By Len A.Hynds

It was a Sunday afternoon in August 1955. The sun was shining, and we had just left the station to start our eight hour patrol. I was driving the Wolseley police car, 6L for Lucy, with my regular crew, with me, my wireless operator beside me, and the plain clothes observer in the back. We hadn't gone far along Walworth Road, when I saw a car waiting for me to pass before he drove out from a side turning. As I drove slowly past I saw that it was an almost new car, being driven by a young man with his wife and two children as passengers.

The driver was looking at the police car, and our eyes met. I detected a strange look of guilt in his eyes, as if he was worried about something. I slowed down just past the junction, expecting him to turn in my direction, when he drove off in the opposite direction, although I could have sworn that the wheels of his car when stationary indicated that he would turn my way. I turned the police car round and followed him, and his driving was absolutely perfect, and my crew looked askance at me for following a young married man with his family on a Sunday afternoon out for a drive with their new car. They both told me that it would be foolish and a waste of time in stopping them, but I said, "He's worried about something, and I want to know what." They both laughed at that and wanted to know how I deduced that, and I said, "Our eyes met, and he is feeling guilty about something." That caused further laughs.

I eventually flashed the car in front and he stopped. I got out and went to the driver, saying to him, "Is this your car sir?” to which he nodded. I then asked him the index number which he knew perfectly, and leaning in and putting my hand across the mileage clock, asked him how many miles roughly he had done. He was close enough. He pulled out his driving license which was in order, and I said, "I will have to give you a HORT1 for you to produce Insurance at a police station of your choice," and he said, "No need to do that, I've got all the documents here," and he produced not only insurance but also the log book which proved the vehicle was his.

That in itself was strange, to have all those vehicle documents so quickly to hand. I walked around the vehicle which was in good condition, smiling at the children through the windows, and studied the Triplex mark on every window. Triplex used to put almost invisible marks either above or below the word Triplex, and you could tell the month and the year of manufacture. Every window had the same mark, and I knew that I had him, and the reason for his guilt. It was a ‘Ringer'. The glass had all been made exactly one year after the car had been registered and put on the road. I told the driver that I was not happy, and suggested we followed him, in order to take his family home, and then he must return with the car to the station for further enquiries to the origin of the car to be made.

To cut a long story short, he had purchased one the year before, but it had been in a write- off accident, and he was not insured. He had cut it up, and stolen an identical one a year later, changing the number plates, He already had all the documents, but forgot the glass marking, or how to look innocent.

Dog showing quilty eyes