Yesterday evening I caught someone stealing materials from my builders yard which is beside my house. I confronted the guy, told him to drop the gear (some lead and copper scrap metal) and rang the police.
I followed the guy for 15 minuets through the streets we live on, listening in amazement to his ridiculous excuses for being on my property and telling him to stop where he was and explain it all to the police when they arrived.
Anyway, the cops never turned up and I had to let him go. A month previously exactly the same thing happened and it took the cops a full 24 hours to get round to my house!
On both occasions my first instinct was to give the guy a good hammering as Im sure many other people on this site would have done. Knowing the state of the law though and the likelihood of landing myself in serious trouble if I did so I decided to leave it up to the cops on both occasions, which didnt work.
In the UK today the law seems heavily biased on the side of the criminals and it isnt unusual to hear of a householder ending up in serious trouble for tackling a thief whilst the scum who invade your home and take your property get treated incredibly leniently.
In-fact they have no fear of the justice system and will actually laugh in your face when you tell them that the police are on their way. In the unlikely event they ever get sentenced they can expect a couple of hundred hours community service, a 50 pound fine or maybe if its their 10th offence a few weeks in the nick, which by all accounts is a pretty cushy deal anyway these days.
If, on the other hand, I had followed my first instincts and given the guy a damn good reason NEVER to come stealing from me again I could have landed myself in pretty hot water and ended up being sued by the thief and having to pay him lots of my hard earn cash.
The reason Im writing is to blow off some steam and find out what you guys would have done in my situation?
I think Ive got to the stage now where when it happens again (and it surely will as these people know where the yard is and that I cant possibly lock everything away securely) Im just going to have to take matters into my own hands… to hell with the consequences.
The other issue is that these guys are pretty nasty thugs, often desperate due to a smack addiction and as the copper who came to see me a day after the first break-in told me, almost certainly tooled up (i.e. carrying a knife or crowbar or both).
So next time I rush out of the house in the middle of the night in my pyjamas I might just happen to be holding my cricket bat… which again leaves me vulnerable to falling foul of the wrong side of the law myself, but what ya gonna do?
I dont fancy a confrontation with an armed desperado without any means of defending myself. In-fact, I went through the yard today trying to shift all the metal bars and other potential weapons that could be used against me, but its impossible, its a working builders yard.
Anyway, sorry for the long rant, would be interesting to hear how other T-Nationers would deal with the situation, especially other British posters who are exasperated with our justice system.