she breathed heavily into her walkie talkie. " Yes ma'am, sure as hell I was well and truly turned over and no mistake." Or something very much like that.
I went on to confirm that my shed at the allotment had been broken into - well not so much broken into, but the latch was off and the door wide open. They had trashed the place; at least 3 pencils had been moved and they'd made themselves a cup of GREEN Tea, using my expensive, if slightly cracked, glass tea pot and filter. They hadn't washed it up.
And they nicked my grass strimmer. I was besides myself. Although to be honest I hadn't noticed that it was missing until my neighbouring allotmenteer pointed it out to me. Luckily I'd strimmed the grass the day previous and anyway I should be able to pick up a good second hand one from that nice man in the pub who has lovely stuff at such reasonable prices: no questions asked. I think he brings them in from Estonia.
Anyway, the murderous, pillaging villeins had left a calling card. A yellow plastic torch. "Oh look" I exclaimed as I held it aloft,and very shortly after muttered "Oh fuck" having smeared my prints all over the potentially important piece of incriminating evidence.
After my in depth talk with the sexy police woman , she confirmed that a police officer would be contacting me to make an appointment to visit the crime scene. Shortly thereafter I had a call from the SOCO and we arranged that we would rendezvous at the gate of the allotments.At about 12:40 pm he phoned me from the allotment gate. I let him in and he strolled manfully towards my shed, commenting on the way on the size of the cucumbers, the colour of the squashes and explaining his difficulty in growing tomatoes in smallish garden which is north facing.
He surveyed the scene of the felony with a practised steely eye, taking in all the hidden clues that I had missed. "This is the torch they left behind" I helpfully explained. He grabbed it with two hands. "Unlikely to get any dabs off that - why don't you keep it." He said generously as he handed me the tell tale evidence. "Gee,thanks, " I said, and gleefully switched it on. "It doesn't work," I whined. "Na, that's why they left it here. They took your strimmer didn't they?" He queried. "Yes..." I said. "That's probably been offloaded in a pub to some poor sucker - won't get that back. Anything else missing?" "I don't think so officer. I haven't done a full inventory, but I'm 99% sure that's all they took." I thought it best not to mention the pencils and the GREEN Tea
" Right I better be off, got a double killing and headless body to look at next", and as we left my shed I directed him towards the allotment gate. "I'll think I'll go the circuitous route; have a look at the other plots". And so we ambled from plot to plot, me explaining that the strong whiff of dope was in fact the latest load of horse shit, he cautioning one of the plot holders, an old man in his 80's, for not being in full control of his petrol powered mower and likely to cause an accident.
I left him at the gate. Thanking him profusely for his time and effort. I said that I was sure that his presence, and dare I say, professionalism would gladden the hearts of all my fellow plot holders. They would sleep sound in their flower beds that night.
It made me realise how cynical I had become. Too readily had I been willing to believe the police were up to their necks in the phone hacking affair. I saw backhanders behind every headline. I had just witnessed our police in action and it made me proud.
Bugger, there goes another friggin' cop car with its siren blaring. Don't they know it half eleven on a Sunday evening and some of us have to go to work in the morning!