How safe is a safe?
Occasionally, more so in the warmer months of the year than during the cold and wet months of Winter, I take a walk around my small market town, somewhat in the manner that I employed many years ago whilst serving there as a police officer. I like to observe the changes of the seasons – the onset of new growth of plant and animal life in the Spring followed by the demise of the summer days as they decline into Autumn – whilst at the same time noting what my fellow human beings have contributed to our daily existence all about us. Whilst the Borough Council’s coffers continue to take a hit with the amount of money it can now expend – or not – on its worthy causes, I am fully aware of the sad and deliberate depletion of our much-valued services such as the museums, libraries, sports facilities and other precious, but not apparently considered vital, places of education and entertainment. It is also a regrettable that some of these services which we once took for granted, no longer appear to exist or at least if discontinued, are severely diminished. I have more than once challenged the efforts of Environment Services with regards to their husbandry of the several waterways within the urban area – once so ably kept under control by Severn Trent – especially that of our very own River Eye which, as it meanders around the town on its short journey is generally in a much neglected state of silting and overgrowth: Goodness knows what the result might be if the inordinate levels of rainfall recently experienced in the north of the country were to visit us and breach the Brentingby ‘keep’, which in my opinion is not an impossible scenario.
Anyway, as we all struggle on and dream of a return to better days, I recently took a Sunday morning walk which led me across the Play Close and over the new Millennium Bridge which now straddles the old Leicester canal and conveniently links the Play Close with the Leicester Road Sports Ground – the bridge was a magnanimous and very generous bequest from local businessman John Southerington to the people of the town, but oh why couldn’t it have been a design befitting the 21st Century instead of a twee Victorian copy; what a wonderful brief for a budding young architect – but I digress, as it was just at this point on my journey that I spotted it, precariously perched on the side of the canal bank, a large metal container, roughly the size of a modern washing machine. But as I looked closer I noticed that there were several large cuts in the metal sides which gave the appearance of being inflicted by something akin to a large can-opener. My trained eyes told me almost in an instance that I was probably looking at an abandoned safe, incongruously perched on the steep grassy bank just above the water’s edge.
My first reaction was that this very large lump of old iron had been fished out of the canal as part of its clearance by waterway volunteers, but a passing dog-walker was able to assure me of the fact that the safe – which indeed is what it turned out to be and a very large one too – had only been dumped in the canal about a week since and that its present position, resting precariously on the sloping bank, was as far as they had been able to retrieve it to after several abortive attempts with the small Town Estate tractor. My inquisitive mind switched into overdrive; this enormous industrial safe was hardly the fruits of a local shed break-in or even of a small shop and its removal would have required at least three strong men to accomplish but here it now lay, apparently dumped from a vehicle on the small track at the side of the canal. So the safe had been stolen, taken to some place and forcibly torn open with heavy equipment and eventually disposed of in the Sports Ground – but how? and when? the Sports Ground closes at dusk each day and the area is gated and locked, so the event must have occurred in broad daylight.
My informant with the very large dog -seemingly a regular on this route – was to further inform me that a similar safe had been found just a week before and only a hundred yards further along the canal in very similar circumstances, but he was unable to tell me much more. As far as I can tell, local media has not appraised the public of any related thefts or burglaries in the area and notwithstanding the fact that I did tweet the Melton Times, I have neither heard nor read of anything since. Hey Ho, perhaps its none of my business that serious burglars are active within our streets!