An estate agent who apparently found a burglar in a property as a viewing was about to take place has been told that police have dropped the case.
Joss Hatcher-Davis, senior lettings negotiator at Strutt & Parker in Kensington, London, has recounted the incident in the London Standard’s ‘diary of an estate agent’ column.
The column is known for somewhat imaginatively inflating estate agents’ experiences, but Strutt & Parker last night confirmed to EYE that the incident really did happen, and only recently – and that police have dropped the investigation.
Hatcher-Davis said in his “diary” that he had gone to a viewing, only to find he could not access the property.
“My applicants arrive and I explain the situation. Fortunately, they are a lovely couple and have a son who’s my age, so they go off to get lunch while I keep trying to get in.
“I call the landlord, who only lives around the corner and is equally as lovely as the couple. He arrives within 15 minutes with his set of keys — and he can’t get in either…
“We walk around the outside of the house and realise there has been a break-in. The landlord is tall and easily opens the broken window. He suggests that I climb through as I am smaller, so in I go.
“Everything in the house worth taking has been completely boxed up, clearly by a burglar. The landlord calls his builder, who comes straight over to fix the window.
“With my applicants 15 minutes away, I try to make the house as presentable as possible. I go into the second reception room and the smallest cupboard underneath the TV is ajar.
“I try to close it but it won’t shut. That’s odd. I give it another push, it still won’t shut. I give it a real slam and suddenly, to my complete terror, an arm comes out of the cupboard.
“As any strapping young man would do, I scream and run for it.
“I find the builder and he watches the back of the house while I watch the front and call the police. They arrive and go into the house, open the cupboard, make an arrest and bring out the suspect — a female no more than 5ft tall.
“I suppose I will see her in court. I go back to the office to share my story, resigning myself to being the subject of my colleagues’ jokes for the foreseeable future.”
However, yesterday evening Strutt & Parker confirmed that while the alleged incident did appear to have happened – in late August – their negotiator is unlikely to have to give evidence in court.
The spokesperson told EYE: “Joss gave a statement to police following the incident but has now been officially informed that the case had been discontinued.
“We’ve heard of agents setting off burglar alarms but never one who found a burglar in situ.”