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£8 for a full house.

Muriel Smith is in her 80’s. She has left her house on the Britannia Estate to go to the Pheonix Club because tonight is bingo night and the chance to meet other older people and the younger ones who volunteer to help them socialise and forget about some of their problems.

Tonight they have a chance to get £2 for a line or possibly £8 for a full house.

She has a family, but they live elsewhere in the country. Her husband died a number of years ago. Apart from some friendly neighbours and her two times weekly friends at the Pheonix Club, she is alone.

Somehow the telephone is not the same. She will have the opportunity to have a bit of a yarn about stuff and put a few things right, in a way that they do when they meet.

The Pheonix Club is a forbidding place. Within the graffiti splashed exterior one can lose oneself when inside as you look out through the mesh covered or barred windows and forget that anything horrible exists outside. There is nothing of value left inside. Even the cups and saucers are locked away in sturdy cupboards. They even bring in their own cakes and biscuits. Yet still the locals insist on burgling the place with a monotonous and persistence that could be what one might call a grounding in the fine art of entering as a trespasser with intent to steal. Yet there is nothing to steal, ever. The costs inflicted by the intruders cost the local authority a small fortune and there is always talk of closure. Presumably as someone else’s plan to turn in some income for the sale to boost the CV as well as the local authority coffers.

Muriel Smith enjoys the evening, doesn’t win a penny. But that’s not the point. She bids a hearty farewell to her friends and makes the short journey home. This is where her problems begin.

She opens the door, there is a sudden draught. This is odd. As she turns on the light she is confronted by most people worst nightmare. Perhaps she has come into the wrong house ? No, this is the door the key fitted, it must be hers ?

Absolutely nothing is in place. Absolutely nothing is where it was left. Then she can see nothing. She is simply unable to grasp what had happened. She begins to cry. As she moves about the house it is clear that she has had an unwelcome visitor. Room after room is the same. A bloody mess. Everything that should have been put away is now simply everywhere. Her life and all its worth contained in hundreds of black and white photgraphs strewn about with no concept of her achievements and her memories. Clothing, bedding, utensils and appliances dragged out from every cupboard, wardrobe and drawer and discarded with no thought for the consequences.

Then she sees that note. That note left by one of us.

Earlier a passer by had seen one of the Britannia’s finest lurking before disappearing around the back. We have had a bit of a run on dwelling breaks recently so as we were close, we got there quickly. I got there first.

I got pongo inside, bang to rights. He never saw me coming. He never saw my mate coming. He was in for a shock. We got him, his bag of booty from at least another four places. He was on bail for more of the same and never, and I mean never, have I smelt such a disgusting smell as when pongo has no trainers on. I am surprised that they don’t do some form of protest disintegration.

For both Muriel Smith and for pongo, this is where it begins.

This is where the great legal processes swing into action and the claims of the Government fade off into the ether. Pongo is innocent until proven and the wheels of justice, along with the collective protective efforts of the law come into place to protect the suspect. Mrs Smith………..well she just gets in the way and makes things a lot more complicated.

 Muriel Smith has her pension. She is worried about buying her food, paying for her heating and how she is going to afford to get a new window at the back. She is worried because she wants to tidy the place up and we have asked her not to. We have to give our SOCO a chance to get some further incriminating evidence whilst we get the chance. She is upset because she has been burgled. She is upset because she has visitors in her house and the place is a mess and somehow feels this shows us that she is an untidy person. There was nothing of any value to steal. The irreplaceable gold chain from her husband, the rings of an unimaginable sentimental value are still around her neck and on her fingers. Her money in the pot for shopping and in case she needs a few pounds for something unexpected is gone and the pot smashed on the floor.

 Pongo is incarcerated. Of course he has the full support of everyone in his bid for denial. He is the one with all the rights and protection. Pongo simply does not give a toss about anyone else. He cares little for himself. All that matters is his next fix and he cares not what he does to do this, the grief it causes and even sees himself as some form of victim, keenly supported by those who justify their positions in doing so.

Muriel Smith has nothing. She is worried because she has to deal with most of this alone. She will have friends and her family will visit. But she faces evenings and nights in a house, her house, where someone else has been. An unwelcome intruder. Her castle has been violated and her mind will play tricks and cause her untold misery and worry. Muriel Smith has to deal with her existence being in a house where she now feels vulnerable and alone.

Pongo has to deal with the wheels of the system trying to get him released on bail, again, because his freedom is paramount and although he is innocent until proven guilty, he has no burden of responsibility to carry for what he has done to Muriel Smith and all the others like her. There is something badly wrong with the system when the system gives more consideration to the offender than the victim. 

For one brief moment, when I was in the hallway of Muriel Smith’s house, I knew that suddenly the rules had changed and that pongo was suddenly in the position where responsibility for his actions had caught up with him. He could lie, cheat, steal and rob as much as he wanted to but then and there he was trying to deal with something he had not expected. 

He has only one regret, not that he was in someone’s house burglarising the place, but that he was caught.  I was there as a result of his actions and suddenly he was responsible in such a way that he never thought existed.

He still had the aftermath and the total protection of the legal processes but for the look of absolute horror on his face, in my torchlight as I took away his night vision in the darkness of Muriel Smith’s house………money can’t buy that feeling.

Pongo, me and my dog……………priceless.


21 Responses

  1. […] Read the full, wonderfully written, piece at at Which end bites? This entry was written by Daniel Fallenstein, posted on 24. June 2008 at 13:37, filed under Δf. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « So MX trouble in the world […]

  2. Nice post WEB, and entirely true about the lack of protection for victims of crime…

  3. What a cracking post!

    I take it he complied with your instructions?

    If so, what a shame! Wouldn’t help Muriel of course.

  4. Excellently written poist WEB and I just hope he gets his just desserts…..well done..x

  5. Well posted, WEB. Here’s thinking of all the other Mrs Smiths in their invaded privacy.

  6. Hi, enjoyed that post, really good!

    Stupid thing to say maybe, but would you be able to put a pic of your dog on your page too?

    I was pretty sure the dog on the banner at the top wasn’t yours, but i’m sure everyone would love to see your ‘partner in crime’ so to speak!

  7. Very well written but so sad and not much chance of it getting better any time soon.

  8. Another excellent post WEB. It is a pity that you couldn’t have just left Pongo to your mate to sort out big time.

  9. I hope your mate ate well that night…….it must be very very tempting to let him have a little nibble now and again

  10. Excellent post web.
    So well written.
    I feel so angry about these incidents it isn’t as if it will be just that one night Mrs. Smith will be frightened of, it will be for a long time.
    She will never forget that night when she walked in and was so frightened. He could have still been there and she could have been hurt.
    Thank god you got him first.
    Well done on both counts. Turning up when you did at her hose and writing this blog.
    It’s excellent.

  11. Beautifully written. Unfortunately Muriel has no rights, she is only a victim.

    I suspect your partner would have better taste than to rip the scrote’s throat out, pity.

  12. So to the point, I really really hope that that in that moment you caught him in your torchlight he decided to run and that you were able to deploy the land shark? Let’s face it they always remember meeting the land shark in full flow but do they ever remember their last court appearance?

  13. Food for thought:

    “Excessive mercy to the guilty is betrayal of the innocent.”

    I am so glad that I don’t live in England at the moment.

  14. Jo.
    I liked this so much I stuck it on my side bar.

  15. Brilliant. Really made me think more about our victims, and how much money is wasted on the suspects in the form of legal privillage. Give this money to the poor Mrs Smiths and help them feel safe.

  16. I did ten years in the service and read your piece which was sadly very accurate . I was always very pleased when Pongo didnt want to come quietly !!

    Funnily enough I know teach within a prison and you would be amazed at all of the miscarriages of justice !! Innocent all !!

  17. I’m glad there are people like you out there, that go in and get these dirt bags. At least she can find some amount of comfort in knowing you caught him. She won’t have to worry he’ll return. As for the fur coated razor blade, what a great partner to have on your side.

  18. I only wish you had been able to be there with your mate when my friend’s sister, now in her eighties, was burgled as she sat at her husband’s hospital bedside, the night he died….. sadly, you were not…… and she found the empty house herself when she got home. Bastards!

  19. And now we read in our papers that the academics want to stop Pongo going to prison and give him a nice community sentence so he can carry on burgling.

  20. Tupperware PC

    As my nan used to say (who was also called Muriel), “If you dont have anything useful to say, say nothing at (FECK, my wording) all.

  21. […] had the experience and the severe deterrent value of some community service, one of our regular drug using customers is out on the ground earning his living. From our perspective this means he is burgling people […]

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