Early on Friday morning - around 4am - my wife and I were woken by the police helicopter thrashing away above our house. I have to confess at that hour in the morning I stayed in bed and thought little more about it knowing that Dianne and I had a trip to Edinburgh planned. Friday was our 21st wedding anniversary! I thought no more about the helicopter.
However at lunchtime on Friday my 14 year old daughter phoned me to tell me that the police had called round. They mentioned that there had been an attempted break-in next door - could they check our back garden to see if there was any evidence that the burglar had escaped this way? She told me she had checked their warrant cards and let them into the back garden.
My daughter told me that everything was fine - but the police did want to talk to me on Saturday.
Dianne and I got home late on Friday. I had a quick scout around the garden and saw immediately that someone had burst through our holly and hawthorn hedge (no doubt and some personal cost). It immediately struck me that the police had not told my 14 year old about this.
On Saturday morning 2 members of CID called round. They told me that the police were having extra patrols in Frodsham seeking to counter the break-ins and it was one of these extra patrols that at 4 in the morning had spotted a 'pair of legs' in the shadows of my neighbour's drive. The patrol had called in the helicopter which arrived on station a few minutes later.
Unfortunately they weren't able to catch the prowler - although in the cold light of day the route of escape through the back gardens was pretty clear. There is also a chance that my holly hedge has captured crucial DNA evidence!
I thanked the officers for their work and for looking to protect us with the additional patrols. I also thanked them for not telling my 14 year old about the escape through our garden.
Interestingly the police also told me that in their extra patrols they are testing local security and local responses. They are triggering security lights in the early hours - and are somewhat surprised that no-one has bothered to call the police to say there are prowlers - they want us to report in what we are seeing - even if it is to discover it is a plain clothed policeman.
Now on a personal level I do have a pretty secure rear garden. It is surrounded by very tall, thick and thorny holly and hawthorn hedging - and is supplemented with wire mesh. All designed to keep in 3 children and a labrador! If anyone wants to attempt to burst through I do hope they end up having to pay a significant personal price assuming they are able to make it!
I'll also be putting up a video camera. I hope all I end up spotting are foxes, badgers, squirrels and birds - however anything larger may end up being reported!
On reflection I have to say I am really impressed with our police. They are responding to an increased threat. They detected the prowler before he had broken in next door, they called in the helicopter. They're analysing the evidence - and when speaking with my 14 year old they didn't scare her. They came round and saw me swiftly - and they are trying to get the people of Frodsham to be more responsible.
Could you ask for any more? A quality response.