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Village Vigilantes in Car Chase Caught Carp Thieves Who Looted Their Pond

Published on: 8 Dec, 2020
Updated on: 8 Dec, 2020

Merebank Pond, Beare Green – Google Maps

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

Village vigilantes, frustrated by police failure to answer 101 calls, chased and caught a couple of carp thieves who had trawled their pond.

The fish, which can live up to 20 years, are fed by the children and very much loved in the Mole Valley village of Beare Green, south of Dorking.

Watchful residents spotted two men one dark evening take the carp out of Merebank Pond near the village hall, shove them into bags, get into a van and drive away.

They called 101 but when no one picked up, two villagers jumped into their cars and followed down the A24. One car got in front of the van and the other behind, forcing it to stop.

Caroline Salmon, Mole Valley district councillor for Beare Green, said: “They saw the fish were still alive and encouraged the miscreants to take them back.

“Vigilante action shouldn’t be encouraged, and shouldn’t be needed. It should be possible to get a police response. I don’t encourage it, but on this occasion it worked.

“The fish are very much loved in this village community, you can even tell them apart.”A Surrey Police spokesperson said the theft was reported the following day.

She said: “The caller said there had been a report of the two men fishing in the same pond the week before, using the same vehicle.”

But since it happened, the fish have again been stolen and the pond now lies empty.

The first theft in October was revealed after statistics were published on police average call waiting-times. The average waiting time then for answering 101 was below their three-minute target.

There were delays in the 101 service in the summer as contact centre and control room staff had to begin working from multiple locations to socially distance.

The average waiting time rose to 3mins 51 secs in August, with a third of calls going unanswered, compared with a 1min 24secs wait and just under a fifth of unanswered calls in March. Last month, police said wait times were almost back to March levels.

When reporting crimes, 101 is the number to ring and 999 should be used only when there is danger to life or the crime is or is likely to be, serious and in progress and an offender has been disturbed at the scene.

See also: Summer Surge in Unanswered 101 Police Calls Blamed on Pandemic

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test One Response to Village Vigilantes in Car Chase Caught Carp Thieves Who Looted Their Pond

  1. Alan Cooper Reply

    December 8, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    Theresa May in her seven years as Home Secretary managed to decimate the Police Force of this country. A feat never achieved before by a Home Secretary.

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