After thirty eight years, I can finally go to my grave in peace!… Thirty eight years ago, I was a young Bobby in Warrington, Cheshire, having lost my police driving authority, after being involved in an accident, I was put on permanent cycle patrol in what was then a rough area of town. On this particular day, I was on night shift, which at that time was from 11pm to 7am, cycling in the area, when I heard what I thought was a woman screaming in the wood nearby.
We were not provided with locks for the police bicycles in those days, most of the time we would use our handcuffs, but on this occasion, I thought I might need them, so I left the bike leaning against a fence, and made my way into the wood, I never found a woman, and it was suggested that maybe it had been a mating fox, which it could well have been.
I returned to my bicycle, to find that it had gone, in the distance I saw the Police Area Van, disappearing, and felt relieved, as I assumed that it was a prank, but how ever much I insisted, I was told they were on another job in the area, albeit, nothing had come over the radio.
I had no option, but to put pen to paper and report the bike stolen. It was one of the old original bikes with no gears, hard to pedal uphill, but despite us having more modern bikes, this had been my favourite, and I was gutted to have had it stolen. Even more gutted when I was called before my Block Sergeant, who ripped a strip off me, and put me on footpatrol in the same area, and said I would stay there until it was found, or the offender identified.
I never did recover the bike, and there was no chance that I was going to, as you will discover. Eventually I was returned to patrol the Town, and then got my Driving permit back, and the incident was forgotten.
Over the years, this incident would come back to haunt me, only in as much, as I would for no reason remember the incident, and wonder what really happened, then less than an hour ago, all was revealed. The Sergeant who put me on footpatrol, who shall remain nameless, admitted in a group of retired Officers that I belong to, that he and a PC, had lifted my bike in the Van, and taken it to another Police Station, where I would never find it.
After all those years, the relief at knowing the end result, outweighed the wish to punch his lights out!