Before Christmas, our neighbourhood was plagued by a series of muggings. I say our neighbourhood: lest I be suspected of boasting, I should clarify that the term embraces not only our beloved Pimlico, but the foreign land that is the southern part of Belgravia. There, a lady was robbed of her earrings, the value of which was 10 times that of the Eustace Diamonds in the Trollope novel.

I know there has been inflation since 1871, but you don’t often see earrings like that around here. Nor are earrings of any kind often stolen. Crime is never terribly bad, considering we’re in a city, and the overall figures for 2011 were actually down on the year before. That didn’t stop residents, quite understandably, being worried.

There was more than the usual element of mystery to the case. Sometimes, the muggers would appear on a moped, sometimes on foot, sometimes singly, sometimes in pairs. But the police may have been too much for them. Several suspects have now been arrested. After a scuffle behind the front door of a council flat, broken down by a steel battering ram, one young man who was led away in handcuffs asked the officers to look after his cat, called Angel. Watson, observe the senti-mentality of the (allegedly) criminal mind.

* Subscribe to Country Life and save up to 41%