Soon-to-retire P.C. Albert World marked the end of his tenure as Stonking’s resident police force by regaling a Village Hall audience with his favourite memories of being the village’s bobby. It was an entertaining romp greatly enjoyed by the audience that nearly hit the double figure mark and who were so enthralled that they were not even distracted by the stentorian snores coming in stereo from recumbent village blacksmith Artemis Pyle’s upper and lower orifices as he slumbered in the back row.
Albert began with his tale of investigating a call from an elderly resident about a ‘huge black bird with a wingspan of at least two foot’ that had settled itself in his back garden. The caller had said that, whilst not aggressive, the bird was scary because of its size. The intrepid policeman had hopped on his bike and gone straight round to investigate. The bird was, in fact, an errant barbecue cover.
His most unusual story was of attending a house in Poachers Close after being called to a domestic disturbance. When he arrived, he was confronted by an agitated man who had destroyed the contents of his lounge “after being unable to play a pizza on his record player”. When the police constable had tried to reason with the man, he had retreated into a back room and returned with a five foot long iguana draped around his neck. “He then threatened to use the iguana’s tail and claws to slash my face. Fortunately I had previously undertaken a six-month exchange with the Victoria State Police in Australia, where I spent a fair amount of time amongst exotic reptiles.” The man was arrested and charged with intentional harassment, criminal damage and reptile abuse. When asked why he had tried to play a pizza on his record player, he responded, “I thought it was ‘Margarita Time’.”
But his favourite story was of a Beechers Croft resident who called him to report that a “suspicious package” had been left on his front porch by a “furtive-looking man in a disguise”. Albert went around to investigate and found a package clearly labelled with the Amazon logo. “I asked the man if he had ordered anything from the firm recently : he answered, “Why, yes, I did!”. I then informed the man that his order had arrived and, having ascertained that he was comfortable opening the box, I left the scene”.
We asked various villagers for their views on the erstwhile intrepid lawman :
Local JP Dudley Town-Centre : “They should discount our rates and replace him with a cardboard cut-out. He wouldn’t have known a lead if it had had a dog attached to it.”
Loretta Martin, woman about village : “He was always very good with domestic incidents. Many’s the time he helped to rescue my cat from a tree or kids’ footballs out of my neighbour’s shrubs. Yes; if it wasn’t my pussy he was attending to, it was my neighbour’s bush!”
Paul Ramone, window cleaner : “Long arm of the law ? More like short leg!”
Abel Batchelor, social benefits retiree : “Retiring? What; to bed, do you mean?”