EACH week at the Examiner we receive a report from the police detailing (pretty much) every crime reported in the borough that week.
Aside from the usual vandalism and push bike thefts there are some crimes that tug your attention strings like a starving child yanking his parent’s arm in a bid to acquire a chocolate bar at the supermarket checkout.
I’m not talking about rape, murder, tax evasion or even the theft of a charity box.
I’m talking about crimes so pathetic and so insignificant you wonder why they were reported in the first place. Sometimes you also ponder why the guilty party bothered.
But of all the truly trifling crimes there has been none more trivial than... wait for it... the theft of a milk bottle in the Holme Valley. Was the milk bottle even full? Does anyone see the felony in progress? Does anyone care?
They do say that the majority of crimes are unreported so perhaps this was just one in a string of milk bottle thefts. Maybe the complainant was sick of explaining to his/her kids that they’d be having dry Shredded Wheat for the sixth breakfast that week. Or maybe the thief perpetrated the offence to offset a mutiny by his children, who too were growing less tolerant of Shredded Wheat without milk.
Even as someone who doesn’t like milk – as a child I really did eat milk-less Shredded Wheat – I can still appreciate that having your milk pinched is a pain in the throat.
As I’ve said in previous columns, I used to hang out with a bunch of dossers. But there was one dosser than out-dossed some pretty slack competition.
After a night spent smoking weed and playing Championship Manager on someone else’s computer, he’d sneak out at about 6am and pilfer a bottle of milk from his neighbour before settling down to another 12 hours’ sleep.
If he’s moved from Manchester to Holmfirth it could be him. I doubt it, however, because that would involve movement and he’s never been particularly good at it.
There must be millions of crimes which go unreported, simply because they aren’t worth reporting.
Seven years ago Merseyside Police was planning to set up what was dubbed a ‘trivial crime squad’. The ‘squad’ was responsible for ringing victims to tell them their crime would not be solved.
This crack team of telephone-based coppers was designed to free up time so officers could focus on more serious crimes.
Within the trivial crimes bracket fits what I will call ‘pyrrhic crimes’. Like a pyrrhic victory, the reward is greatly outweighed by the effort and consequences.
And nobody beats the twonk in Worthing, Sussex, who three years ago snatched a bag of canine faeces from an elderly dog walker. The bike-riding chump obviously thought the bag contained something of value, only to receive a stinking disappointment.
A spokesman for Sussex Police stated the obvious: “...Clearly the thief stole nothing of value.”
I suspect the suspect made a...ahem...clean getaway, although you could say justice was served, albeit in a twisted and malodorous manner.
So if you’re thinking of committing the crime of the century – the crummiest crime of the century, that is – beware. Someone may report it and you could be caught – if the trivial crime squad is having a day off.