Even more dumb criminals

A short piece from the BBC live news feed for Cumbria yesterday, which I’ll reproduce in full as it’s hard to link to.

“A burglar caught breaking into a caravan parked outside its owner’s home was apprehended after he became entangled in brambles as he tried to escape, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Steven Jordan, 43, of Borland Avenue in Carlisle, admitted burglary and was said to have a lengthy record.

Jeff Smith, mitigating, said Jordan had not set out to offend, but had been escaping an attack by people trying to recover a drugs debt when he broke into the caravan outside a house in Aglionby.

Judge Nicholas Barker jailed him for 14 months.”

I guess my only comment is, if you’re going to do a runner, maybe watch out for those prickly bramble bushes!

More dumb criminals…

1500…in Southampton, this time. This one involves a chap who was waving a sawn-off shotgun around in an underpass in the city, then dropped the gun, and a mobile phone, and took off his trainers and left those behind as well. When the police found him soon afterwards, wandering about with no shoes on, it didn’t take them long to add two and two and arrest him for firearms offences.

You can read about the story on the BBC website here. But the one thing it doesn’t explain is why he took off his trainers in the first place. Story writers, this is your starter for ten…

Return of the dumb criminals

bankvaultThis time it’s the turn of this pair of would-be robbers, who broke into what they thought was a bank vault. Trouble is, it turned out to be a fake vault used by a company who specialise in staging… fake bank robberies.

The robbers got away with £1,000 – a relatively small sum made even more worthless by the fact that they left an expensive camera behind. To add to their woes, they also left an empty drinks can daubed with their DNA… and they managed to get themselves filmed on CCTV, one wearing a mask on top of his head but with his face clearly visible.

Neither the police nor the company involved know whether the robbers ever ‘twigged’ that this was a set-up, or that they’d fallen for it. The joke is definitely on them… but there is a more serious question behind all the sniggering. The article describes the fake vault as a “panic room”. I don’t know how accurate that is, but if it’s true then it raises doubts about the security of panic rooms in general because the robbers seem to have broken into it with relative ease. Not a happy thought for anyone who’s installed one because they’re worried about their own safety…

Dumb criminals strike again

couch-sleepingMy faith in the underside of human nature was restored the other day by this daft little tale about a burglar high on drink and drugs, who broke into someone’s house and fell asleep on their sofa.

The home owner, not surprisingly, was a bit shocked when they got back and found him there.  When they confronted him, he was still so groggy he managed to give away his name and age… and seems to have been surprised when the home owner tracked him down on Facebook and tipped off the police.

Best of all is the judge’s comment that “You must rank very high in the scale of incompetency of burglars.” Clearly a man with a sense of humour – but not enough to let the dozy burglar off.  He got a 12 month suspended sentence, not to mention a whole lot of embarrassment!

Dumb… and dumber!

It looks like the BBC were listening to my plea for more weird stories.  Well, maybe not!  But weird stories have suddenly started appearing again, just in time for the festive season.

I use the word weird because neither of these stories is particularly ‘funny’, especially for the people concerned.  But I still found aspects of both fascinating, if only for the dumbness displayed!

First, a dumb criminal, who killed her own sister (with a cooking pot) and went to a lot of trouble to make it look like suicide, only to leave behind parts of the weapon still showing traces of her sister’s blood, and the knife she’d used, post-mortem, to cut her sister’s wrists.

And secondly, a case of alarming inattentiveness seemingly spreading to the police themselves.  When a local ‘Mr Big’ was found dead in his own back garden, Essex police said he’d died of natural causes.  In actual fact, he’d been shot six times.  The excuse the police gave for missing this startling fact was that the victim had previously had keyhole surgery to his chest.  I’m no expert but I’d still think six bullet holes looked pretty different from one small scar – and I’d certainly hope that if anyone ever put six bullets through me, the police might actually notice the fact…

Where have all the funny stories gone?

I used to love sharing the occasional nugget of silliness on this blog.  Those daft stories about dumb criminals, bizarre crimes, or the foibles of human nature, which I found scattered around on the internet and various newspapers, enjoyed reading, and wanted to pass on.

But it’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that, because those light-hearted stories have disappeared.  Nobody is running with them any more.  The BBC used to be a good source, as did local newspapers, social media, and specialist ‘funnies’ like the Huff Post.

Lately, though, the content of all those providers has changed, and become Far More Serious.  To the point where everything is dominated by politics, misery and war.  Fair enough, there are some terrible things happening around the world at the moment, and huge changes to come for both the UK and America, and those things should be reported on.  But bad things have always happened, and in the past there’s always been space for a little light relief.

I’m not sure who’s responsible.  Is it the providers choosing to pick only the weightiest news stories now?  Do they think running with humour at a time of international crisis would be seen as bad taste?  Or is it the news feeds who supply them who’ve stopped providing anything else?  I don’t know.  But as a longtime fan of the daft, the weird and the downright mad, I have one plea this Christmas:

Please can we have our funny stories back?

Head over heels…

…but not with love.  This chap got himself stuck in a window while trying to break into student accommodation at Nottingham University, and wasn’t discovered for five hours.  The two students who found him thought he was another undergraduate who’d got drunk or tried to get through the window for a lark.  But once the emergency services had finished extricating him, he was charged with attempted burglary and led firmly off to the nearest police station.  A case of ‘look before you leap’, perhaps?

More dumb criminals

This one was so drunk he managed to leave one of his socks at the scene of the crime.  Better still, he was so drunk he obviously didn’t realise that the tv he was stealing (from a show home on a new development) was actually fake.  The entire value of the stuff he nicked was £30, which is hardly going to buy another round of drinks at the local pub, let alone funding a life of luxury or whatever it was he was hoping for when he committed the crime.

The sock is slightly less bonkers than it sounds.  Apparently he took it off to wrap round his hand while breaking a window.  Leaving it behind wasn’t quite so clever, though…

UK’s dumbest criminals… again

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.


UK’s dumbest criminal #2

It’s time for another entry in my occasional series on dumb criminals – and this one takes some beating. According to this article in The Guardian, he chose another house in the same street he lives on to burgle. Then he forgot to check whether there was anyone at home. There was; the home-owner was in the property at the time and disturbed the burglar, who ran off empty handed. So empty handed, in fact, that he left behind the can of lager he’d been drinking from when he broke in… complete with his fingerprints and full DNA profile.

If I put that in a story, nobody would believe me!