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Volume XXVII, No. 15

Saturday May 22 , 1999             50p.

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Stolen DeskLocal police participated in an undercover sting operation that culminated in the arrest of long-time resident Gerald Anderson at his shop just off the Puckering High Street. A search of the premises turned up antique furniture, paintings, ceramics and glassware, as well as garden statuary and tools, valued at well over 200,000 pounds.
     Simon Tinsley, who alerted police to the crime,  admits, "I feel like a bit of a wally! I thought he was working for us and that my girlfriend was having him move some stuff. When the desk disappeared though I thought something was wrong." Miss Simmons was not available for comment and is
said to be out of the country at present.
     Police have not yet issued formalised charges against the suspect, waiting to determine the scope of his criminal activity. Residents with questions about the provenance of furnishings they have recently acquired are encouraged to phone the police station.
    In a related enquiry, police are also questioning Major Blythe-Smythe in connection with charges related to the sale of stolen goods.--Nigel Twicks

For related story, see below


Sergeant in Hosiery Shop Stalking Surprises Suspect

     For Sergeant Geoffrey Archer, the day started like most others at the Puckering police station; a cup of tea, a glance at the Gazette, and a pile of reports to file. It would end at an upscale hosiery shop on Herringbone Lane, in a tense stakeout that lasted into the night, and ushered in a new dawn. By noon of the following day, the drama would culminate in an emotional confrontation with an old friend, accused of nicking hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of fine antique furnishings in an criminal operation that police now suspect spread over several years.
     At approximately 10:30 a.m. Thursday, 20 May, Sgt. Archer received the phone call that would irrevocably alter the face of Puckering. Miss Emma Knytleigh, currently of Stoney Grove, reported an antique Queen Ann desk missing from the study of her employer, Miss Ann Simmons. The desk had last been seen on the previous evening, when Miss Knytleigh had entered the study to pick up some mail. She reported the disappearance to Mr. Tinsley, who, upon further investigation, noted that an antique oil painting was also missing from the room. As Tinsley headed for the phone to notify police, he spotted a white van pulling out of the drive.
     An investigative team, headed by Sgt. Archer, was sent to the scene. "We could immediately see the missing desk, or rather, not see it, if you take my point," said Archer. "Anyway, it was gone, and we set out to find it." At first the police had a number of suspects, but the white van 

helped narrow the field.  Witnesses confirmed that a vehicle fitting that description was often parked outside of Jerry’s Antiques.
     Eager to avoid alerting the suspect prematurely, Archer and his team went undercover, posing as customers at Silken Treasures, a strategy that afforded the men an uninterrupted view of the entrance to the suspected den of criminal activity.
     Long hours of surveillance paid off.  At 12:01 p.m. on Friday, 21 May, officers observed Gerald Anderson of Jerry’s Antiques carrying the purloined desk into his shop. Archer and his team closed in. "It was really hard," Archer confessed, "Jerry was my mate. I’ve furnished half my house with stuff from his shop. Still," he concluded, "you can only look at knickers for so long. We’re glad to have put an end to it. And to the theft, of course."
     Sergeant Archer has issued a plea to all local residents who have had dealings with Jerry’s Antiques in the past five years to step forward. "We’d like for people to report items that they suspect might have been stolen, so that they can be returned to their rightful place." --Lumpy Gaites

Puckering Profiles
Editor’s note: Due to breaking news, the Puckering Gazette has decided to delay the next installment of Puckering Profiles.  Profiles will return in two weeks, when we take another in-depth look at one of Puckering's most prominent citizens.

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