After several years of watching I realised that the likelihood of recognising anybody was slim, given that most of the time I am too wrapped up in my own thoughts to notice anything going on around me.
Twenty years ago I dated a farmer called Tony. He was approached by a friend who, knowing that he could use the money, asked if he wanted to take part in a robbery of a post office in a nearby village. He'd done a few before, he said, and they had much less security than banks and just as much available cash. Tony declined.
A month later, Tony was watching Crimewatch and there was the picture of his friend on the screen, having successfully robbed the post office of £10,000 but being caught face-on by the security camera before he had donned his balaclava. Stupid, stupid man, he thought, that has to be at least 2 years inside without a doubt. Everybody around here knows who he is.
Three weeks later he bumped in to his friend on the street.
Tony: "What the hell are you still doing out? Weren't you on Crimewatch?"
Friend: "Yeah, gave me a bit of a fright. But when I was out doing my shopping the next day, I bumped in to half a dozen people who said 'Ere, I saw you on telly last night. Nice photo, mate!' And I haven't heard anything since. Like my new watch?"
I guess it pays to be liked.
Although I have virtually stopped watching Crimewatch altogether, something that has stayed with me are the reconstructions. Accuse me of having an over-active imagination if you will (guilty, as charged) but ever since I started watching the program and I am walking home late at night, I feel as though I am in a Crimewatch reconstruction to the point where I can actually hear the voice-over.
Nick Ross: "And on to our next mystery - have you seen this woman? Her name is Kabbalah Rookie, she's in her late thirties and was last seen on Wednesday night walking home from the train station.
Sue Cook: "Known as a bit of a recluse, she was the type of person who kept herself to herself and was rarely seen even by her neighbours. We know little of her contacts but knew that she took the train in to central London at least once a week and returned home late at night.
Nick Ross: "Passengers remember seeing her at 11:45 pm exiting the train at her home town, and she looked very pleased with herself - possibly because of an encounter she'd had on the train or earlier in the evening, or possibly because she had chosen the carriage doors which stopped precisely opposite the station exit, unlike the other passengers in the carriage who rather foolishly opted for the doors further down.
Sue Cook: "She then walked over the bridge, stopping at a convenience store on the way home to buy some milk. The shopkeeper said that she was very cheerful and couldn't understand why he had never seen her with a boyfriend. Are you her boyfriend? Perhaps you have taken her away on a whirlwind cruise without telling her family. If so, please get in touch.
Nick Ross: Or are you her friend? Did she have any friends? Has she ever had any friends? We suspect that she spent most of her time on the Internet, blogging and reading emails.
Sue Cook: Kabbalah Rookie was last seen walking up a dark alleyway near to her home. She was said to have had a faraway look in her eyes. Maybe she was not quite paying attention and fell in to a hedge. Did you see her reach the top of her hill? The passer-by reported her as being out of breath - perhaps you heard what you thought was a knackered fox. It may well have been the last moments of Kabbalah Rookie.
Nick Ross: Detectives on the scene are not able to determine whether she reached home - her house was in total disarray and may have been ransacked as most of her possessions appeared to be missing. If you have any information, please dial the number below. Oh and remember: Don't have nightmares, do sleep well.