Ok, so it is stupid o clock in the morning, and I have just been ordered downstairs to make chocolate milk. I nearly trip over going into the kitchen, cos on the doormap is the local paper. I started to flick through, and laughed and laughed some more at all the weird stuff that actually happens in my small town................................
The reason why I find it sooooooooooo funny, is that, due to the fact that it is such a small town, nothing, and I really mean nothing, goes un-noticed. We are part of a community network, where if you do something, at least 2 hours later the whole town knows your business. So, I feel, as the saying goes, 'you shouldn't shit on your own doorstep', not here anyway, cos you'll definately get caught! The paper is always full of 'top news stories' that are actually along the lines of, "cat goes missing", "couple celebrate 70 years together" or "how the school system is failing our children". So, to my suprise, and delight, this weeks edition was full of juicy crime stories. Now, I thought that the full moon was a couple of weeks ago, cos we really do usually get an unusual speight of crimes around a full moon.
There is a little bit of history behind my mirth. I was born and brought up in this town, and aside from a slight break to another town a few years back, I have always kind of been in the thick of it. People that do not come from here think it is a rough place to live and bring up your kids, but I think its ok, as I don't know any dfferent.
Last week, my husbands cousin came over to London from New Jersey, on a business trip. He came to visit us on the weekend. I was really intrigued about his life in America, and was asking him, "do people really walk around with guns, and is it really a scary place to live?". He started telling me, that he lives in the Suburbs and it is great, there are nice clean parks for the kids, everyone is friendly and the crime rate is quite low. That is not what we see on the news, I thought. We then took him around our Town to show him around a little. Well, as I said earlier, the things you get used to........................
We went to the park, with the kids, something we do nearly everyday. We walk past one of ny neighbours walking her dog and all say "hello". Pretty normal. We go inside, and my 4 year old heads straight for the climbing frame, and my 2 year old wants to go on the swings. Pretty normal. I could see that our cousin was feeling a little uneasy, and asked him "are you ok?". He replied "Should you really be taking the kids somewhere like this?". A little shocked, I asked "whats wrong with it? the kids are enjoying themselves".........................................
The response I got, took me aback, as I think I must walk around with blinkers all the time. My shock wasn't what our cousin had noticed, but what I hadn't. I hadn't noticed all the old rubbers on the floor, the used hyperdermic needles, old bits of burnt foil, my neighbour we had said hello to, walking her staff was smoking a spliff, the kids at the park were effing and blindin and shouting abuse at people walking their dogs in the woods. I hadn't noticed, because all that is pretty normal to me. I feel safe and secure in my small town, and for the first time had realised that 'outsiders' don't feel safe or maybe even comfortable here.
Below, I have included my top 3 'News Stories' from this weeks paper. It's not the actual 'crimes' that are funny, it the way they are told, it cracks me up. The 'pidgeon' one is my favourite! I have not included the mug shots, as I am sure its not allowed! You can find more of these by clicking on the link to the paper.
'Gunman' driven to despair by pigeons
By Court Reporter
ARMED police were scrambled to the streets of Harlow after reports of a barefoot gunman roaming the streets at 5am in the morning.
However, when they arrived they found not a desperate criminal, but 51-year-old Peter Banash who had been driven out of his mind by the constant noise of cooing pigeons.
Now Banash, of Holly Field, Harlow, whose behaviour was branded “idiotic” by a Judge at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday, September 29) has had a 12 month community order imposed on him.
He has also been ordered to undergo an alcohol and mental health treatment after pleading guilty to possessing a prohibited imitation firearm on June 5 this year.
Imposing the orders, Judge David Turner told Banash: "Don't be foolish to have any weapons on you or in your home.
"Barefoot in the street near your home, you were frightening members of the public. You had already rang police yourself to say you were intending to do serious things."
Although the weapon was not "inherently dangerous," it was still prohibited and you were doing something very, very frightening."
However the judge said Banash had apologised and accepted he behaved in an inappropriate way.
He also said there was no evidence to suggest he presented any danger.
Having read psychiatric reports describing Banash's problems with anxiety and depressive disorder, Judge Turner warned him "not to use threats or violence" in future.
Banash’s counsel, Neil Fitzgibbon, said in mitigation that Banash had not slept for 72 hours and cooing pigeons had driven him to distraction.
Fresh appeal over triple stabbing
By Louise Sassoon
DETECTIVES have reissued an appeal for information over a triple stabbing which left a teenage girl fighting for her life.
The 16-year-old is still recovering in hospital after she and two 15-year-old girls were assaulted on Saturday, September 19.
The incident happened at about 10.30pm on steps leading down from Fourth Avenue, Harlow, to Sainsbury’s car park.
The victims, who all live in the area, were taken to hospital. The 15-year-olds were released after treatment while the 16-year-old remains in a serious, but stable condition.
Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Jamie Gingell, said: “We want to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time and saw what happened at the scene of the incident.”
Anyone who can help should contact DS Gingell at Harlow CID on 0300 333 4444.
Eight girls were arrested in connection with the incident. Seven have been released on police bail until January 25 pending further inquiries while one was released without charge.
Teenage terror hit with ASBO for year of harrassment
By Chris Moss
A TEENAGER from Harlow has been hit with an ASBO after embarking on a year-long campaign of hell-raising and harassment in their local community.
Rory Brytz (17, pictured right), of Tany’s Dell, was handed the anti-social behaviour order following a two-hour hearing at Harlow Magistrates’ Court today (Friday, September 25).
Magistrates came to their decision after hearing Brytz had “exposed the local residents to an extreme level of anti-social behaviour” over the past year.
Brytz, who celebrates his eighteenth birthday in two weeks time, is now forbidden from entering the area bordered by First Avenue, Mistley Road, Mowbray Road, Howard Way, Minchen Road and Mardyke Road – encompassing The Stow, Great Plumtree, Dovehouse Croft and Orchard Croft - for a period of two years.
He cannot interfere with, damage or attempt to damage any property without the express consent of the owners of that property, or incite or encourage any other person to do so.
He is also prohibited from using or encouraging others to use foul, abusive, insulting, threatening or intimidating language or behaviour in any public place within the Harlow district for the same period of time.
Speaking after the hearing, Sgt Lewis Basford, the area’s neighbourhood specialist officer, said Essex Police and Harlow Council had exhausted all possible police measures to resolve the issues and felt that an ASBO was the only way to deal with Brytz.
“Over the last 12 months we have used two dispersal orders around The Stow which have only relieved the issues for the community for a short period of time,” he said.
“Brytz was also subject to an Acceptable Behaviour Contract but the conditions were broken through his behaviour within the Stow.
He warned: “This application should be noted by the community that Essex Police and Harlow Community Safety Enforcement Team will not tolerate this disruption of the lives of our local residents and business retailers.
“Using Anti-Social Behaviour legislation Essex Police will move forward to combat any similar behaviour in Harlow.”