March 17th

 

After lock up Getting arrested wasn’t easy for me.

On Sunday August 19th 2007, I placed Hess with Maria and drove myself to the shiny new Bridgewater Police Station.

‘I understand you’re looking for me,’ I told the rather rotund officer behind the counter, ‘about a dog.’

‘A dog?’

‘Yes. I’ve rescued a dog and apparently the police have been looking for me.’

I did speak with a police officer while I was on the run. He did his best to persuade me to come back, at one point suggesting,

‘Perhaps you could share the dog.’

I thought, ‘Bless you. You really don’t want to be doing this do you?’

             ‘I’ll just check the computer,’ PC Rotund said. ‘No, you’re not on the computer.’

I wasn’t sure if this meant that I didn’t exist or that I wasn’t on Britain’s Most Wanted list after all. I wanted it on the record

that I had gone to the police station so I insisted that he flag it on the computer. Then I went home and the next day I received

a message on my phone to call another officer. When I called the number an answer machine came on. I wasn’t having much

luck getting arrested. And on Tuesday August 21st 2007 the legal machine kicked into life. A phone call from PC Stuart. He was

on his way to Clevedon.

             ‘Do you have the dog?’ he asked.

             ‘No.’

             ‘Where is it?’

            ‘I’m sorry. I can’t tell you.’

             ‘Is it in Clevedon?’

             ‘No, he’s not in Clevedon.’

             ‘Are you sure because I’m halfway there and if I find out it’s there and you’re lying, you’re going to be in trouble.’

             ‘I can assure you, he’s not in Clevedon.’

               Hess is ‘property’ as far as the police and CPS are concerned but his value, according to the court on July 1st 2007, is

£0. What was it about this dog that would make the local police drive fifty miles to find him? Would they also do that if

someone had entered a garden and stolen a pedigree? I like to think they would. Perhaps I should ask someone who has had

that happen to them.

             PC Stuart and I meet at 11 am. He is a friendly young man and we chat about the black Labrador he hopes to buy when

he moves in with his girlfriend. I suggest to him that he rescues one. ‘Perhaps not the way I did,’ I say. We both smile. Then the

short interview during which time he tries to persuade me to return Hess. The desk sergeant also tries, threatening me with

prison. ‘Scare tactics!’ I think. I’m then put in a cell at 12:00 am after I’ve been charged, fingerprinted, DNA’d and

photographed. Copious cups of tea are brought in and I’m treated courteously. A civilian employee comes into my cell, sits on

the bunk and says, ‘What’s all this about then?’ I tell him about Hess and Veronica. He says, ‘That’s exactly what my wife would

do.’ We then realise that we used to be neighbours. That night he went home and told his wife that I’d been charged with dog theft.

             ‘Lin hasn’t stolen a dog; she’s rescued one,’ his wife said, without needing to listen to the story.

             At some point during the day PC Stuart told me that he had to call the CPS to see if they wanted to go ahead with the

case. He returned shortly afterwards to tell me that they did. I had a long, taped interview and at 9 pm I was taken to the front

desk and told that I had to appear in Bridgewater Magistrates’ Court the following Monday. After signing many pieces of paper

I thought I was going to be released. But PC Stuart realised that no bail conditions had been set.

             ‘What about bail conditions Sarge?’ he said, bright-eyed, to the old grizzled sergeant. It was reminiscent of Hill Street

Blues. The sergeant stared at him over his glasses.

             ‘I know. How about, she can’t take the dog abroad?’ PC Stuart suggested, as though Hess and I were about to flee to

Marbella and sun it up with the rest of the criminal fraternity.  

             ‘But I wouldn’t do that,’ I said. ‘I’d never be able to get him in the photo booth.’ I watched PC Stuart cement his mouth

into a fixed line and the bail conditions were set. No Pina Coladas for Hess and me just yet.