Once again my friend Arsenal Kev, he of the Doorpocket of Shame, has a starring role. When he told me this story I could see where it might be going, and there was a horrible inevitability about the events as they unfolded.
AK used to be an HGV driver. One day he was driving through London minding his own business, when he ran across a coned-off section of road. Turns out it was the Ministry of Transport running random checks on commercial vehicles (this task is now with DVSA, which replaced VOSA a while back, so you can tell how long ago it was), and he duly got a tug.
No dramas at all. He was on his tacho, the vehicle was taxed and insured as all good boys make sure, and he wasn’t carrying a load, so there was no problem with being overweight. Well, not with the truck, anyway. He’ll have me for that comment I’m sure.
The inspectors kindly pointed out a minor, though not illegal, problem with a rear tyre, and sent him on his way with a cheery wave and a ‘Mind how you go.’
AK ambled round to the door of his cab, and noticed a hi-vis jacket hanging on a nearby fence. Now it just so happens he was in need of a new hi-vis, this one was almost pristine, and there was nobody about as everybody was concentrating on the next inspection. He committed some petty larceny, threw the jacket in his cab, and drove off humming happily to himself.
This is the point where things start to unravel. He got back to base, and decided to try the jacket on. It was only then he made a rather startling discovery. There was a big ‘Police’ decal on the back that he hadn’t noticed before. He’d nicked a hi-vis off the Old Bill.
His colleagues of course were infinitely supportive, and didn’t take the mickey out of him one little bit. Oh no sirreebob. In fact the decal was cut off and mounted on the office wall as a trophy.
Meanwhile, back at the station, some poor plod must have had fun explaining to his sergeant just how he’d come to have a bit of police equipment stolen. In broad daylight. In London. At an organised stop.