Pulling off the Ritz

From the Beeb:

A jobless lorry driver who pulled off an “elaborate and outrageous scam” to sell London’s Ritz Hotel for £250m has been jailed for five years.

Oh, come on! This story is hilarious. What happened to the good old British sense of humour? I mean, an unemployed lorry driver successfully passes himself off as a good friend of the Barclay brothers and people actually believe him. For this he is punished?

Quoth Det Sgt Ridler, the policeman who led the investigation: “It was well-planned, it was well thought out and there were victims […] Reputations were ruined.”

Yes indeed, people were revealed as immensely gullible and/or greedy. It was the kind of thing that was bound to come out eventually so he probably did them a favour.

Crime scene

All entrances to Albert Park sealed off this morning …

… and lurking beyond the trees we could see men in white boiler suits crawling about on the ground. Probably not the local bowls club.

And here’s why, it turns out: reports of a serious sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl around midnight last night; 16-year-old boy in custody.

I don’t hold with twaddle about contributory negligence, or the she-was-asking-for-it defence, or no-really-means-yes. If an assault was committed, string the brute up by whatever body parts might have been involved. But I can also think of an absolutely foolproof method that guarantees no 14-year-old girl will ever be assaulted in Albert Park at midnight. See if you can guess what it is.

Eat justice, perp

Well, this is exciting.

About a year ago I got stung on eBay, foolishly sending off a cheque for £35 for the boxset of Battlestar Galactica series 3, which never arrived. The vendor’s feedback seemed good but clearly the system doesn’t always work.

(Note to close relatives and family members: if anyone tries to give me a hard time about this confession, I will bring up the subject of who recently ordered a £55 bottle of wine in a restaurant without checking the price. Are we understood?)

eBay themselves spotted something dodgy about the vendor because they emailed me to say they were closing the account – conveniently and thoughtfully, it was soon after I had mailed the cheque. It was too late to cancel, the cheque had already cleared, and frankly it wasn’t worth going round to the guy’s place because he lived in the Far Frozen North. I put it down to experience and nowadays only buy DVDs’n’stuff on Amazon, if I do it online at all. And I pay by Paypal or card.

But today I get an email from a detective constable in Far Frozen North CID, saying the guy is under investigation, and my name is one of the 255 eBay have provided him with as having bought something off him in December 2007 or January 2008. Would I mind letting him know what happened? All the sums involved were quite similar to mine, most stingees did like me and put it down to experience … so over a two month period the perp was quietly amassing 255 x £35 or thereabouts, which = quite a lot.

I’ve sent off my report and copies of the emails that were exchanged. Funny that now I can fantasise far more exciting punishments than I could a year ago when I was quietly resigning myself to my loss. Gene Hunt is never around when you want him. Or Judge Dredd. Or Lord Vetinari.