Friday, 25 July 2008

Daylight robbery

I stumbled on this building by accident after a long night shift when I needed somewhere quiet to do my paperwork - built in 1567 would you believe and just off Lincolns Inn Fields. Go see it; it's amazing. And haunted...probably.

Day shift: Five calls; one refused, one assisted-only and three by ambulance.

Stats: 1 Minor injury from a RTC; 2 ETOH; 1 Head injury; 1 Leg injury.

I sat in the car and watched as two drunken lads slept, flat out, on the steps of a church. They’d obviously had a heavy night of it and were both dead to the world. It was 8am and there were other people around but that didn’t stop the gang of three who were passing from committing a crime right in front of me and other witnesses. As they strolled past, one of the men stopped when he caught sight of something lying next to one of the sleeping drunks. He went onto the steps, reached down quickly, picked something up and nonchalantly walked away. His two friends eyed the other man to see what he might have dropped or left on the ground. Then they all walked off. I had to assume that the slumbering man had just been relieved of his mobile phone.

A tall man stopped the three as he approached them; he had seen this happen too. He questioned the culprit about what had been taken but apparently (I spoke to this witness afterwards) he denied it and said the phone belonged to him. He didn’t explain why he had been on the steps and what he had lifted from the ground.

I thought it was pretty brave of this passer-by to challenge the lads at all, especially these days when a knife in the chest is more likely than a punch in the face but he couldn’t stop them from walking away and turning the corner. I left the car and tried to wake the men up but they were completely out of it. I shouted into one of their ears that they had been robbed but all I got was a confused grin and a relapse into unconsciousness. I also tried to follow the little gang but they had disappeared when I went around the corner. I called the police via Control but they didn’t appear for another fifteen minutes and by that time the thieves had long gone.

Meanwhile, the passer-by (who was staying to talk to the cops) and I had managed to wake up one of the two drunken lads. He understood what had happened and confirmed that his mobile phone was missing but he didn’t want to do anything about it because it would be ‘too much trouble’. Most people keep their lives on their phones so I was a bit surprised that he didn’t want to bother pursuing it. When the police arrived both men were up and staggering away, so the officers had to chase them, stop them and question them. When they’d finished they told me that nothing was going to be done because the two men didn’t want to take it any further. Sometimes I wonder if it’s better just to let crime happen.

A strange foreign woman called an ambulance after she stepped out in front of a moving van and it ran over her foot (allegedly). She was sitting in a bus shelter when I arrived and there were several people with her, including the van driver. They all seemed a bit excited because the woman had made a fuss about her injury and was demanding compensation. I inspected her foot and found nothing wrong with it but I told her that she could go to hospital in the ambulance when it arrived and get it checked out properly. I also told her that the police were coming to take details and her behaviour changed. She suddenly didn’t want to give her details and didn’t want to go to hospital. She walked (her foot seemed to function properly now) back to the shelter and demanded an on-the-spot payment of £800 from the van driver to cover the cost of her trainers. I saw her trainers and I can tell you they weren’t worth £80, let alone £800.

By the time the police had arrived, she was gone, having left the scene without her money and with no apparent difficulty in walking quickly. I spoke again to the witnesses at the bus shelter and one of them said ‘I think she didn’t stay because she’s illegal’.

A 60 year-old man fell from a tube train onto the platform because he was pretty drunk. He was given a thorough assessment by the CRU paramedic, who’d arrived with me and who was being filmed for the television series ‘London Ambulance’ (so I let him take over from me). The patient had nothing but booze wrong with him and he argued and disputed the need to go to hospital – he was on the verge of being asked to leave the ambulance when he capitulated, behaved and went with the crew to sober up. The footage will never be seen because the man refused to allow it to be shown.

A 3 year-old who fell at a train station and allegedly sustained a head and back injury looked perfectly fine to me when I got on scene. The crew was there too and so I left them to it.

A local alcoholic fell on his face in Covent Garden, so I was asked to attend and help him out. Security men were around him but he is a harmless 47 year-old drunk and there’s no need to have three large guys standing near him but it’s their policy I guess. Anyway, he needed no help from me, except to stand up. The crew arrived and together we managed to get him fully upright and walking again, albeit with a left-handed gait. Off he went, back to his hostel which was more to the right than the left...but he managed.

A plain-clothed cop flashed his ID at me when I pulled up outside a store in Oxford Street. He directed me to an elderly lady who’d slipped and gashed her shin open on the marble steps outside the shop. A first aider was with her and she seemed well looked after. A good dressing had been put on the wound and I didn’t really need to look at it because the description was enough and I’ve seen and dealt with lots of these. The skin on the shin bone of an elderly person tends to be very thin and easily peeled, so scraping injuries result in large flaps of skin coming away from the bone, almost like the skin of a cooked chicken. There can be heavy bleeding but sometimes there isn’t. In this lady’s case the bleeding had been self-limiting and the dressing was doing a good job of controlling it too. Her main risk factor was infection, so she was taken away by the crew a few minutes later.

The summer sales were on today and the shopping streets of London were heaving with people and bags. Once again I noticed the very nature of people changing as they clashed with each other on the crowded pavements and shop floors. Gone was any thought for others - gone were kindness, respect, manners and courtesy. All gone for consumerism. No wonder we can be robbed in broad daylight for a mobile phone that will be out of fashion in a year.

Be safe.


Paul Robertson said...

Just watched Love Actually (again) last night and was surprised to see this photo on one of the christmas cards Hugh Grant reads! What street is it on?

Enjoy your blogging, btw. Great stuff!

Xf said...


Well, it wasn't THAT photo, since I took it with my mobile phone - otherwise the film makers owe me a few quid :-)

It's off Lincolns Inn Field; I don't know the exact road name, I'm afraid.

How many times have you watched that film by the way?