Not from a news article this time, but from the BBC tv programme Caught Red Handed, which I, er, caught a fragment of yesterday. The programme itself is a little odd – less genuine reportage and more public broadcast service trumpeting the benefits of cctv. You get the feeling it’s been commissioned by the government to put a stop to all those pesky people voting against surveillance.
However, amongst all the ‘pat’ interviews with tame experts on how civilisation couldn’t possibly continue without the cameras, it seems to include an occasional gem. Yesterday’s was a bloke who’d been thrown out of a nightclub and came back later that night to try to torch the place. He arrived perched like a bump on a log on a child’s bicycle, and took a plastic bottle of accelerant out of his back pocket. He poured the contents through the letter box in the club’s front door. He then put the bottle back in his back pocket and bent forward to strike a match to set fire to the fuel.
And… inevitably… it went KABOOM. He was engulfed in a ball of flame. Only briefly, so it did him no permanent damage… but it did set light to the plastic bottle which was still in his back pocket.
The club’s owners called the emergency services who put the fire out before it could cause any major damage, and the police caught the arsonist soon after. When the owner commented on how quickly they’d apprehended him, they replied, “Well, it’s not every night you see someone going up — Street on a kid’s bicycle with his backside on fire.”
Never let it be said that the British police lack a sense of humour. I howled.