A few years ago I had the misfortune of being on duty, whilst it was my Birthday. It was generally going well and I had a few hours to go before I could sign off and see my loving wife. Little did I know the peace & quiet monster had it’s own devious plan for my birthday duty.
“PC Prestford….PC Prestford from control:”
“PC Prestford go ahead”
“PC Prestford, we have had a call from a Ms Fletcher reporting that she has received a concerning text message from her ex-partner, he used to work in the demolition industry and she believes he may trying to get some items he left behind.
Due to the initial description of the call, I went to the address with my colleague Carly. Carly has been a Police Officer for just over 20 years and transferred from a force where they provide their officers with a high level of training and equipment.
We knock at the door and Ms Fletcher answers the door and politely invites us into her house. We all sat down around the living room table to find out what exactly it was, that she was reporting. “Rob’s been bothering me all day, he’s down the pub as I saw him earlier and he only lives around the corner with his new partner. He keeps texting me and texting me, he keeps wanting to get into the house and especially my loft. I think he has been in the house when I was away, but he had been hassling me all day.”
So we all go upstairs, Carly and I end up moving a wardrobe out the way so that we can get to the loft hatch. Carly climbs up and has a cursory look around the loft hatch and cannot find anything, so she comes down again. I then climb up into the loft to make sure nothing has been missed. As I push some old toys to the side, something catches my attention. It looks like a home made bomb. The device looked like a clear bottle with pipe foam pieces strapped around the side of it with red wires looping between each piece of Pipe lagging
I could not see anything within the bottle, but there was definitely an industrial looking stopper in the top and there was the potential of an unknown gas being within the bottle. As soon as I saw this “bomb” I sought to put a large distance between myself, my airwave radio and it in case my airwave accidentally set it off!
I explained what I saw to Carly and I climbed down the ladder as fast as I could. We all remained downstairs whilst I updated the control room and spoke with my sergeant (Tim Brown). Tim came to the address and had a look for himself, he called out the bomb squad and spoke with the inspector about arranging a safety cordon.
After spending a few hours taking a statement and filling in a domestic booklet, the bomb squad arrive, they are cautious and spend some time, looking at the safest way of handling it and eventually remove from the loft as they have found nothing between the pipe lagging and checked the rest of the loft for explosives. After making sure everything is safe, we swoop on the ex-partner and arrest him on suspicion of a bomb hoax related offence. After finishing several hours later and returning to duty the next day, we find that the suspect has been No Further Actioned.
Some days it does not feel worthwhile, especially after feeling like this might have been your last day alive, on your birthday of all days!