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Not one but two very strange thefts

Reporter Rob Shelley turns detective as he looks at the case of the missing RNLI lead and the small great train robbery. 

Rob Shelley turns special investigator in his latest blog

Sherlock Holmes would see a pattern emerging here: last Thursday, someone was desperate enough to try and steal some lead from a very public roof.

Not just any old roof: the roof that houses Holyhead’s inshore lifeboat.

On the face of it, it isn’t million pound heist territory: the sad equation is that maybe £20 of scrap lead might equal thousands of pounds of scaffolding, crawling boards and general disruption, not to mention the little matter of stealing from a life saving charity.

You can imagine the reaction we got on the waterfront when we asked people their opinion on what had happened: one small footnote – do not annoy sailors. They always win in arm wrestling contests. And they know how to tie very efficient knots.

And at the same time our cameras were focusing on Brian the coxswain’s slightly incredulous face – as we surveyed the damage and worried about the fate of humankind – about thirty miles to the South, down the Conwy Valley, Marion of the Conwy Valley Railway Museum was turning up to work to find out that they’d been detrained. Or deengined.

The Great Train robbery involved stealing things from a train: this theft involved stealing the trains themselves.

Looked at closely, they’re minature masterpieces – beautiful and perfect replicas of their fifty foot cousins – and some of the models cost very large amounts of money because they stop being toys and start being serious metallic bits of investment.

Sherlock Holmes (my version is always Jeremy Brett – no-one could snort with derision like Jeremy Brett – one of ITV’s finest series) would possibly have seized upon the fag end in the car park, and the curious incident of the spraycan in the night – because not only does it seem like these engines were stolen to order, the thieves knew exactly where to spray over the CCTV cameras too.

In fact, if you read about the Great Train Robbery, it wasn’t very great (for one thing, people got hurt – and there is no such thing as a loveable crook) – but this had an element of planning that seemed pretty impressive.

I’ve been lucky so far: I had a wallet stolen at college. And wanted to commit an act of extreme violence upon the person who did it – as the old adage goes, a conservative is a liberal who’s just been mugged.

One theft will cost a few thousand to repair: another, £30,000 to replace what’s been taken.

But it costs a lot more than that.

Because, as the credit card advert would say – peace of mind – priceless.

And that, with a theft, is the first thing that gets stolen, and the last thing that ever gets replaced.

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