On commodities, false tax savings, and raising crime in the British countryside

Friday morning (30Jan09), a PC from the Thames Valley Police station came to take a second statement on the attempted robbery of our humble 15-year-old  Honda. Apparently they caught some Mr Lee and they have a fingerprint match.

Funny enough, the PC didn’t know that the car was stolen again (this time for good) on 31st August. The fact that the car had the same license number and I was informed by the police when they found it 3 days after, beggars believe.

Anyway, safe and quiet Buckinghamshire is getting a bit messier. At least for us, who moved from noisy Westbourne Grove, London.

But then, we left early around 7h45am for work on Saturday morning, and to our surprise, our neighbour’s little bay window had been ripped up and they had stolen half of it. We checked ours and they tried to push it up, but his window got the lion’s share. Safe as houses, they say.

But I started thinking about it all.

First, the fact that the council switches off the street lights after 12am and the whole town (other than the high street) sinks into the darkness (including highways) just to safe money, is a truly false economy. I bet, the aggregated cost in private lighting, insurance premium raises (in our case, car insurance up £800, from £400), and the not-so-obvious, not-so-efficient increase in policing costs, is higher than the cost of keeping the lights up all night.

Second, these guys, sneaking at 3h30am, were old news. Lead stealing? Sooo last spring… They should have checked first with their buyer before getting into trouble. Lead prices, as most underground stuff other than gold, has dropped in price since the global recession started. Researching the pointlessness of their act, I found an interesting chart at InfoMine:

Dynamic_fChart_cPrice

Wrong timing for stealing, sorry, selling lead? I think so.

Which brings me to my third point, the guys weren’t that smart.
Our neighbour was lucky enough to hear them doing their thing, and as they ran away (with half the lead roof, by the way), one of the chaps dropped his mobile phone.

Enough to convict them of a stupidity crime? I don’t know, but given our own experience with the Thames Valley Police, I wouldn’t bet on it.

A different matter is that I don’t really know what type of phone they dropped, but it all might be that it was a BlackBerry, after all we are in the so called “stockbroker belt”.

I tell you my conclusion. I think they were ex-Lehman and ex-Bear Stearns analysts hoarding on metals before we all realise that Jim Rogers is right and the fundamentals are still in place. I think that the commodities super-cycle he’s been preaching for the last years is gonna start hitting us back soon. Very soon.

.calvin

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