May 7, 2011

NEW ZEALAND: 91-year-old crimefighter told to stay home

WELLINGTON / Agence France Presse / May 7, 2011

A 91-year-old New Zealand war veteran says he has been forced to put his new career as a modern-day Batman on hold because he is not allowed to be out fighting crime alone at night.

John Bray considers he is more than qualified to deal with the evildoers in the North Island town of Waipawa, having served with the Long Range Desert Group, a reconnaissance and raiding unit in north Africa in World War II.

So he enlisted as a member of the local community patrol, an organisation which acts as "the eyes and ears" of the police, cruising the streets at night, reporting any suspicious activity.

Like Batman, he started out with a partner but decided to go solo when his Robin equivalent, a man in his late 80s, kept falling asleep on duty. Photo courtesy: Dominion Post

Now he has been told by the local head of the community patrol organisation that he cannot work alone and he must find a new sidekick if he wants to get back on the roster.

"I want to keep going so now I have to find a new partner," he told AFP, describing his crimefighting role as a success, driving through the streets at night armed only with a spotlight and mobile phone.

"Definitely, it's been a success. It keeps the police informed of anything that's going on."

Copyright © 2011 AFP.