Henley couple lose faith in police after witnessing crime
A COUPLE who witnessed a man breaking into their van – and could identify him – say they have lost faith in the police after being told there was not enough evidence to proceed with the case.
William and Betty Evans, from Henley-in-Arden, said they woke up in the early hours of the morning on Tuesday, 16th November, to discover that their van was being broken into right outside their home.
Betty told the Herald: “Just before 2am I heard a noise outside and came into the living room. I shined a torch through the window and could see somebody in the back of my husband’s van. I screamed out, the perpetrator turned around and I could see his face. That’s when I got very afraid.”
Betty, along with her husband and daughter, said they recognised the man, who was passing gardening equipment out of the van to accomplices.
William added: “Betty was on the phone all the time that they were inside the van, saying there was a crime in progress.
“From Stratford or Leamington [officers] should have got here within 10 minutes. The way the police drive, they would have caught them in the act. There’s only one way in and out of this road. Instead, they took well over 30 minutes to get here.”
The couple said that when the police did arrive, they left after five minutes having briefly taken some notes but no photographs of the van.
Warwickshire police, in a statement, said: “The incident has been investigated, the victim spoken to, CCTV checked, and house-to-house enquiries undertaken, but it has now been filed as there is insufficient evidence to proceed.”
Betty believes there was potential evidence for the police to gather.
“The evidence was right there and I saw it,” she said. “The proof is in the fact that the van’s been taken away to be repaired - they put two big holes in the door.
“I’m very disappointed. When we were trying to explain what happened, they really couldn’t wait to go. We took them round the van and they didn’t take any photos, fingerprints or a proper statement. They didn’t seem interested at all.”
William said: “I’m feeling very low and not trusting in the police, to be honest with you. They could have been caught, and justice would have been served.”
Betty added: “I asked [the police] if they were staying a bit longer, for our safety, as I felt very nervous, and they said they couldn’t be there 24/7. I said I didn’t want that, just that they stay a little longer in case the men came back. They didn’t do that, they just got in the car.
“I feel terrified all the time, having panic attacks. There’s no help at all.
“The streetlights go off at midnight and you don’t know who's going to come round. I'm very afraid and nothing's being done about it.”
On the force's response to this incident, Chief Inspector Steve Beard said: “Two patrol units were on the scene promptly following the report of this incident, well within the 20 minute target time for a rural location. They were joined shortly after by three more units.
“The officers remained on scene for almost an hour and a half carrying out a search of the area and carrying out house-to-house enquiries. They have subsequently checked CCTV from the area and carried out an ANPR search in an effort to identify an offending vehicle.
“The victims were offered ongoing support from Victim Support which was accepted.
“I am satisfied the response to the incident and subsequent investigation has been professional and proportionate.
“We are always disappointed when we hear someone is not satisfied with our response to an incident. To date we have not received a formal complaint. The victims were called by a patrol sergeant on 1 December and they raised no concerns around the action taken to date.
“If the victims have concerns around how his report was handled I would urge them to make contact with us via our formal complaints process and we would be happy to address these concerns directly with them in a more detailed way.”