Come to think of it, the police were probably acting unlawfully, nicking bootlaces and braces. I remember thinking that at the time, but none of us mouthed off about it.
Does anyone else from 'back in the day' remember any times when someone actually 'talked back' to a copper?
At the time we thought the police were taking a bit of a liberty but we just went along with it. We just wanted to get down to the seafront and have a laugh. I remember there was some fuss in the papers regarding the legality of what they did but the Southend Police (and Essex Police in general) were hard cases not to be argued with. We ran into M & S, generally caused havoc,and knicked balls of string to tie up our boots.
On one occasion half a dozen of us were arrested running on to Dagenham East station. The police had two cars and dogs and we were handled roughly. The police station was next door to the trains, about a 100 yard walk, but they put us in vans to transport us. The only crime we had committed was for ticket evasion and we didn't have a clue what was going on. All dressed up, suited and booted , we were accused of a car garage robbery and there was a witness that said it was us. She even pointed me out directly. We knew we were innocent so there was a bit of back chat and one mate told to get rid of his chewing gum just spat it, at a distance, straight into a bin. Classic. The copper went wild but just at this point the real villains were brought into the station. They were Irish didicoys and looked nothing like us. We were told to go on our way without so much as an apology. We 'dined-out' on that story for years.