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The surveillance van, the old couple and the police.

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There I was parked in a quiet cul-de-sac watching a building across the other side of a T-junction. My colleague is inside a surveillance van parked very close to the buildings front door. I am there purely as backup and to coordinate the job.

The job consisted of following a target to work and I needed to get a few minutes video of them going into the building. Cause it was very foggy, i decided to use the surveillance van close up.

After 10 minutes I decided to move away from the area and went and parked in another street about 2 minutes away. I then get a call from my colleague in the surveillance van whispering, “help, the police are here and they are banging on the van doors”

It was every PI’s worst nightmare and I knew I couldn’t help him. I decided to drive by the van and see what was going on. As I drew level in traffic, I could see a police van and 2 Police Officers walking around the van and peering into the windows. One of the Police officers was talking to an old couple who were pointing at the van and also pointing at the cul-de-sac. I knew then that we must have been seen by them preparing for the surveillance prior to inserting the van in place.

My main concern was to get the van and my colleague out of there with the minimum of fuss and if possible without showing out to the target who as luck would have was at lunch at that present time but who was due to return in minutes.

Many plans were formulated and discarded within seconds as unpracticle and eventually we ended up doing nothing and the police got bored with it and went on to answer a 999 call elsewhere.

My colleague with great presence of mind had curled up into a ball on the floor of the van throughout the event and then managed to take the necessary video when the target returned to the building. He then simply drove out when everything was calm again.

He later told me while we were reviewing the video of the entire incident that the police had been told by the old couple in the cul-de-sac that they had seen 3 men watching the houses with binoculars and then all three had proceeded to get into the back of the van and that they were still in there. The police was overheard telling his controller over the radio that he thought in his opinion that it was a “prelude to a burglary”. Why he thought burglars would hide in a van, i don’t know.

So the lesson here boys and girls of the PI world is always be very aware of the “curtain twitchers”, there’s always one in every street.

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