MY career in breaking and entering had not started well.
Two attempts on the same house had resulted in a squashed chocolate cake, the evidence all over my shoes, and a smashed door, but no swag.
It wasn’t strictly burglary, more a poor effort at breaking and entering into my own home, but served as a warning that I wasn’t going to make it as a career criminal.
The first incident arose when I arrived home from a football match to find my mum and dad out, the door locked but the window open, as was often the case.
I was about eight or nine-years-old and pretty small, so I reckoned I could make it through the window. I hoisted myself on to the ledge and grabbed the frame of the window, pulled myself up and went in largely head first, but with one foot through. Unfortunately, the final push resulted in said foot landing straight in a newly baked chocolate cake, seconds before my mum and dad arrived home and it all kicked off.
Not only had I ruined the cake — my mum’s main concern — but a nosy old woman (you could read this as “concerned and alert local resident”) across the road had phoned the police as she thought (correctly) that a break-in was taking place. She just didn’t know it was me and that I lived there.
The second incident occurred when my brother arrived home seconds before me, slammed the door in my face, resisted my attempts to open it and locked it. After several minutes of arguing I told him I would kick it through if he didn’t open it. He didn’t open it and I did kick it through. One poxy push plastic shoe push and the flimsy balsa wood ex-council house door went through.
Cue panic. A plan was hatched. We would calmly watch TV and when our parents arrived back and started shouting would feign ignorance and claim not to have noticed the damage. He threatened me with various beatings if I caved in.
Mum and dad arrived. My dad swore and shouted something along the lines of “what the bloody hell has happened here?”
“It was him. He tried to kick the door down and broke it,” shouted my brother, the total wimp.
Naturally, I denied it and tried to shift the blame as he was a more likely suspect when it came to inflicting damage to the house — a fist through a partition wall being just one example — but bizarrely they didn’t believe me and I was made to pay for the repairs out of my spending money.
I went to bed that night imagining paying back hundreds of pounds at 20p a week for the rest of my life, but the bill only came to £3.
It was enough to stop my spending money for a few weeks though.