Woman hits out at arrest over return of cricket ball

A mother spoke of her disbelief yesterday after she was arrested and detained at a police station for five hours after she refused to return a cricket ball she claimed damaged her car.

Lorretta Cole says she was trying to teach her neighbour's children a lesson after she claims the ball repeatedly landed on her property and even damaged her car.

The 47-year-old retrieved the 3.99 ball from land in front of her home in Baddesley Close, North Baddesley, Hampshire, and refused to give it back when asked by the father of the children.

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Mrs Cole was then visited on three occasions by police who attempted to persuade her to return the ball.

But after being warned that she faced being arrested for theft, the police arranged a date for her to be interviewed and arrested at a police station.

Mrs Cole said that at the police station she was detained for five hours while she was questioned, had her photograph, DNA swab and fingerprints taken.

Following the interview at Lyndhurst police station, Mrs Cole was released on police bail pending advice from the Crown Prosecution Service.

She said: "I couldn't believe it.

"I asked the police if I give the ball back, could I be given a reassurance that they speak to the parents. I wasn't given an assurance and it was left at that."

A Hampshire police spokeswoman said that officers visited Mrs Cole three times but on each occasion Mrs Cole was "obstructive" and refused.

The spokeswoman added that the length of time at the police station was prolonged while officers waited for Mrs Cole to arrange for a solicitor.

She added that it was police policy for DNA swabs, fingerprints and a photograph to be taken when someone is arrested.