Robbers are targeting pensioners at the cash machine. But the bank doesn't seem to care. Neither do the police
I'm just getting some money from the machine outside the bank, when Daughter appears. What a surprise, so naturally I start chatting to her and leave my card in the machine. A kind fellow calls out to tell me, but while I'm thanking him, another chap runs out of the neighbouring shop. He thinks I'm another pensioner being tricked by the regular gang of robbers that gather at the cashpoint every Friday, and he has run out to save me.
Nobody else will. Shopkeeper has repeatedly told the bank and police but nothing happens. He tells me how it works. An elderly person dodders to the cashpoint (they only pick on the old); one robber stands close behind him, observing the pin number and Robber Two stands a couple of yards away by the phone box, as lookout.
Robber One says to the old man: "Is that your fiver?" pointing to one on the pavement, which Robber Three has dropped. Old man turns to look, Robber One snatches card, all run away.
Shopkeeper and his brother have confronted the robbers. "We don't like what you're doing here," they said.
"That's your job," said the robbers, pointing at the shop. "This is ours. We know where you are. Stay out of it."
Shopkeeper tried the bank. He sneaked in past the robbers saying: "They're out there now, doing someone as we speak."
"I'll call the manager," says the clerk in a leisurely way. Off she goes.
Manager calls the plods, who arrive too late. The robbers have starred regularly on CCTV. Still nothing happens. Why not? Shopkeeper has a theory, because he has worked in a bank. It had a huge billion-pound fund "to tackle fraud", which really means paying people back, because it was too costly and far too much of a fag to catch robbers. Imagine the paperwork. So robbing seems a good, risk-free career choice.
"It's just aggressive capitalism, isn't it?" says Fielding. "At least they're showing initiative." So they are. Taking pensioners' money away. I can't think where they got that idea from.