Dom Joly: Crime and punishment in the Cotswolds

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The Independent Online

These trifles aside, there are some things down here that really are changing. A couple of years ago I'd regularly write tales about the list that is posted outside our local post office by the police to inform us of crimes committed in the area in the previous month. We'd have such terrible stuff as "youth spotted loitering near allotment" or "three bunches of flowers stolen from roadside trust box". It would always make me batten down the hatches and set up elaborate booby traps to keep these waves of criminals away from my ill-gotten gains. Sadly, I can no longer joke about these things. We actually made the national news this week.

One evening, some no-gooders drove a digger into the cashpoint in Fairford. The idea was to smash into the surrounding brickwork, rip out the whole machine and then drive off triumphantly to spend their booty on strong cider and lottery tickets. Their cunning plan was sadly thwarted by a small brick arch that surrounds the cashpoint. The digger got jammed in it and the baddies had to make an embarrassed get-away, leaving the digger where it stood.

There is something so crap about this attempt that you almost wanted them to get away so that we could see what they'd think of next. Maybe they could train some chickens to look a bit poorly and then burst into the post office brandishing the poultry shouting: "Don't move! These chickens have bird flu - give us the money and nobody gets ill." If that didn't work then they could always scatter Joanna Trollope books around a village and, when everyone had fallen asleep reading them, they could burglarise the whole place.

Sadly, I think the plonkers did get caught as they had no other means of escape and were running away wearing stripy jumpers and holding bags with "swag" written on them.

This particular bank in Fairford seems to be a fairly unlucky place. This is the same bank where, one afternoon a couple of months ago, the scaffolding that had gone up around it suddenly collapsed into the high street, crushing several cars but, fortunately, no people. In hindsight, this might have been another cunning plan by the Keystone robbers. They probably pretended to be builders, erected scaffolding and were going to get into the bank by taking a break and then asking the cashier to "rustle them up a cuppa" - while she was at the kettle, they would strike. But sadly the scaffolding collapsed before the plan could be put into action, so they scarpered.

I think that they should forget all about banks and target Anne Robinson instead. They could find the "weakest link" in her electric fence, get past her "watchdog" and help themselves to racks and racks of Armani vampire cloaks. If she happened to come home during the break-in then all they would have to do is keep outside the 30-degree angle of forward vision that she is now restricted to, post surgery. Escape should be a doddle.

It really is all go down here, hot news every day. I don't know what's going to happen next. Kate Moss busted for cocaine? Now that would be ridiculous.