SW19 Diary: A cautionary tale about playing doubles with Plod
Tuesday 23 June 2009
Daylight robbery is often used to describe food prices at the All England Club. Now an actual robbery on an audacious scale, related to the tennis here, is being investigated by the police.
The SW19 Diary can exclusively reveal that a lorry-load of tennis kit, made by Adidas for its many sponsored players to wear here during the championships, was nicked last Thursday.
The Independent understands the kits were pilfered from a truck that had been sent from Germany to London. The lorry was parked in an unconfirmed east London location overnight when, according to a source, "opportunist thieves" broke into it and stole the consignment. A source tells us that 390 boxes of shirts, shorts and other clothing were stolen.
The Diary has also been told that in a stroke of good fortune, a quantity of Adidas footwear, designed specially for grass courts, was on the lorry but was not stolen. The kit was quickly and easily replaced. "If the shoes had been pinched, we might really have had a problem," a source said.
The tale has an ironic twist because the gear was on its way to a central London hotel where Adidas executives are staying. That hotel is a stone's throw from Scotland Yard.
A spokesperson for Adidas said: "Adidas can confirm that boxes containing kit en route to the Wimbledon Championships were stolen last week. However, Adidas was able to replace all the items within 24 hours so none of the tennis players were affected. Adidas is working closely with the Metropolitan Police and, as this is an ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."
In a cautionary tale for diarists everywhere, we feel it right and proper to add another detail to this story. For a while yesterday, due to crossed wires somewhere in the police system, The Diary was, to use a well-known phrase "helping police with their inquiries".
This came about because rather than just rely solely on one gilt-edged and trustworthy source, we went the extra mile to verify details with Mr Plod, double-sourcing as all good sleuth hacks should do. A call was duly made to the Metropolitan Police.
Shortly afterwards, Inspector Knacker of Wimbledon police station phoned to say he believed we were in possession of information about the whereabouts of a consignment of stolen goods.
"Not us, guv," The Diary explained. "We just wanted the police to confirm they're looking into a robbery from a lorry."
A couple of sweaty hours later, after The Diary had fretted about being nicked for a heist we had no part in, Inspector Knacker called back to tell us we were off the hook and indeed our story was right after all.
Phew. Pass us a sweatband. An Adidas one will do.
Big screen blackout in Murray country
The Tennis Foundation describes itself as "Britain's foremost tennis charity, who work alongside organisations such as local authorities, LTA, AELTC, Sports England, UK Sport, Football Foundation, GLA, Youths Sport Trust."
It's a laudable organisation, of course, and one of its latest projects is helping to promote local tennis facilities up and down the country. Part of the promotion has involved the erection of 16 giant screens where fans can watch Wimbledon. The location list in full: Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Derby, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Rotherham, Swansea, Swindon and Waltham Forest.
Two questions in the year that Andy Murray is carrying British hopes. Where is Murray from? How many screens are in Scotland? Good work, fellas.
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