Mallorca Bulletin



AFRAIL 69-year-old pensioner was handed a two year sentence this week for attempting to hold up three different banks in the East Sussex area. He brazenly walked up to the counter of each and demanded cash in £10 and £20 notes, assuring the cashiers that no one would get hurt if they met his demand. Naturally, the staff, safely behind perspex screens, ignored his order and instead called the police via panic buttons.

The man was finally arrested and having committed other petty local thefts, was given a custodial sentence. This, for many on the street, is a dream ticket. To have a twoyear reprieve from a miserable existence living on the street or in utter poverty in exchange for a warm cell, guaranteed daily grub, TV, library and gym, must seem like hitting the jackpot. Of course, the downside is that you’d be mixing with some pretty bad asses in the clink but the hassle of finding the daily bread and lodging is over.

I’m sure the wily pensioner who offered fake threats to these local banks had come up with the ingenious plan just to ensure that he’d finally be nicked and have a little reprieve from having to eke out his existence on the cold streets of Sussex.

On one of my frequent trips to Sri Lanka some years ago where I carried out charity work, I came across a sad little boy whose fisherman father had murdered his wife, the child’s mother. When I expressed shock, the nun who was caring for him told me that getting a murder sentence for a poor fisherman meant guaranteed board and lodging and a roof over the head.

What kind of a sad world do we live in when committing a serious crime and being locked up offers some the chance of a better life than liberty?

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