So let me take you back to a very rainy miserable morning, 7 am early November 1968!!
I had just completed four intense months of boot camp like conditions at the Police Academy at the old RAF station, Dishforth, Yorkshire, England.
Graduation parade I shall never forget.....five minutes of precise close quarter drill without any commands........and then it was over I was now officially Police Constable 446 of West Bar division Sheffield City.
My parents were very proud of me even though I did not become the next Pele of the football world......
They rewarded me for my graduation a brand new Honda moped
and for my first day at work I drove it to the police box
In the Ecclesfield Road division at 7 am to sign on for my very first shift.
It was raining very hard and across from the police box was a row of houses with an alley in between and I decided to leave my moped in the alleyway out of the elements.
My first duty was traffic control which I managed to get through without causing any collisions.
I then decided to go back to the police box and go ask the owners of the house where I had left my moped if it was OK to park there.
It was still raining heavily and I was cold and a tad damp.....I walked down the alley and at the end the alley turns right or left to two separate houses.....and I turned right and the door to the house was ajar maybe 12 inches......I knocked on the door and a man around 40 years of age came to the door smiling and saying hello officer.....
I explained to him that it was my bike in the alley and was it alright to leave it there for the remainder of my shift.....
The man smiled again and said of course anytime you are working here and as is the custom in England he said do you want to come in for a cup of tea????
Now remember I was cold, wet and could have murdered a cuppa....BUT...I told him thanks but this was my very first shift and I did not want to get into trouble with my Sergeant on my first day........
This man smiled a lot and said he totally understood but anytime in the future I was welcome for tea......I thanked him and went about my morning.
As I was walking down the high street feeing very proud of myself saying hello to the kids and shoe owners and thinking I had finally made it in this big industrial city.
Around noon I returned to the Police box as that is where we had our lunch and wrote reports...
I was enjoying the first packed lunch my lovely Mum had made and found a “We are proud of you son” note in my biscuit box.....could it not get any better???
There was a loud knock on the door and with a mouth full of chocolate digestive biscuit I opened it to find a very upset older lady crying and sobbing and saying she had been robbed.
Oh my I though not even completed my first shift and here I was with a robbery on my hands I must admit I did think solve this and you are destined for the detective branch....
I tried to console her and asked where she lived and she told me across the street down the alley where my moped was.....I walked with her holding her hand and saying words of encouragement.
When we got to the end of the alley she turned right and we went into the house where I had spoken to the man a few hours ago.....she was a bit more settled and told me that she had left this morning for a church meeting and when she came home she found the door open a bit and her radio, gas money and jewelry were stolen.
My first question to her was your husband home this morning and she looked at me forlornly and said he passed away eight years ago she lived alone.
Oh my goodness...what had I done???????
Obviously the man who had opened the door to me and offered me tea was the robber.......what was I going to do I could not tell anyone but I had a perfect description of him but could not put that in my report......and then I thought what would have happened if I had accepted his offer of tea????
I was devastated remember I was a naive 19 year old kid......I reassured the lady that I would do my upmost to apprehend this nasty man....
Took all the details and when I left her she was a little calmer. I completed the burglary report and continued with the rest of my shift but the swagger in my step had gone and I questioned if I was cut out for this profession.
This story does have a happy ending..about a month later I was on a night shift reading the police magazine and I see a photo of a man who I recognized right away, the thief.....Ronald Henry Jarvis had been arrested the previous week and admitted to over thirty house robberies in the Ecclesfield area.......Justice prevailed!!
Stay safe and healthy!!