Just in

an unpleasant incident

Yesterday I intended to travel to Golfe Juan to meet some old friends of my parents for a lunch.

I was rather worried about taking a tram for the first time to the station and Sebastian kindly offered to meet me at the stop to explain how the ticket machine works. As I get up early I had time to stake this out and bought a ticket for later. The journey of two stops was a doddle and I found the station easily enough.

I went to the ticket office and was advised that my train was running fifteen minutes late.

It was noticeable that the ticket barriers were taped over, allowing free access to the platforms.

There had been a national strike against the Macron labour reforms.

I duly boarded the train and decided to sit on the upper decks for  the picturesque  journey.

Behind me as I glanced round was the face of a strange-looking man in his forties who bumped into me.

I then became aware of a woman attracting my attention and instinctively felt for my wallet … only to find an empty pocket. I asked her if it had fallen to the floor and she replied that she had witnessed the said man pickpocket it.

The train was about to leave so the lady and I disembarked to report the incident. A busybody took over to explain in English that was worse than my French that I should summon a gendarme and force him to watch the CCTV for identification purposes.

In fact the next procedural stage is to go to the central police station to ‘porter plainte’ i.e. press charges. This I imagined would involve much waiting around and then form-filling. The kind lady agreed to accompany me as she was a witness and had prised an empty kitbag from the thief.

I decided that I would walk home and start the process of cancellation. En route I passed a woman on the pavement, clearly very ill, which put my problems in perspective.

I reflected how a thief must target his victim, execute a crime in daylight in front of others and then make good his escape – all of which he achieved – yet for all his resourcefulness his life is based on inflicting misery on others and he cannot earn regular income other than by taking others’ via petty crime.

I learned later that, even if caught and brought before a a judge, the latter is usually not that interested and lets the person free. This raises the possibility of vigilante justice.

A few hours later, with the cards used for small contactless purchases then stopped, I reflected that the only real loss is the cash and that, if I let this incident magnify, I would not enjoy the visits today of Lottie from Munich.

One final thought.

Our franchised railways are much-criticised and Labour is pledged to renationalise them.

The thief benefited from slackness after the strike – there appeared to be no transport police – whilst a team of thieves that operated on Southern Railway were swiftly apprehended when the chief criminal, hotly denying stealing a mobile, protested that he was a racial victim until the stolen mobile was dialed and rang in his inside pocket.

To be equally fair, I can understand the thrust of the rail unions’ argument to preserve a conductor on board for safety and security reasons.


About Robert Tickler

A man of financial substance, Robert has a wide range of interests and opinions to match. More Posts