Have-a-go hero tackles thieves
Published: December 7, 2006 | 5166th good news item since 2003
When Kenilworth woman Charlotte Billyeald saw her car careering down Abbey Hill as thieves attempted to bump start it she didn’t think twice about risking her life to get it back.
After being alerted by a neighbour at about midnight, the 30-year-old ran after her Landrover Defender as it began to plummet down the hill being pushed by three youths from behind and steered by a fourth.
She managed to catch up with the car, open its door and grab hold of the wheel as the four youths, including the one in the driver’s seat, fled.
Mrs Billyeald was then able to get into her car, which had been badly damaged, and bring it under control.
She said: “When I got in the car I couldn’t believe what I had done and I decided it was a really stupid thing to do, especially after hearing about people being stabbed for their mobile phone.
“It is amazing what you will do to keep hold of your possessions when people are trying to take them away from you.
“I was more worried about them starting the car. If they had done someone could have been injured – a Landrover rolling down a hill could have potentially hurt someone.”
As the car was brought under control the police were called, but Mrs Billyeald is disappointed by the response.
She said: “The police came half an hour later and said they had had to come from Leamington. When they arrived they drove past us looking for the youths, but after half an hour they’re not going to be around.
“When they came to see us an alarm went off elsewhere and they had to go and attend to that before they came back. They told us they were the only patrol car in Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth that night.”
Last Thursday’s incident is the latest in a long line of vandalism and criminal damage in Abbey Hill and Mrs Billyeald, along with other residents, believe the bus stop overlooking Abbey Fields is to blame.
She said: “We’re always having problems with people collecting at the bus stop. There has been a lot of vandalism, teenagers shouting at all hours and damage to our vehicles, which are parked on the street. We’ve even had 666 sprayed on the side of the house.
“Eight months ago we heard lots of banging going on at Beauchamp House. We went outside and found a teenager with a brick in his hand smashing the windows. We managed to hold onto him until the police arrived but the brick wasn’t picked up and he was let off because of lack of evidence.
“I like that bus stop but it is not working. It is causing more trouble and it is getting worse.”
A spokeswoman for Warwickshire Police stated officers were dispatched to the incident within minutes of it being reported. She stated that the delay in speaking to the residents was due to an area search being completed to try and find those responsible.