Kenneth Young interview: Crime in Wimbledon

We had a spate of burglaries at Invergowrie. We were on the corner of Belvedere Drive so there was an easy get away. I remember two or three burglaries. There were ladders about as we were having some repairs done. My brother and I slept in the back room and a burglar got into two or three other rooms before climbing into our bedroom while we were asleep. We didn’t wake up. He went through a connecting room into our father’s room. My mother woke up and called father. The chap rushed about flashing a torch. He said: “It’s all right governor, I’m just going.” My father said: “No you’re not.” He used to have a brass pestle and mortar by the bedside and he brandished this. The burglar ran down the staircase and father jumped on top of him and pulled him to the ground. You wouldn’t do it nowadays. My mother rang the police and he was taken to the police station. I remember the policeman asking: “Got him?” He had. But the crowning indignity was my father having to go to the police station in his pyjamas to charge the man.

The burglar gave his name as “Alan Murray” although his real name was Alec Forbes. These were actually the names of two burglaries he had done – in Alan Road and Murray Road! A nice touch. The next day when he was crossing the road from the police station he made a bolt for it down Queens Road. A passer-by did a rugger tackle and brought him down to the ground. He had been collared once again!  

Another burglary was at the side of the house. There used to be a rough piece of ground there and Douglas and I used to play cricket there. One day when I was about 10, we saw a man coming down from the front door. I asked my mother who he was and she didn’t know. Then she found her jewellery box gone. The man had been carrying what I said looked like a bowler hat but it turned out to be the jewellery box. I went to the gate to look for the burglar but it was hopeless. I remember seeing a newspaper headline “Daring Daylight Jewel Robbery at Invergowrie” with a second heading: “Ineffective chase.” My first mention in the press!