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To wonder why the police got involved?

(68 Posts)
Lifegoeson Mon 06-Jun-11 15:41:52

My brother and sister-in-law ordered an Indian meal from a local take away a few weeks ago and paid by cheque, unfortunately it bounced. Member of staff called from take away, bro said he would drop cash in, sadly his mother in law died unexpectedly the next day, so he forgot.

Fast forward to this morning, a police office arrived at their door in a marked car with a copy of the cheque and wanting the cash, £27.50. This seems to me to be an outrageous waste of police resources, I know of people who haven't even had the police call when they have been burgled!

So, are the police now debt collectors now too?!

WriterofDreams Mon 06-Jun-11 15:45:11

Wow that's seriously weird. I didn't think the police would get involved with something like that. Maybe someone else with experience of a situation like this will tell you more.

CocoPopsAddict Mon 06-Jun-11 15:45:14


How were the Indian takeaway people supposed to know that he had had a bereavement? They probably thought he was trying to get away with not paying.

Why should the police not be involved in a case of potential theft? Not saying that your brother intended to steal, but you can see why the takeaway owners thought that.

BumWiper Mon 06-Jun-11 15:45:15

Well it has been a few weeks since the money was supposed to be paid.Its not a debt as no loan was made.

BooBooGlass Mon 06-Jun-11 15:45:18

I guess technically it's theft. They have a business to run and can't let people skip a 30 pounds bill.

worraliberty Mon 06-Jun-11 15:46:24

Well it is theft, but I'm surprised too that the police got involved in the money recovery part.

nijinsky Mon 06-Jun-11 15:47:31

No, its because its theft. There is reasonable suspicion that there was an intention to permanently deprive the owners of their property.

Having worked in the courts, you would be amazed the number of mothers in law that there are who suddenly die, sit about in cars driven dangerously and inadvertently get involved in all sorts of strange activites so as to witness no wrongdoings.

"Dropping cash in" when it suits him isn't good enough. How would he feel if the takeaway had "dropped the food in" when it suited them?

suetheslut Mon 06-Jun-11 15:49:34


Great post, I agree.

worraliberty Mon 06-Jun-11 15:51:18

Actually, now I've had a think about sounds like good Policing.

Police turn up and recover money, give it to takeaway owners...not need for further intervention.

If the takeaway owners had pressed charges, that really would take up Police time.

katvond Mon 06-Jun-11 15:51:54

Its classed as theft so YABU sorry but I would do the same so would DH,you would if you worked for yourself and was given a bounced cheque. Happened to me over some bridesmaid dresses I made,cheque got bounced twice. I took her to small claims court to get my money. I won smile

ratspeaker Mon 06-Jun-11 15:53:32

Isn't it actually fraud to write a cheque when there isn't money to cover it?

AmazingBouncingFerret Mon 06-Jun-11 15:56:27

Do people really pay by cheque for things like that nowadays??
I thought they were practically obsolete now because of the widespread use of chip and pin.

amberleaf Mon 06-Jun-11 15:56:53

Im amazed anyone still uses cheques!!

katvond Mon 06-Jun-11 15:58:07

ratspeaker yes it is thats what we was told

We still use cheques amazing but only for ebay things and DH gets paid in cheques alot as hes a builder.

SnuffleTurtle153 Mon 06-Jun-11 15:58:19

It's not theft, actually. The definition of theft is the deprivation of property belonging to another with the intention to permanatly deprive. The restaurant, by accpeting your brother's offer to drop the money in, entered into a civil contract with him which he failed to honour. The failure to pay for the meal thus becomes a civil matter. Police can become involved in incidents like this if and when several attempts have been made by the injured party to reclaim the money and the customer has refused - thus demonstrating an intention to permanantly deprive. I'm very surprised that the police agreed to become involved when only 2 attempts had been made to obtain the money, and only one following the civil contract being instigated; but maybe they were having a quiet day. I agree that it's a huge waste of police resources and think it's a great shame that your brother didn't have better manners.

ratspeaker - it can only be considered fraud if the person writing it knew that there were insufficient funds to cover it, which is very hard to prove.

katvond Mon 06-Jun-11 16:00:43

sorry snuffle thats utter bollocks,as someone with my own business and for a customer to pay for bridesmaid dresses knowing they were going to bounce and still have my fucking dresses is theft and fraud in my eyes. I got my money back through the courts too.

katvond Mon 06-Jun-11 16:02:07

Snuffle we don't know the full story only what the brother told the OP, for all we know they could have been asked lots of times by the Indian takeaway and refused to pay.

SnuffleTurtle153 Mon 06-Jun-11 16:02:29

kat that's what I've just said; it's fraud when they know that the cheque is going to bounce. You've just repeated my point.

I can assure you that it isn't bollocks. This is what I do for a living.

katvond Mon 06-Jun-11 16:03:20

I know that smile apologises I read it wrong

SnuffleTurtle153 Mon 06-Jun-11 16:04:58

No worries. Glad you got your money back!

Lifegoeson Mon 06-Jun-11 16:07:22

But they had every intention of paying, they're regular customers! Why not just call or send a reminder letter.

Nij - Not sure what you're implying, but his mother in law did die, he wasn' t dropping the cash off when it suited him either, I did not say that. Christ, arsey!

Rat - they did have the monies to cover the cheque, bank made an error, another story.

I have never heard of this in my life, just wondered if it was common practice, wish I hadn't asked, thanks for the replies from the normal people!

McTemp Mon 06-Jun-11 16:07:36

I'm very suprised the police got involved - definitely a civil matter. I am a police officer and got taught in training that a person who eats a meal at a restaurant and then leaves without paying is a CIVIL matter, and the police can only get involved to ensure no breach of peace occurs. It's not theft apparently because there is no intention to permanently deprive - at the time of order, the person intended to pay, so its not legally theft, therefore police can't get involved.

katvond Mon 06-Jun-11 16:14:29

Well police got involved theres probably more to this than we know or that the OP is telling us

nijinsky Mon 06-Jun-11 16:21:13

Of course its not just a civil matter. There is an intention to permanently deprive - the first payment fell through and the second payment also fell through. Offering to pay for something you have stolen does not turn a criminal matter into a civil one - unless Sharia law is having a greater influence on the legal system than previously thought!

While it might be convenient for police to tell people that some trivial matters are civil matters, they do not make the law but only enforce it, and the definition of the Theft Act does appear to have been met here.

FWIW I also find it slightly surprising that the police have become involved and I suspect there is also more to this than meets the eye - possibly a number of ignored phone calls and dishonoured promises to pay.

When people are trying to run an honest business, bouncing cheques and people thinking its ok to pay at their convenience are just a damned nuisance. Surely most people would be mortified if they bounced a cheque in this manner and ensure they paid promptly?

katvond Mon 06-Jun-11 16:22:49

I totally agree with niijinsky, there is lots more to this than we know.

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