What a tool
It’s a Boy’s Own gift that will be stuffed into thousands of Christmas stockings, but a retired brigadier has discovered that the credit card-sized toolkit — complete with 5cm (2in) blade, compass, tweezers and toothpick — could put the recipients on the wrong side of the law.
Tom Foulkes, 56, who spent 35 years working for the Ministry of Defence developing real weapons, was arrested, locked up and had his fingerprints and DNA sample taken after the kit was discovered in his overnight bag by police.
The former Royal Engineer was preparing to board a Paris-bound train at Waterloo when an X-ray machine alarm was triggered by the toolkit. He was hauled from the station, placed in a cage in a van and taken to a police station for questioning. Four hours later he was released and cautioned after admitting to possessing an offensive weapon; Mr Foulkes had seen it as something with which to sharpen pencils and cut off luggage labels, and that his wife occasionally used to pluck her eyebrows.
Mr Foulkes aired his grievance in a letter to The Times. Yesterday he revealed more about his ordeal. “The whole thing was an absolute farce,” he said. “I’m now on the police database. They have photographs of me and records of my DNA and my fingerprints, all because I was carrying this useful little tool.” (The Times)
Sorry Sir - but you are also at fault, not for carrying the blade but for accepting the caution. If you had stood up to the bullies and demanded your day in court then not only would you probably have got away with it but also you would have done your bit to curb their behaviour. Not as easy as accepting a caution, and I'm not saying I would do it either, but that would be the right thing to have done.