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Police farce


Police were less than a mile away when a man rang 999 after confronting burglars in his home.

But although officers were sent to an address with the same house number and street name, it was in the wrong town.

Mr Julian Flexen made a grab for the last of three intruders who were fleeing his home in Preston Road, Newark, but the youth got away.

He rang 999 and told the operator he could still see the burglars who had stopped 150 yards away on the next street.

Mr Flexen (57) a mortgage adviser, gave his precise address, recited his postcode phonetically to avoid confusion and gave his phone number to the police control room at Mansfield.

The person he was speaking to reassured Mr Flexen and told him police were 90 seconds away. He was told officers would search the area then go to his home.

The officers, who were at Newark Police Station on Queen’s Road, just over three-quarters of a mile from Mr Flexen’s home, were sent 14 miles to Preston Road, Rainworth.

Rainworth has an 01623 dialling code and NG21 postcode. Newark has an 01636 code and its postcode is NG24.

Mr Flexen, his wife Laura Horner and son Adam (6) were asleep in bed when they heard noises downstairs at around 2.40am on Tuesday of last week.

Mr Flexen, dressed in flip flops and pyjama bottoms, went to investigate.

The burglars took a wallet containing pictures of Adam as a baby, cash, credit cards, mobile phones and car keys.

Mr Flexen rang 999. His call was logged at 2.51am and the police record shows it was 39 minutes before different officers to those who originally responded arrived at the right Preston Road.

Mr Flexen, who has a police commendation for assisting an officer make an arrest, said he had been let down.

He said his family had suffered distress and felt their home had been violated. He said his son has had nightmares and had drawn pictures of burglars inside his house.

He said the police response would be laughable if it was not so serious.

“What would have happened if I grabbed hold of the last one and his mates gave me a going over?” he said.

“As a consequence of the Keystone Cops theatrics the culprits were allowed to escape.

“No doubt by the time officers arrived at our home they were already tucked-up in their beds or celebrating the ineptitude of this constabulary.

“The youths’ apprehension would have served to mitigate our unfortunate experience.

“Due to the complete farce that ensued we hold out little, if any, hope of their arrest.

“The most galling thing for me remains that these youths think they have a God-given right to walk into my home and steal things that we worked our socks off for.”

Mr Flexen has complained to the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire, Mr Steve Green.

The force accepted Mr Flexen gave correct and precise details. The control room operator entered the address details into a mapping system that identified a number of Preston Roads in Nottinghamshire.

Control Room Inspector Darron Hall said: “The operator selected the wrong Preston Road, which led to an officer being deployed to the wrong address.

“As soon as the mistake was spotted a different response officer was immediately dispatched to the correct address in Newark.

“It is clear human error is responsible and the force apologises for any distress caused.

“The control room will learn from this incident.”

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