Pensioner watering flowers for holiday neighbours is threatened by police with Tasers after being reported as a BURGLAR

By Sara Nelson
Last updated at 3:48 PM on 13th October 2011

A helpful pensioner who popped next door to water her holidaying neighbour’s plants was stunned to find herself confronted by police armed with Taser guns.

Patricia Cook was also picking up a few apples from the ground in her friend’s garden when she was suddenly faced by officers who had scaled a 7ft fence to challenge her.

The astonishing drama erupted after another neighbour rang 999 fearing that burglars had broken into the property in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.

Patricia Cook, 67, was watering her neighbour’s garden and collecting apples from the ground when she was confronted by police armed with Tasers

Mrs Cook said today: ‘I was mortified and so embarrassed about it all. It was a bit over the top to say the least.’

She had gone into her neighbour’s garden, opposite her own house, with her daughter Louise to water plants and pick some apples.

The neighbour, named only as Karen, had asked her to look after the house and garden while she was on holiday in Scotland.

But within ten minutes of their arrival two police cars with flashing lights had raced to the scene and there were three officers climbing over the garden fence.

Police armed with Tasers scaled a 7ft wall after another neighbour reported a burglar (file picture)

Mrs Cook, 67, said: ‘I go to that house every week.

‘My friend, Karen, went on holiday and asked if I would keep an eye on it – if I could water the plants.

‘She said Louise could come round too as she also knows her well.

‘We’d only been there about eight minutes. I had the watering can and Louise had picked up about four apples, which we were told we could take, when this voice from the other side of the fence asked us what we were up to.

‘I asked “What do you mean?”

‘At this point, I wasn’t sure who it was.

‘Next minute these police officers were scaling the fence with Taser guns, the whole lot.

‘There were two patrol cars parked skew-whiff on the road outside with their lights flashing.

‘If you break into someone’s house you’re hardly going to go and pick up a few bruised apples from the garden!

‘I showed them the letter Karen gave me to explain what we were doing there.

‘But they still insisted on taking down all our personal details – our names, dates of birth and addresses.

‘I was very angry – why should I be on their records when I’ve done nothing wrong?’

Mrs Cook has now sent a letter of complaint to Hertfordshire Police.

‘It’s such a waste of time and public money – the taxpayers are paying for this. I didn’t even get a sorry,’ she said.

‘One of the officers mentioned that a neighbour rang up. He said they were just doing a good job.’

‘I’ve lived here for more than 40 years. All it would have taken was someone to ask what I was doing.

‘My daughter tried ringing my neighbour but she was up north in Inverness and had no signal.

‘When she did find out her very first reaction was “How’s your mum?”

‘I was very upset that night. I’ve never ever broken the law in my life.’

A Hertfordshire Police spokesman said: ‘We understand that a complaint is pending and once this has been received we will look into the circumstances of the incident.

‘However, until this has been completed we are unable to make further comment.’

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