I didn’t plan to be a landlord. I bought my first house and was promptly offered a job abroad, so reluctantly, I chose to rent it out: when I came back, I found the house had made five times as much as I had, while the tenants were so happy and settled it seemed rude to send them packing. So I bought another thing to live in. That kept happening. Seven times, in fact. If only I had any skills I might have found a more dignified way to earn a living, but sadly I’m largely decorative.
Three of these places are in Ramsgate, and one of them got broken into between Christmas and New Year. I was at my brother-in-law’s, out in the country; chief advantage of which, aside from the magnificent cooking and company, is the complete lack of a phone signal. As I approached civilisation – or Sittingbourne, at least – my phone kept pinging. Mr Todd sneaked a peek.
“Gosh, 38 missed calls!”
“Perhaps I’ve won the lottery? Or the Orwell prize for journalism?”
But it was tenants, and my mum, and the police, asking me where the hell I was, because there’d been an awful brutal break in. Two men dressed in clown masks had taken a baseball bat to two front doors and smashed them to pieces, to relieve my friend and tenant of cash, her Christmas gin stash and bizarrely, her evening primrose oil. Police are looking for two thugs who keep crying at Bambi and hankering after those adorable shoes.
This happening on a Saturday night, I felt utterly helpless and useless. Two front doors were hanging off their hinges, six people for whom I feel responsible were effectively homeless, and there was nothing – nothing – I could do to help. I can’t mend doors or scare off bad guys. Thank goodness the police had made temporary repairs to both doors and supplied fearsome padlocks to keep said bad guys at bay.
I was incredibly grateful. But unsurprisingly, everyone decided to stay elsewhere until proper new doors could be fitted. This took longer than it should have, because Christmas, and weekend, and everyone with any skills and time was already super busy. I felt rotten keeping them waiting so long. But one week later it was fixed and everyone is safe again, although the two tiny children in the top flat are still traumatised and wretched, unsurprisingly.
I feel a hypocrite admitting this has shaken me badly, given it wasn’t my home that got smashed to bits and ransacked. But I do feel responsible for my tenants’ well-being, and properly awful that this has happened to them. I want to thank the police who take care of them so kindly and efficiently. They were absolutely brilliant.
And to the lumpen, cretinous thugs who decided to destroy someone’s festive season, I wish every pestilence upon you, thrush and lockjaw and scabies; may the money you stole bring you nothing but trouble: the drink, the very worst of maudlin drunkenness and hangovers. May the misery and fear you inflicted on a young family haunt you at your dying hour.
Also, your thighs look really weedy in those pictures. Try adding a leg day to your gym routine, scrawny. Clearly white isn’t your colour. And clown masks are so 2017. Get with the times. Must you be an embarrassment as well as a nuisance?
Police have appealed for anyone with information about the robbery at the Artillery Road property at 9.37pm on Saturday December 29, to come forward.
One man is described as a white man, wearing a white hooded jacket with black zip detailing, black bottoms and a ski mask and was believed to be carrying a knife.
The second man is described as wearing a jacket with either a light grey or green top half and a darker colour lower half, black combat trousers, black trainers and wearing a costume mask.
Officers are appealing for anyone with information to call Kent Police on 01843 222289 quoting 46/33677/18.
Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers in Kent anonymously on 0800 555 111.