Too busy to fix an ongoing crime
Yesterday, with the water off in my part of town because of a burst water main in Wimbledon (which flooded not only the street but also South Wimbledon tube station), I headed up London to spend the afternoon. On the way down Oxford Street to my favourite hang-out — Foyle’s bookshop — I saw a mock auction going on in one of the shop units. A mock auction, for anyone not aware of these things, is a scam auction in which various plants in the audience get all the good stuff. The public, meanwhile, bid for what looks like bargains but get garbage, and tend to only discover this when they open the packaging later, by which time the scammers will have gone.
Anyway, I saw a police car go past, and tried to wave at the cops inside but was too late. After hanging around for a while, trying to interest the security guards in the Curry’s Digital shop opposite, who told me it was not their problem, I went down to Charing Cross Road, and there I did find a police car. After failing to stop it once, it went round the block, and when it passed me, I told the cops inside that there was a mock auction going on down Oxford Street. Before I’d finished my sentence, they just said, “we’re busy”.
I said, “oh, you know about it?” and they just said, “no, we’re busy”. They had a Chinese-looking woman in the back, but they were not driving fast and did not have their blue lights or sirens on, so they did not look that busy to even let me finish telling them about an ongoing crime so that they could pass the details on. Mock auctions stand out a mile - they are “auctions” going on in places where they never normally do, namely vacant shop units, and there is always a crowd around them which usually spills out into the street. It would only have taken a few cops to go in there and bust the lot of them, and there was no big event on, no football match, no riot. If such a thing were to happen it could dissuade the scammers from trying to pull this trick so obviously again. Perhaps they were just enjoying the warm weather.
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