The misery of low-level crime

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

This is the story of Sharon, Stan, Stephen and Charlie. It’s the story of four ordinary Peterborough folk.

But a warning before you read on it’s quite depressing.

The quartet are all allotment holders in Malborne Way, Orton Malborne. Last week the PT reported how thieves had struck at their allotments nine times in 11 days - yes that’s right nine times in 11 days.

Lawn mowers, a tiller and a chainsaw were among the items grabbed by the thieves.

I’m sure their story surprises no-one – a shrug of sympathy here, a raised eyebrow of exasperation there –but this is typical of the low level crime that blights too many lives in this city.

The police, to give them their due, have throughlyinvestigated the thefts even sending in forensic experts (wouldn’t it make a great CSI episode?) but site rep Charlie is not confident arrests will follow. He said resignedly: “These people can get away with it and they do.’’

He’s right and that’s the depressing part.

Equally, depressing was a call I took from a resident complaining about a man who has been living in a van near her home for months.

She and her neighbours were clearly at their wit’s end particularly as they said the man was using a children’s play area as his toilet.

The police had been called but without evidence of a crime have been unable to do anything but encourage the man to move on.

Anti-social behaviour and low-level crime has a huge detrimental impact on too many people. Often there is little that can be done except to grin and bear it. But sometimes there are small things that can make a difference.

So if somebody offers you a good deal on a lawn mower, you know what to do... for Sharon, Stan, Stephen and Charlie.

Up the junction

Train operators carry a huge responsibility not least in ensuring that passengers get to and from their loved ones safe and sound.

The incident which happened at the Fletton junction on the East Coast mainline involving a Virgin Trains East Coast will have come as a shock to many commuters. Four people were hurt when a train sped through the junction at twice the speed limit.

An official report has warned the consequences could have been much more serious with the possibility of a derailment or the train overturning.

The train driver’s performance was affected by “family-related distraction and fatigue’’, says the report.

It is then entirely appropriate for the public to know what action, if any, has been taken against the driver. Was he disciplined? Given help and advice? Retrained? Awarded employee of the month?

Virgin Trains refused to comment on the driver. It says safety is its top priority. But where does openness come on its list of priorities?

Calorie counter

I have it on good authority that anybody who works for the NHS in Peterborough can claim 20 per cent off their bill at the new Krispy Kreme store in Hampton (what was that about the ticking timebomb of obesity?).

Next time we get one of those patronising messages about whether we should go to A&E or a GP perhaps they should also suggest that staff go to the gym instead of the doughnut shop.

Dave’s list

I had to chuckle when an unnamed “senior Tory’’ claimed David Cameron was bringing the honours system into disrepute after his so-called resignation list was leaked.

As most honours seem to be handed out for “services to milking the British public and doing very nicely out of it for myself’’ I’m staggered he or she doesn’t think the good ship Disrepute sailed a long time ago.

Any way, what’s wrong with a gong for SamCam’s stylist?

Diary Of A Bad Dad

The trouble with man flu is that it can hit at anytime even in a mini-heatwave.

I’ve been struggling with a chest infection that saw me retire to my bed at the weekend. Fortunately, I was in the bosom of my family.

Just as Toddlernator the Terrible is a mummy’s boy so Preschooler T is a daddy’s girl so it was no surprise that when I bravely made an appearance downstairs she had made me a Get Well Soon card.

I should have smelled a large mummy-sized rat when Mrs T grinned: “It’s all her own work, she chose the words and wrote them, I just helped when she got stuck.’’

Proudly Preschooler T handed me the card featuring a picture of me with a very red face and the words.

“I love you daddy even when you are mean to me I still love you’.’

I almost choked on my lozenge. “Even when I’m mean to you!’’ I said incredulously.

Now, even though I’m the reigning ‘parent of the year’ in our house – I have a suspicion Mrs T was being sarcastic when she bestowed the title on me – I know I have my faults.

However, being mean to my little princess is not one of them.

“Right,’’ I huffed, “that’s the last time I’m peeling a grape for you.’’