Two weeks ago our blue wheelie bin disappeared overnight from the pavement when I put it out for early collection. It has happened before (twice) and I'd put those events down to students.
The council replaced the bins when I told them about it. This time, I decided to let the police know about it as well.
Not that I expected anything to result from the report: it was hardly the crime of the year, but it could be part of a pattern and the PSNI needs to be aware of what's going on.
A week later a new bin was delivered, free of charge, from the city council.
They made no bones about replacing it. They could hardly care less so long as the new owner continued to use it appropriately and not to conceal dismembered body parts.
But the PSNI took the whole thing much more seriously. I received a letter from the Domestic Crime Management Unit saying how very sorry they were to learn that I had been a victim of crime and that every effort would be made to investigate the matter.
The letter offered a visit from a crime prevention officer and recommended the services of Victim Support for practical help and emotional support, quoting a telephone number.
It is a pity that expensive police resources are being used in this way.
It must be extremely galling for police officers to be lumbered with this kind of unnecessary and excessive effort, presumably to foster the impression of the police service as a sympathetic, caring organisation.
Then, just as I was getting my life back together again after the traumatic event of a fortnight ago, I discovered that the new blue bin I left out had been deliberately knocked over and its contents strewn all over the pavement.
Needless to say, I won't be reporting this episode to the PSNI. I couldn't take any more crocodile tears.
John Phillips, Belfast