Neigh­bours’ hu­man shield nets bur­glars

Res­i­dents come out in force to stop cor­nered thieves from es­cap­ing

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­

NEIGH­BOURS in Ruis­lip showed strength in num­bers when they stepped out of their homes to pre­vent thieves from es­cap­ing.

Res­i­dents of Walling­ton Close, a cul-de-sac near Ruis­lip Com­mon, were fu­ri­ous to find their cars and back gar­dens had been bro­ken into last Wed­nes­day.

The fol­low­ing night (Thurs­day Oc­to­ber 22), they dis­cov­ered two men with their hoods up act­ing sus­pi­ciously and re­alised the crim­i­nals had re­turned.

Res­i­dents say the pair were seen help­ing them­selves to car bat­ter­ies stored in a me­ter cup­board out­side a neigh­bour’s home, so they formed a hu­man shield to keep them there un­til the po­lice ar­rived.

Stu­art Mal­ton, 44, re­turned home from his job at Heathrow Air­port to find the in­ci­dent un­fold­ing at 10.30pm.

He said: “I was flagged down by a lo­cal res­i­dent who told me that the thieves had come back.

“By this time more peo­ple came out of their houses to see what was go­ing on.

“I parked my car and walked round to where the res­i­dents had blocked off the al­ley­way to the thieves es­cape route to their car.”

An­other neigh­bour, who had be­come sus­pi­cious when she saw the men load­ing up, used her car to block them in and called 999.

Mr Mal­ton added: “It was bril­liant – there were older cit­i­zens there as well in their dress­ing gowns and py­ja­mas and they were all telling th­ese men what they thought of them and what it’s like to be a vic­tim of crime.

“It was great the way ev­ery­one came to­gether and stuck to­gether.

“The crooks didn’t know what to do, I think they were just wish­ing for the po­lice to hurry up.”

The sus­pects were de­tained for 20 min­utes un­til the po­lice ar­rived and took them away.

Mr Mal­ton said he was proud to see how Walling­ton Close had stood up to “lo­cal crime” and hoped other would-be thieves will be de­terred.

Keith How­ley, 37, of Ash­down Road, Uxbridge and Martin Jee, 38, of Ash­down Road, Uxbridge, ap­peared at Uxbridge Mag­is­trates’ Court on Satur­day Oc­to­ber 24 charged with one count of bur­glary.

Both pleaded guilty and How­ley was or­dered to carry out 100 hours of un­paid work over the next 12 months, while Jee was bailed ahead of pre­sen­tenc­ing re­ports.

The Met said they are con­tin­u­ing to in­ves­ti­gate bur­glar­ies and at­tempted bur­glar­ies in the area and have ap­pealed for any­one with in­for­ma­tion to con­tact Hilling­don CID via 101.

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