Recently I had the misfortune to see an episode of “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” and it reminded me of all the times I’ve crossed paths with them in the Motor Trade, now I’m guessing that they are like all walks of life and that there are some good, and some bad, however, I couldn’t say for definite as it would seem that I’ve only met the bad ones, they are the ones that seem intent on making the life of a Motor Trader even more miserable, over the years I have amassed enough content to write a whole series of books let alone a little blog.
My earliest recollection of Gypsies was when I was a young boy and I answered the door to what can only be described as a very scary old women, she looked, sounded and was dressed like a witch, she was selling “Lucky Heather and Pegs” we were pretty poor and my Mum didn’t have any spare cash to waste so she politely refused, but the Gypsy wouldn’t take no for an answer, she set off in a rant and then threatened to put a “Curse” on us if we didn’t make a purchase, at this point my Mum lost her patience and said to her “You better hope that Heather is Lucky because if it isn’t I’m going to knock your head off so sling your hook!”
Long story short, I wish my Mum had bought some heather because from that day onwards if it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have had any.
Years later I was walking my dog in the park and I came across a Woman I knew, she was crying her eyes out, unusually it wasn’t anything I had done, she managed to hold her tears back long enough to explain what had happened, her dog had disappeared when they had heard a noise in the bushes, her dog had run in to investigate, she heard it yelp and it never came out, my dog “Dino” could also sense something in there too and was pulling on his lead and growling, not being one to take any chances I picked up the biggest branch I could carry and walked into the bushes.
I came to a chain-link fence which separated the park from a disused industrial estate and the sight that met me wasn’t pleasant, Gypsies had moved on during the night, there were caravans, lorries, scrap cars, and packs of dogs wandering around, the place looked like a war zone, a short distance ahead of me was a gang of lads and one was carrying a little dog under his arm, I shouted to them and the biggest turned around and walked back, not wishing to antagonise him and have my improvised weapon become part of my anatomy I dropped the branch behind me, the branch was slightly smaller than the mobile phone I had in those days so I could always whip him with the aerial if things went pear-shaped .
I asked nicely if they had seen the Ladies little dog and was told that they hadn’t but for £50.00 he said that they would look all around their camp to see if it had strayed on, when I pointed out that £50.00 was a lot of money and he wouldn’t need to look very far as his mate was actually carrying the said dog under his arm, he became rather agitated and suggested I “go away in short jerky movements” before my dog mysteriously disappeared too, I was feeling quite brave as there was still a 6ft fence between us, so I told him that if he didn’t give us the dog back I would call the Police, again I was told to “go forth and multiply”
My mate lived around the corner and he was a member of the Police Armed Response Team, he wasn’t a guy to be messed with at the best of times but his demeanor was even worse as I had just rung and woken him up after a long shift, when I explained what had happened he said “Give me 2 minutes, and I’ll be there” he soon appeared with “Satan” his Alsatian, and we entered the gypsy camp through the hole in the fence, It was scary as we were immediately surrounded by a number of guys who looked like they used their faces to chop wood.
My mate was completely unperturbed, when he spoke he just said, I’ll get straight to the point “You’ve got 2 minutes to bring the dog back” 2 minutes must be the timescale the Police work too, he said “dog” because its name was actually “Tinker Bell” and he thought the seriousness of the message would be diluted, again the big guy spoke first “Or what you going to do about it” My mate produced his badge and said, I will be back in half an hour with a full Investigation Team and we will check every single Car, Caravan, Lorry, and piece of scrap on here against the DVLA records and stolen property register.
This must-have struck a nerve because they didn’t need 2 minutes to comply with his request and we walked off the camp, returning the trembling Tinkerbell to its rightful owner, Tinkerbell soon stopped trembling but it would be a while before iI did, It was all in a days work for my mate he kept his promise to the Gypsies, he didn’t return to the camp, he went back to bed but only after he had borrowed my phone to organise a search warrant and a team to execute it.
My mate had noticed an “Item” on the camp in plain sight which he had believed to be stolen and indeed it was, surprisingly amongst the other things the investigation team discovered was an old Transit Pick up with an engine that actually belonged to a nearly new “Rent A Van” seemingly they had hired the van legitimately and swapped the engines.