Arrested for refusing to return football

You couldn't make it up... this just seems completely bizarre...

Copyright 2006 Associated Newspapers Ltd.
All Rights Reserved

September 4, 2006 Monday



WHEN children kicked their football through his hedge for the umpteenth time, Alastair Wood decided enough was enough.

Not only could they not have their ball back, but he was determined to keep it until he received an apology.

To his astonishment, however, the 40-year-old father of two was then arrested on suspicion of theft.

Dressed in his pyjamas, he was handcuffed and bundled into the back of a police car in front of his wife and crying daughter.

'The whole incident is absolutely beyond belief ñ words can't describe how ridiculous it all is,' Mr Wood said yesterday.

'It's totally changed my attitude towards the police. I just don't have any confidence in them any more.' The construction manager and his wife Joanne, 37, moved into the street in Preston hoping for a pleasant neighbourhood in which to raise their children Liam, 16, and Ellie, six.

But he claims they have repeatedly had to put up with children kicking footballs into their garden.

When two brothers, aged 18 and nine, tried to scramble through the hedge to retrieve their ball, matters came to a head.

Mr Wood said the younger child started 'screaming and shouting' for the return of the football.

'I just thought if he can't ask for the ball back politely, then he's not going to get it back at all,' he said.

Mr Wood claims the boys' father, Stephen Burns ñ who works for the Crown Prosecution Service ñ came round to confront him, leaving him so worried that he rang the police.

Two days later a community support officer urged him to return the £1.99 ball, saying it could be treated as theft, but Mr Wood said he was waiting for an apology. The next day, a police officer arrested him on suspicion of theft. He was marched to a police car in front of his neighbours, while his daughter looked on in tears.

The situation then descended into farce as Mr Wood was driven to a church hall ñ still in his pyjamas ñ and told to thrash out matters with his local councillor.

Deciding things had gone far enough, he returned the ball to Mr Burns, receiving 'a sort of apology' in that he was told the children would play in a park in future.

Mr Burns said yesterday that he had had no contact with the police and did not know about the arrest.

But he added: 'If you don't return someone's property, I would have thought it was perfectly right under English law to be arrested for theft.'

Lancashire Police said they were called to deal with a dispute between neighbours.

A spokesman said: 'One man was arrested when he refused to return a football.'

Earlier this year Ray Markham, from Cubbington, Warwickshire, was arrested for theft after a football from the garden of his neighbour, police sergeant Stewart Bosworth, smashed into his greenhouse.

Mr Markham, 68, has complained to the force about his treatment.

Last night Mr Wood said he was considering a similar complaint.
He should sue the fuzz for false imprisonment. Taking a ball is one thing, not returning it is another. He is simply not obliged to. Leaving it on the lawn is not theft. The next time my car gets towed away, I shall call the polis and ask them to arrest the clamping company...I wonder how far I get
The definition of theft Section 1 theft act 1961: A person shall be guilty of theft, if he/she DISHONESTLY APPROPRIATES PROPERTY belonging to another with the INTENTION of permanently depriving them of it. He should have let the Police charge him Formally and insisted on going to court, The important word in the above statement is INTENTION. They would have to prove he had no intention of ever returning it. The Bobbie dealing with this went way over board and gives most Bobbies a bad name.
yes, and he didnt "appropriate" it either, it fell into his garden. I would have gone to court, and then after a not guilty verdict, taken them to the cleaners for false imprisonment. Tech them a lesson where it counts, in the pocket, PC doesnt get promotion, whatever, sends a message to his oppos about not being silly arrses.
Mr Burns (father of boy with ball) - who works for the CPS - says he did not notify the police. Presumably he notified his local council though as this chap was dragged before a councillor in the local church hall. How far were they all prepared to go? If the guy had binned the ball would they sue him for £1.99? These people all have way too much time on their hands.
One of the 'kids' retrieving the ball was 18. Kids seem to be getting older nowadays. Wasn't this 18 year old 'child' tresspassing in the first place? Invading privacy etc. Rather than pi$$ing about like an 18 year old big girls blouse in the street he should have been getting his hair cut to No.2 to ready him for his 2 years National Service. He'd be a man and not a boy by the time he turned 20.

And yes, the Police were a shambles..... again.
This was on the Jeremy Vine show.

Mr Burns declined to participate and the senior police officer put up to sort it was - altho making some points- floundering.

"Mr Wood was arrested. cuffed, driven round in a police car, after a conversation with the arresting officer and whilst still in the car was "de arrested" and driven to the church hall to meet a councillor"- all this as told by him on the radio.

Now this stinks.
What was the PC up to?
Was this a "putting the frighteners on" as a favour to a mate?
How did the PC know the councillor was at the church hall?

I don't envy the internal affairs department that has to sort this one out- and by featuring on national radio it won't go easily to bed.

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