February 24, 2024

RESPECTING OUR NEIGHBOURS

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TEACHING CHILDREN TO RESPECT NEIGHBOURS

A good friend of mine told me about returning from work last Wednesday, 6th September, to find two panes of glass in his conservatory roof had been broken and his plants and furniture were covered with shattered glass.

This was not the first time.  On the previous Sunday, he had returned home to find his tomato plants in the garden tipped over and the tomatoes stolen or squashed on the ground.  The glass in the conservatory door had a crack across it and his garden looked as though a tornado had  struck.

With no evidence to prove who the culprits were, he was forced to tidy the debris and hope for the best when leaving for work on Monday morning.

Wednesday evening, at the end of a hard day’s work, this second unprovoked attack on his property was the limit.  The shattered panes in the conservatory left him livid but impotent.  How could he leave home in the morning without fear that his home would be invaded and vandalised.   He had reached his breaking point.

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He was  99%  certain he knew the culprits.  Over the school summer holidays his neighbours children, together with their friends have been climbing over their own garden shed roof, onto his shed and garage roof, and probably down into his garden, which is otherwise enclosed by a fence.

Before taking any action, he phoned his brother for advice.  I admire his restraint!  The advice was:

  1. Don’t touch anything.
  2. Contact the police – GOV.UK

The forensic team had to attend an emergency before they could gather evidence from my friend’s garden but they did apologise and attend the following morning, gathering the stones and photographing the scenes of damage.

My friend is almost certainly the victim of a group of bored teenagers thinking they can do what they want because nobody will have the power to punish them.

The police officers, whilst not having much in the way of power, made a show of support with their marked cars and the presence of several officers.  They could not confront the neighbour as they had no evidence, but if those teenagers saw the forensic officers dressed in white overalls and vinyl gloves, they may be thinking twice before deliberately vandalizing anybody’s property again.

My friend has been looking into various options to keep his home and property secure while he is out at work.  Crime Prevention offered him leaflets and information to secure his property, but they had to admit he has already taken all basic precautions.  He is now investigating various Smart Home security systems which will allow him to keep his property under surveillance while he is at work.  This will mean installing cameras at strategic points, particularly where the neighbour’s children can climb onto their shed roof and from there access his garden.

He is a man, and very much a “gentleman”.  If it were me, I would be terrified and they would certainly have succeeded in scaring me out of my own home.

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