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This is a question Narrow Escapes

IHateSprouts tells us they once avoided getting caught up in an IRA bomb attack by missing a train. Tell us how you've dodged the Grim Reaper, or simply avoided a bit of trouble.

(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:31)
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In my more reckless youth...
....and in the days when abandoned cars were the scourge of most streets (early Ninties) we used to find cars with the '7 day' sticker on it - the council ones that they used to put on abandoned cars telling the owner that they had 7 days to move it or they would scrap it. Usually, it was a bluff and the car would stay there for months, before they eventually scrapped it.
...as was the case with a Ford Transit van that had been left in the local carpark in our village. Usually, the scrappy would give us between 10 and 20 quid depending on the state or size of the car. We figured we were doing the environment, the council and probably the owner a favour by getting rid of them, and pocketing a few quid in the process for our hard 'work'.
Anyway, we say this Transit with 'the sticker' on it, and figured that Mick from the scrappy would have to give us at least 30 quid for this, so we set about opening it up with a big bunch of keys that my dad had acquired over many years of owning a car sales dealership. The Transit was unlocked, as were most that were abandoned to be honest, and the first key went in the ignition and with a bit of 'jiggling' we were turning over the starter motor.
Sadly, it was diesel and we had no idea about glow-plugs or allowing them to warm up first etc... and so we figured that as it wouldn't start, this was the reason it was left there.
A mate of mine went and got his van, and we attached a tow-rope and began towing it to the scrapyard.
This particular chap had been living in his van for a few months over the summer - it was an old GPO Commer(sp?) van and had a push-up roof with a drop down hammock style bed.
He'd painted the inside himself ;-) There were strange words painted on the inside like "ACAB" and "Coke is it!" etc...
In the back of the van being towed was me and my friend Sean.
We'd got no further than about 100 yards when we looked out of the back window to see about 50 coppers - seriously about 50 of them.
I shouted, "Fuck, there's coppers everywhere...." to replies of "Yeah, of course there is; shut up.", then Sean and myself leaped from the van and ran - fast. A quick glance up the road showed about anothe 30 coppers all running in our direction - WTF was going on?
Unknown to us, the bloke who was towing the car had run in a different direction, and had in fact run to Sean's sister's house, where, in a fit of panic over the apparent over-reaction to an abandoned car being towed away, he phoned the police......and reported HIS van as stolen!
About an hour later, he walks back past where his van and the Transit are parked - coppers are all over it, taking prints, removing everything from both cars etc... and he walks straight up and says "So you're the bastards who have my van then?"
"Is this your van Sir?" asks one of the coppers,
"Yes, what are you doing with it?"
No answer, just cuffed and shoved in the back of a panda.
Meanwhile, Sean and I were sitting behind a large grass roller in the local park wondering what had caused the multitude of police to attend an old banger being towed to the scrappy.
Eventually, we figured it was safe to return to the village and started walking back. As we hit the road we saw yet more coppers, knocking on doors, driving around slowly as if looking for someone. Probably us.
We met another friend who was in the first van, he told us that he'd hidden in my dad's garage for some reason until the coppers went away, he also told us of a place where no-one would find us....a disused old smugglers tunnel in a friend of his' house. We went there, and hid in the tunnel, but not before first seeing more coppers driving up to the beach with dogs looking for, presumably, us.
The next day, after the police had found the bloke who was being towed, and having held the chap doing the towing, we found what had happened.
Apparently, around two months before the van had been used in an armed robbery in the next village along from ours, the robbers got away with around 70 quid. The Transit in which the robbers committed the robbery then swapped vehicles from in our local car park, with a years MOT on it was probably worth at the very least ten times that, and as such, the police were staking the van out from the local old people's flats in the hope that they would realise their folly and return for the van.
Of course, us twats walk calmly up to the thing, jump in and tow it away.
My mate who was driving was grilled for hours, 'accidently' walked into a cell door, had his van confiscated and had his parents house ripped to shreds in a 'routine' search, as did the bloke being towed (minus the accidental cell door walking routine).
Indeed, had we not hidden behind a large grass roller, I imagine we too would have had a night in the cells as suspected armed robbers.
So, in all, a narrow escape for most of us, if not the two that actually managed to get themselves caught!
(, Wed 25 Aug 2010, 20:43, Reply)

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