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Mother arrested after ‘stealing ball’

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Mrs Cole said that at the police station she was detained for five hours while she was questioned, had her photograph, DNA swab and fingerprints taken. Photo: SOLENT

Lorretta Cole says she was trying to teach her neighbour’s children a lesson after she claims the ball repeatedly landed on her property and even damaged her car.

The 47-year-old retrieved the £3.99 ball from land in front of her home in Baddesley Close, North Baddesley, Hampshire, and refused to give it back when asked by the father of the children.

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Mrs Cole was then visited on three occasions by police who attempted to persuade her to return the ball.

But after being warned that she faced being arrested for theft, the police arranged a date for her to be interviewed and arrested at a police station.

Mrs Cole said that at the police station she was detained for five hours while she was questioned, had her photograph, DNA swab and fingerprints taken.

Following the interview at Lyndhurst police station, Mrs Cole was released on police bail pending advice from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

She told the Southern Daily Echo newspaper: ”I couldn’t believe it.

”I asked the police if I give the ball back, could I be given a reassurance that they speak to the parents. I wasn’t given an assurance and it was left at that.”

A Hampshire police spokeswoman said that officers visited Mrs Cole three times in a bid to have the ball returned but on each occasion Mrs Cole was ”obstructive” and refused.

The spokeswoman added that the length of time at the police station was prolonged while officers waited for Mrs Cole to arrange for a solicitor to be present.

She added that it was police policy for DNA swabs, fingerprints and a photograph to be taken when someone is arrested.

The spokeswoman said: ”A police officer and a PCSO attended an address in Baddesley Close, North Baddesley on Tuesday June 15 following the report of the theft of a child’s cricket ball by a neighbour.

”The officers spoke to the suspect, a 47-year-old woman, and asked her to return the ball which she had picked up from a grassed area outside of her home.

”The suspect was obstructive towards police and refused to return the ball.

”The decision was made by the officers who attended to give the suspect time to calm down and to reconsider her actions.

”They then returned to the address five days later along with acting sergeant Steve Wildridge to again explain the situation to the suspect and to ask her to consider the action police would be forced to take if she continued to refuse to hand back the ball.

”She was made aware that the incident would have to be treated as theft if she continued to keep the ball but that it would be much better for all involved if it could be dealt with by way of a common sense approach.

”After continuing to refuse to return the ball the suspect was arrested and bailed to attend Lyndhurst police station on July 2. The ball was seized by police as evidence.

”Mrs Cole was given the opportunity to return the ball a number of times and if this had happened no further action would have been taken.

”However she left the officers attending with no alternative choice but to take action.

”She has now been bailed pending CPS advice to return to Lyndhurst police station on August 3.”

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