Core blimey! Pensioner questioned by police for clearing apples from garden

WHEN Patricia Cook helped out a neighbour by watering her garden, she didn’t think anyone would pay heed to it. But the act actually caused several police officers to race round to the house in cars with flashing lights, before climbing over the fence and questioning her.

Mrs Cook, along with her daughter Louise, went round to her friend’s garden opposite her own house to water the plants and pick some apples. Her friend, Karen had asked her to look after the house while she was away on holiday.

But, according to the 67-year-old, two police cars with flashing lights raced to the scene in broad daylight after less than 10 minutes of the two women being there, with three of the officers even scaling the 7ft garden fence.

“I go to that house every week. My friend, Karen, went on holiday and asked if I would keep an eye on it - if I could water the plants. She said Louise could come round too, who she knows well,” Mrs Cook told The Comet.

“We’d been there about eight minutes. I had the watering can and Louise had picked about four apples, which we were told we could take, when this voice from the other side of the fence asked us what we were up to.

“I asked ‘what do you mean’. At this point, I wasn’t sure who it was. Next minute, these police officers were scaling the fence with taser guns, the lot.

“There were two cars parked skew whiff on the road with their lights flashing. I was mortified, so embarrassed.

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“If you break into someone’s house, you’re hardly going to go and pick up a few bruised apples from the garden. I showed them the letter Karen gave me. But they took all our details - name, date of birth, address. Why should I be on their records?”

Mrs Cook, who lives in Heathfield Road, Hitchin, has written a letter of complaint which she sent to Hertfordshire Police headquarters.

She said that, at the time of the incident, she received no apology.

“It was bit over the top to say the least. It’s such a waste of public money - the tax payers are paying for this,” she added.

“I didn’t get a sorry. One of the officers mentioned that a neighbour rang up, he said they were just doing a good job.

“I’ve lived here for more than 40 years. All it would have taken was someone to ask what I was doing.

“My daughter tried ringing my neighbour, but she was in Inverness, she had no signal. When she did find out, her very first reaction was ‘how’s your mum’? I was upset that night. I’ve never broken the law.”

A spokesperson for Herts Police said: “We understand that a complaint is pending and once this has been received we will look into the circumstances of the incident.

“However until this has been completed, we are unable to make further comment.”