A CREWE man has lodged an official complaint with police claiming he has been the victim of a reign of terror after a simple identification procedure was botched.
Richard Hawkes's home in Mossford Avenue has been the target of several arson attempts, and a string of other attacks which have resulted in broken windows, after he pointed out men he believed had stolen panels from his elderly neighbour's shed in January.
Mr Hawkes, 38, says the incident turned into a farce after the alleged thieves recognised him as he was identifying them in a routine street-side operation.
He explained: 'The police came and told me that they had arrested two men on the street who they believed had stolen my elderly neighbour's shed and would I go and identify them.
'I went with them in the police Range Rover and everything seemed to be going OK. It was night-time and they put their full beam on and seemed to be following police procedure, until one of them put the inside light on to make some notes. Unfortunately, the two guys were able to see into the car to identify me and people have been making my life as uncomfortable as possible ever since.'
Mr Hawkes, who models balloons at children's parties added: 'I can't even move house because part of the agree-ment when I bought it off the council was that I stay here for another two years.
'There is only a certain amount one person can cope with. Part of my concern is obviously the damage to my property and the stress caused to my partner and myself, but it is also about the failure of the police to protect a witness.'
He added: 'The police have installed a CCTV camera but what good is that when the culprits wear baseball caps and hooded tops?'
Chief Inspector Robin Crorie of Crewe Police is aware of the complaint Mr Hawkes has made against the force.
He said: 'We always respond to people and sometimes we get it wrong and we take that on the chin. Mr Hawkes was making a positive complaint. He is quite a determined guy and he is making a stand in Mossford Avenue. It is useful to us to hear about the problems so that we can prevent future incidents.'
He added: 'We have got seven community wardens now and they will be able to work closely with the community and identify problems that may not have been reported to the police.'
Two men have been found guilty of witness intimidation in connection with attacks on Mr Hawkes's home and were each sentenced to 250 hours of community service.