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Exeter woman visited by police after complaining about footballs flying into her garden

A woman from Exeter has been visited by police after complaining about footballs from a nearby club coming into her garden.

Anny Kilbourne says she was hit in the face with one football – and was so upset she refused to return it.

A short while later police turned up at her house.


By this point Ms Kilbourne had already given two offending footballs away to a charity shop. She says she was too scared to answer calls from Devon and Cornwall Police.

I was too scared to even answer it because I was afraid they were going to cart me away in my nightclothes. I have spoken to them once, it was a very distressing experience.


She claims the police advised her to pay £26 to the Exeter Panthers as compensation.

In correspondence sent to the Bettys Mead resident, police wrote:

“The police have assessed the evidence available and have reasonable grounds to suspect that you have stolen two footballs from a local children’s football club”.

The letter continued: “You are now the subject of a police investigation”.

Police have since confirmed no further action will be taken.

Trespassing sign

Letters from the force also invited Ms Kilbourne for interview and asked if she needed a solicitor.

Following the exchange, the 56-year-old has questioned how Devon and Cornwall Police are using resources:

“They’re very limited in their ability to attend to, what I would call, more serious incidents and yet they apparently have time and resources to pursue me over two footballs”.

West Country received a statement from Devon and Cornwall Police saying that they find themselves frequently frustrated with entering neighbourhood disputes which parties are unable to resolve themselves.

Inspector Simon Arliss of the local Exeter policing team said:

“In this case we tried to find a solution that was acceptable, and Devon and Cornwall Police is duty bound to review the allegation being made of theft due to national crime recording rules. We have no intention of arresting Ms Kilbourne or issuing her with a fine.”

The Exeter Panthers have been approached for comment.

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