My youngest brother was robbed of a shed load of gardening equipment this week. The most expensive item was his ride-on mower. The thing is, his own lawn is tiny, he mainly uses his gardening tools to maintain our late mother's home.
This is the time of year for garden equipment thefts. I'm informed it is big business. Tools, garden ornaments, patio furniture, barbecue equipment all make good money when the weather improves and we get back into our outdoor spaces.
I sometimes wonder about these daring daylight robbers who break in to sheds and garages and make off with people's belongings,, I wonder too about the people who buy these ill-gotten goods. Do they ever consider the misery they bring to their victims? I expect they don't. Ride-on mowers and quad bikes are particularly popular with thieves. Which means, of course, that there is a ready pool of punters prepared to buy these items at knock-off prices.
I'll never forget a night, a few years back, when I was driving on the A26 between Antrim and Ballymena. There were blue lights flashing ahead, an accident. As I drew abreast there was a dead bullock, being winched on to a truck. Other cattle lay in the road waiting to be removed, It was a horrible sight. Next day I heard the story. A local farmer, someone I knew, had a quad bike stolen from his property. The thieves, in their rush to escape, had left gates open and cattle being cattle, they strayed on to the dual carriageway at evening rush hour. One vehicle ploughed into them, injuring several of the animals and the car driver. It could have been a lot worse. Just one man in hospital, the injured animals shot by a vet and removed from the scene. And all for a stolen quad bike. I wonder who bought it? For it was bloody - it may only have been cattle but they hurt too.