Even thieves need to keep up with the news

I was out on night patrol with Dave Jenkins again last night. We still haven’t seen any poachers. He did tell me a good story though. Modern poachers are usually low-grade urban criminals who will, if the chance arises, enter farmyards and steal anything they think they’ll be able sell back at home. They’re very likely to get away with it because no police force has the time to track a toolbox or five-gallon drum of diesel across the conurbations of northern England.

A couple of years ago a poacher from Leeds drove a pallet of fertiliser from a farm in the East Riding away on the back of a pick up. What he didn’t know was that a) there was a high state of alert because of terrorist activity at the time, and b) because fertiliser can be used to make explosives, any theft of it is reported at national level.

Twenty-fours after taking the fertiliser, said Dave, he was woken in the early hours of the morning by a large squad of armed police officers. The theft had prompted a national alert, said Dave. “He said he’d thought he’d sell bags to blokes with allotments to help their tomatoies.”