This week’s police column, written by community beat sergeant Rachel Blackwell, features a mystery solved and a third incident of indecent exposure.
Last week I reported on the appearance of a number of chalk marks around Stamford in Hambleton Road, Londsdale Road, Cottesmore Road, Empingham Road, Exeter Gardens and Roman Bank.
Historically, police have viewed such marks as sinister – sometimes connected to homes that are later burgled.
The marks varied in appearance, including arrows, crosses, crosses in a circle with a question mark and random letters. They were made in chalk on the roadside.
Since my appeal for information, I was delighted to receive such a positive response from a number of members of the community e-mailing and calling in with their suggestions.
One lady was concerned that the marks were significant to homes which had dogs of value to steal for dog fighting purposes.
Another gentleman e-mailed in, sharing our concerns that the marks might be marking houses “suitable” for burglary.
We finally cracked the code with the help of two readers who e-mailed. Suzanne Higgins is a local resident who e-mailed after seeing the article on the Mercury Facebook page.
Peter Callaway grew up in Rutland and now lives near New York. He e-mailed in from the US after seeing the report online.
This is what they told us:
The symbols are used by groups of runners as part of a “hare and hounds” run called hashing, which was started by ex-pat Brits in Malaysia after Second World War – all in the name of good healthy fun.
The chalk marks are set by the human “hare” to make a running trail three to six miles long, mostly cross country, to be followed by the “hounds”. The different marks have special meanings explained to the runners before their start.
When I contacted the organiser of the Rutland Hash House Harriers, grand master Steve Harris, he explained that the marks found in Stamford had been laid for a recent hash which started in Water Furlong and ran to Tinwell and back.
He also said that the group welcome all ages and abilities, and even nice dogs are welcome.
You can find out more about the Harriers by visiting their website at www.rutlandhhh.co.uk
It was great to see that a former Rutland resident still takes an interest in local community concerns, and I offered Mr Callaway my personal thanks for taking the time to e-mail in.
This is what he told me: “My father (Sgt RH Callaway) was a member of the Rutland Constabulary from about 1940 to maybe 1975. I grew up in the police station houses in Empingham, Stretton, Oakham and finally Great Casterton. My neighbour in Casterton, Mr Carter, worked for the Mercury.
“I was lucky enough to get scholarships to Oakham School and Sheffield University which got me to IBM and eventually the US.
“It’s been a wonderful journey and I’m always happy to feel connected to my deep roots in Rutland as I do now.
“Running with the HHH for 25 years has been my most enjoyable recreation... and I have to admit I’ve run on many a trail that went places for which we had not asked or received permission, so that little sense of harmless mischief, adventure and camaraderie made it more than just another running group and made for a great weekly relief from the stresses and pressures of hard work.”
Another indecent exposure, Stamford
A 22-year-old Stamford woman reported that a man had ridden past her on a pushbike on July 17 at about 1.30pm while she walked along a footpath at the side of Sidney Farm Lane.
As the man went past on a silver-grey cycle, he exposed his genitals to her.
The woman kept walking and the man reportedly said: “Come back, come back” to her.
The man was white, in his late 20s or early 30s with an English accent. He was about 5ft10 to 6ft, and slim. He wore a light-coloured top and green shorts or trousers. He also wore a cycle helmet.
This is the third incident in Stamford in recent weeks, after a man in a car exposed himself to a woman walking her dog in Kesteven Road on July 7, and a man on a bicycle exposed himself to two 12-year-old girls in Christ Church Close, Stamford, on June 25.
Anyone with information should call police on 101.
Handbag theft , Stamford
A 79-year-old shopper found that her handbag had been stolen in Morrisons on Tuesday, July 23.
The woman left her bag hanging on the trolley while she shopped, only noticing it was missing when she got to the checkout.
Her bag contained her purse, credit cards, loose change and her mobile phone.
We renew our appeal to shoppers to be vigilant while browsing in any shop.
It only takes a couple of seconds to remove your bag or purse from your trolley whilst you are looking at groceries on the shelves.
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting incident number 210 of July 23.
‘Deaf’ doorstep tricksters
I would like to inform readers about an emerging crime method which has been used in other areas of Lincolnshire.
A man will come to your door, posing as a deaf person in financial need – offering to sell artwork or drawings to help fund his education.
He may have a card which he invites you to read from.
It is believed that this is a distraction tactic, while associates will steal property from the home.
So far this method of operating has been seen in Spilsby and Spalding, and offenders may be travelling across the region.
Please ensure that you have your wits about you when answering the door to any salesman and where possible insist that you see identification before agreeing to buy anything.
Think whether your back door is locked while talking to anyone at your front door.