Professional mediator keeps burglar talking

Viv Hulland

Viv Hulland, a professional mediator, came across a burglar in her kitchen in the middle of the night. Instead of panicking, she decided to keep him talking until the police arrived. The 54-year-old said she could see the man was scared, so she asked him to sit down for a chat.

So is this the oddest way to treat a burglar?

Hulland told the Daily Telegraph that she and her husband had heard noises downstairs at 2am, so had called the police before going to investigate. They found the 17-year-old balaclava-clad intruder in the kitchen and kept him talking for 15 minutes.

The Yorkshire Evening Post reported that Hulland met the burglar again after he was given a nine-month referral order. The meeting was part of a restorative justice initiative which brings criminals together with their victims in an effort to get them to appreciate the impact of their actions.

She told him that he had broken in on the day of her mother's funeral, and upset and scared her. He apologised and said he wouldn't do it again.

Weird reactions

It seems like an odd approach - to sit down with a burglar for a chat on discovering him prowling around your kitchen - but sometimes you never know how you will react under pressure.

A woman in Los Angeles woke up to find a burglar in her bedroom earlier this month, and when he reached for her wrist to remove her watch she picked up the axe she keeps by the bed, and chased him off down the hall. The woman was a practiced axe thrower.

Last week it was the turn of a homeowner in Hull to come across a burglar. He went to the bathroom in the middle of the night and found a man had become wedged in the window while trying to break in. He didn't have to think too hard abut how he was going to react because the burglar himself asked him to call the police.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts this week, a man peered through the window into his local corner shop and saw a robber pointing a gun at the owner. Instead of calling the police, as the robber ran out of the store, he stuck out his artificial leg and tripped him over. Then he and the shop owner wrestled the man to the ground and called the police.

But perhaps the oddest reaction was when a man in Edinburgh returned home from a New Year's Eve party a few years ago to find a man in his home. He ran at him, at which point the burglar bolted and jumped out of a window. The homeowner admitted that it probably helped that the party had been a fancy dress affair, and that he was dressed as Thor.
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