Harborough resident told by police that suspicious car on their street is 'not the police's problem'
Harborough police now say they are looking into the incident after the call handler initially told the resident to call the DVLA instead
A worried resident in Market Harborough called the police to alert them about a suspicious car in their street – but say they were told that it wasn’t their “problem”.
The householder says that the Leicestershire Police call handler told them that the four men in the estate car spotted “prowling” streets off Kettering Road hadn’t committed a crime.
That was even though the resident had already established that the 14-year-old blue car had no tax, no MoT, no insurance and was registered as SORN – meaning it had been taken off the road.
And the call handler told the caller to contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) instead after they rang the police on 101 to raise the alarm.
The resident, who has asked not to be named, today told the Harborough Mail: “It is unbelievable.
“It’s fair to say that I am very disappointed with the police force’s response.
“As public-spirited citizens my wife and I were trying to do our best for our neighbourhood and Market Harborough by alerting the police to these very suspicious men and what they were up to.
“And all the thanks we got was to be told to contact the DVLA instead,” said the resident in their 60s.
“It’s very disappointing – and we’d expect much better.”
The incident happened in the couple’s street off Kettering Road in Market Harborough on the afternoon of Tuesday January 4.
“We were looking out of our window and noticed this car driving very slowly along our close.
“It was a blue 08 plate estate car, maybe a Chrysler or a Chevrolet.
“There were four middle-aged men sitting inside.
“We went outside to look at them and they drove slowly up the road, stopping at a different house.
“They dropped one of the men off and he came haring down the road stopping to look straight at our house,” they told the Mail.
“It was all very odd and clearly not right or normal behaviour.”
The alarmed householders checked out the car’s registration number on the DVLA’s website.
They quickly found that the car was registered as off the road and had no MoT, tax or insurance.
“We have had one or two break-ins around here recently and we are all being extra watchful and careful.
“We went on to the Leicestershire Police website to report the incident but it wasn’t very easy to navigate and the webpage wasn’t working properly.
“So we called 101.
“My wife explained what we had seen and the research she’d carried out into this car,” they said.
“The call handler told her it wasn’t their problem because no crime had been committed.
“They told us to contact the DVLA.
“We just found that very hard to take.
“Surely it is a crime to be driving around in a car that shouldn’t be even on the road – and isn’t taxed, MOT’d or insured.
“And the best way to fight crime is to prevent it in the first place.
“The police should have at least taken all the details so that they could check out this vehicle and the men in it cruising menacingly around our streets.
“We have contacted the DVLA and it just seems to have disappeared into a big black hole.”
The resident posted the disturbing incident up on to social media.
And it quickly whipped up a flurry of interest from other concerned local residents.
“A lot of people responded to say they had seen this car too patrolling up and down their streets.
“I know that the police have lost hundreds of officers over the years and are horrendously under-resourced.
“This is no criticism of the officers on the ground in Harborough.
“But I can only repeat that the response we got was very disappointing,” said the resident.
They have now had a long conversation with Cllr Phil King, the leader of Harborough District Council, to fill him in about the incident.
“He was very good and passed all of our information and detail on to Harborough police.
“But we still haven’t heard from them,” they said.
Cllr King told the Mail: “I have spoken to these people at length about this.
“It is obviously very concerning.
“I have fed their information through to the police in Market Harborough.
“There was a miscommunication between the police call handler and the resident,” said the council chief.
“It has now been noted down and action has been taken.
“I did raise this with the police myself and it’s not been ignored.”
A police spokesman said they received a call at 3.15pm on Tuesday January 4 “reporting the occupants of a vehicle acting in an unusual manner in Market Harborough”.
“It was reported the occupants were looking at properties.
“While no criminal offences were identified, the details of the vehicle were passed on to local officers for their information,” police told the Mail.
“We note the concerns raised by the caller and this will be reviewed separately.”