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Send for special branch: Police question pensioner over leaves on the drive next door

Daily Mail | May 14, 2007 
COLIN FERNANDEZ

When two policemen arrived in a patrol car at Patrick O'Sullivan's home, he suspected a major crime had been committed.

After all, the local force was so stretched it had taken two days for officers to reach the scene of a nearby burglary.

So the pensioner was taken aback to learn that the two constables at his door were investigating how leaves, supposedly from his garden, had found their way on to a next- door neighbour's driveway.

Happily the officers soon cracked the case, deciding the culprit was nothing more than a spring breeze.

But Mr O'Sullivan, 77, is angry at the time police wasted in responding to the call-out from neighbour Margaret Underwood, 90.

"I thought the visit was unusual because the police are always short of manpower," said the former Ford car factory worker.

"They said they had a bit of a problem, there are leaves blowing next door and I said there was nothing I could do about it.

"We live in a bungalow and depending which way the wind blows I might get the leaves sometimes and this lady might get them the other time.

"I don't even have any trees in my garden with leaves on.

"But for two policemen to come and investigate it I thought was very funny. Luckily I could see the funny side but only just."

Mrs Underwood, who has lived in the same street in Basildon, Essex, as Mr O'Sullivan for 20 years, said:

"I'm disabled and I can't clear it(the driveway) up. I'm fed up with it so I called the police so they could sort it out."

A couple living nearby, who did not want to be named, said of Mrs Underwood: "She calls the police and the council and they come running. They say they have to investigate complaints but it's ridiculous.

"We had a burglary up the road and they responded quicker to her call about leaves in the garden than they did to the woman who got burgled. You would think they have better things to do."

A spokesman for Essex police confirmed that officers had been sent to Mr O'Sullivan's house.

"We have to attend if somebody reports a crime," she added. "There would normally be two officers in a patrol car so they would go together."

Gusts of wind have led to a number of newspaper headlines recently.

Earlier this year, the Mail reported on the case of Arthur Bulmer whose garden in Fylde, near Blackpool, became carpeted with sand carried by the wind.

When he carted the sand back to the beach he was accused by his local council of fly-tipping.

And a shopper in Newbury, Berkshire, has taken legal action against Tesco after a blast of wind blew a trolley into his car, causing an estimated £500 worth of damage.

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