You have to feel for PC Martin Rothwell. He’s a copper whose beat is in Chesterfield in Derbyshire. He was called to a local Poundland store to deal with a homeless man who’d allegedly nicked a packet of biscuits. I guess when you don’t have a couple of quid for food, your life is at a pretty low ebb, and the last thing you need is to have to go to court, and PC Rothwell, to his credit, felt exactly the same. Instead of feeling the miscreant’s collar, the warm-hearted copper paid for the bikkies out of his own pocket.

You might think that would be an end to it, but you’d be wrong. An employee reported him for not slapping the cuffs on. That strikes me as petty in the extreme. The problem was that in the report of the incident, the friendly rozzer falsely claimed the man had found the money to pay. Net result is Rothwell ended up on a fizzer for misconduct and gross misconduct.

The enquiry dragged on for donkey’s ages, but sanity ruled at the enquiry finale. The barrister chairing things, Nahied Asjad, claimed Rothwell was a ‘credit to the force,’ and should receive nothing worse than a written warning. Good for her. The chairman of the Derbyshire police federation also pitched in. ‘This was nine months and tens of thousands of pounds over £2 worth of biscuits.’

Now some more generalised squandering. The Royal Mint, in its wisdom, claims that there are £45M worth of fake £1 coins in circulation, and next week launches a replacement that’s supposed to be less easy to counterfeit. You can see how that might be true.


This of course is causing some major angst for people who make vending machines, self service tills the country over, and, happily for me, Tesco, who haven’t been able to convert all their pay trolleys in time, so will simply unlock them for free use.

Oh, and let’s not forget parking meters. I foresee a lot of cases where non-paying punters will claim the meter wouldn’t accept their sparkly new coinage.

But here’s the thing. It’s cost an estimated £30+ million quid to alter all the gadgets. To save a mere £10M or so. Not to mention court costs for the meter dodgers.

If you have a piggy bank full of the ‘old’ coins, change them ASAP. As of 15th October, they’re no longer legal tender. You’ll be able to change them at a bank after that date, but only in multiples of twenty quid. Meanwhile there’s probably about 2 billion quid down the back of assorted sofas too.