The mummy detective

I nailed drug dealers while I was on maternity leave!

Published by: Laura Hinton
Published on: 10 November 2011

There was a crunch of tyres outside. Peering behind the curtain, I saw a removals van pull up next door.
‘Stop being such a nosy parker,' my hubby Rich, 25, chuckled.
‘The neighbours are moving in,' I said. ‘I like to know what's going on!' We'd lived in our three-bed council house for six years. With mainly elderly residents, it was nice and quiet - the perfect place to raise our newborn son Riley.
But our old neighbour had been a bit of a grump, so I was hoping for someone friendlier. It'd be lovely if I could make a new
friend while on maternity leave from my recruitment job.
‘I'm sure there's nothing to worry about,' Rich said, rolling his eyes. He was right. A young man and woman got out of the van and, a few days later, I bumped into the woman in the shared alleyway where our front doors were.
‘Hi,' I'm Elaine,' she grinned.
‘Stacie, and this is Riley,' I smiled.
‘My brother Cliff lives with me,' Elaine added.
‘Well, if either of you need anything, just shout,' I replied.
I couldn't wait to tell Rich. ‘She seemed friendly enough,' I said over dinner that night.
But a few nights later, I was fast asleep when screaming from outside jolted me awake. ‘What the hell?' I mumbled. Riley was grizzling in his cot, unhappy at being woken, too. It was 1.15am, and the hollering from our neighbours went on for hours.
It started again the next night, and the next! I could barely keep my eyes open looking after Riley, and Rich went to his quantity surveyor job like a zombie. But he was still trying to be reasonable.
‘Maybe they were having a moving-in party?' he suggested.
‘If it gets worse, I'll have a word.'
Later, I was sitting feeding Riley when I saw Cliff walking up the path. ‘Bet he had a groggy head this morning!' I tutted to myself.
About an hour later, I spotted him again when I was dusting. Curiosity got the better of me, so I nosed from behind the curtain. He just walked to the end of the path like before, as if he was waiting for someone. A man then appeared at the gate and handed him a package. ‘Odd,' I frowned.
When the same thing happened again that evening, it clicked. Secret packages, wary glances...
‘I know this sounds silly, but I think Cliff's a drug dealer,' I said to Rich, as he watched TV.
‘Don't be daft. You're not Miss Marple! I think your imagination's running away with you,' he said.
Yes, he was right. We lived in a residential area, not the criminal underworld. Lack of sleep was obviously sending me crazy!
But that weekend, Rich noticed Cliff doing his usual meet and greets. Finally convinced I might have been on to something, he got straight on the phone to the police.
‘Huh? You can't do anything?!' he spluttered. ‘Why on earth not?!'
When he hung up, he was shaking his head. ‘There's no proof,' he explained. ‘They can't just go around arresting people.'
‘I can't have Riley here with that going on next door,' I fretted.
I should have been enjoying my maternity leave. Instead, I was watching over my shoulder, afraid even to leave my own home. One day, I tried to take Riley to the park but, when I pushed him out in the alleyway, a man was banging on Cliff and Elaine's door with snarling pit bulls straining on leads.
‘I want to move,' I wept to Rich, later. He opened his mouth to reply... and, suddenly, we heard a commotion in the street. Rushing to the window, we saw a group of thugs standing in the street shouting at Elaine, who was hanging her head out the window.
‘Cliff's not here,' she yelled. Suddenly, I noticed a glint of metal amongst the baying crowd... ‘They've got a gun!' I hissed.
Rich dialled 999 and, soon after, a gun squad and helicopter arrived. Unfortunately, the thugs scrambled away just in time.
A policeman came to speak to us. ‘Tell me what I can do to get rid of them,' I demanded, voice shaking. ‘I'm not letting my son grow up next door to a drugs den!'
‘Build up a file of their comings and goings. We can use it against them in court,' he said.
So, arming myself with a notepad and pencil, I started my detailed log the next night.
‘Come to bed,' Rich begged.
‘Shhh!' I said, my ear glued to the wall. ‘I'm trying to hear what they're saying.' I was a mum on a mission!
For the next two months, I lived like that. I'd sit in the front room feeding Riley in one arm, and have the other free to record number plates of cars calling next door. ‘Mummy's becoming quite a policeman,' I giggled to my little boy. He gurgled away.
Finally, I called the officer round and handed him my bulging file of dates, times and names. ‘Wow,' he gasped. ‘You've built quite a case.'
‘Just being a good citizen,' I said.
A few days later, I got a call saying my dossier was perfect. They'd enough evidence to organise a raid on the house - but, first, they needed my help again!
Within a week, three plain-clothes policemen turned up at my house to wait until it was time to pounce. ‘Tea or coffee?' I whispered.
Then I busied myself with Riley, while dodging surveillance equipment being set
up in our bedroom. It was so exciting!
At 10.59am, the officers asked us to be quiet. They had to wait for one of the drug addicts to arrive before they could raid the property... Suddenly, they sprung into action.
Watching from the lounge window, I saw the policemen run from my house. Then, out of nowhere, came more and more. They were hidden in the bushes, behind cars... it was like a scene from The Bill!
They smashed down Cliff and Elaine's front door with a sledgehammer. Then Cliff was dragged outside. The enormity of it all hit me.
‘I've done it,' I whispered, hugging Riley and breaking
down in tears.
Four months later, I gave evidence in court. The judge praised my surveillance work, and I was even handed a police award.
Elaine Reynolds-Smith, 28, was found guilty of possessing cocaine, and permitting drugs to be dealt from her property. She was given a 12-month suspended sentence, and is barred from living in a council property for five years. Clifford Reynolds, 30, admitted possessing heroin and supplying class A drugs. He was jailed
for three years. And it was all thanks to my snooping!
Two years on, Rich and me
have another baby, five-month-old Keira - but my maternity leave has been a lot less eventful this time. For now at least, Detective Mummy is just busy with nappies rather than drugs busts!
Stacie Newton, 25, Leicester