The thieving community across the county last night said it was in crisis as the ever-increasing demands of health and safety tookits toll on the criminal fraternity.
Gang leaders claim that they are getting so many compensation claims in from gang members who have injured themselves that they have no alternative but to insist on taking adequate health and safety measures.
“It’s tara boys”, said Kieran, a crook from Fintona. “In the olden days you could steal a whole lock of cattle in a couple of hours and still be in time for last orders. Now I’m not allowed to do it unless I’ve done a two-week course in feckin’ animal husbandry. What’s that all about? It’s almost enough to force you into an honest living”.
But master-thieves were quick to point out they were merely reacting to changes in society. Bill Fagin, the head villain of a gang of thieves from ‘somewhere near the Dooish mountain’, said,
“It’s not our fault. It’s the claims culture. I’m getting demands for compensation left, right and centre. I’ve one boy who’s claiming five grand for having made him ‘allergic to the dark’, and another claiming the same amount after the eejit swallowed nearly a litre of red diesel when he was siphoning it out of a digger near Glenelly, and had to have his stomach pumped. That’s why we now give them manual handling training on how to lift a stolen plasma TV. They might hurt their backs and make a claim. Some handlin’. Literally”.
He went on,
“We can’t have them boys stumbling about in the dark on a remote farm in Killyman or somewhere when they’re trying to steal a lorry. They might bump into something and injure themselves. That’s why they need to wear the hi-viz jackets. And put up floodlighting. Or even better, come back and do it in the daylight. Safety first boys, safety first”.
But most thieves have condemned the actions as being over the top, and for compromising their chances of a clean getaway.
“We had one boy breaking in through the first floor window of a factory in Lissan last week”, confided Hugh, a swindler from Tattyreagh. “But he took so long filling out his ‘Working at Height’ form and putting up scaffolding that he got caught. Jaysus, in the good old days we just climbed up the drainpipe”.
Fully-qualified thief Declan from Plumbridge, was resigned to the changes.
“Aye, I suppose now I’m all trained up I won’t injure myself. I was breaking and entering into a big house in Donaghmore last month and although the risk assessments took over an hour to complete, at least I knew I’d be safe”,
he said, before being led back to his prison cell to complete a two-year sentence.
A growing number of residents across Tyrone are making official complaints to mobile phone companies following the news that mobile phone coverage is steadily increasing and now covers 96% of the County.
“It’s tara”, grumbled 28 year old Ernest Johnson, an auto-pilot from Carrickmore. “My house was a blackspot for years. It was class. It gave me a great excuse not to call people back or to tell them I hadn’t picked up their voicemail. Now I’ve got no defence”.
Similar complaints have been made by other phone users, in particular about the former blackspot outside between Craigavon and Dungannon on the A4 which now has excellent coverage.
“It’s cat”, said Orla Milligan, a levitationist from Aughabrack. “I used to be able to time it nicely so that after five minutes on the phone to my ma I’d get cut off. Now I have to pretend and start shouting, ‘I’m going into a tunnel’. There’s no buckin’ tunnels there. The least them ‘uns at Vodafone can do is build one to help me out”.
Siobhan Fox, a panda trainer from Eglish, agreed.
“Round these parts we’re used to ending every call with ‘Hello?’ being yelled down the phone half a dozen times. This improved coverage isn’t good enough. I was on the phone to my brother for nearly an hour last night. Jaysus, that man talks shite. I ended up putting him on mute because a repeat of Lesser Spotted Ulster was coming on. Some handlin”.
One resident, Frank Cassidy, a part-time thief from Omagh, took matters into his own hands.
“Thon phone boys are cunning. They make these mobile phone masts to look like trees so you can’t notice them, but I’m wise to that. So I took a chainsaw to three of them up the Dooish Mountain. Huge feckers, about a 200 foot high. Turns out they were real trees after all. Come to think of it, they did look dead realistic”.
The Tyrone Society of Pub Quizmasters, which has 60,000 members, are staging a rally in Coalisland on Saturday to protest that people can now cheat at pub quizzes by sneakily Googling the answers under the table.