Joby in prison uniform.
A retired police officer went back into service for one day only to ‘arrest’ a senior care home nurse in a fun ploy to raise hundreds of pounds for a Hampshire charity.
‘Detective Inspector’ John Arbor ‘surprised’ Joby Varghese Thekken Vazhakala by ‘arresting him and holding him in custody’ at Colten Care’s Abbotts Barton in Winchester.
Joby was at a staff meeting during his morning shift when John, wearing a mock black-and-white police hat, approached him.
He ‘formally charged’ Joby with what he described as ‘offences of a most serious kind’ including ‘smiling too much’ and ‘not having any grey hair at his age’.
Joby was then ‘detained’ in an Abbotts Barton ‘cell’, forced to wear a prison uniform and told that he would need to raise bail money of £300 before he could be released.
A jokey message was circulated around the home confirming the arrest had been made and explaining that Joby would be held in custody until bail was received.
During his ‘incarceration’, Joby was put to work by various ‘prison officers’, carrying out tasks such as peeling potatoes for the kitchen and shredding paper for the home’s administration team.
Issuing an ‘urgent appeal’, Dee Lovewell, Abbotts Barton Home Manager, said: “I am calling for support to raise the £300 bail money so that Mr Varghese Thekken Vazhakala may be released under caution until his court hearing. He is a father of two and lives with his wife in Hampshire. Those close to him describe him as a friendly and likable person. Everyone at the home is shocked by this turn of events.”
While Joby laboured away in ‘jail’, residents and colleagues responded to Dee’s appeal by pledging contributions to the bail fund.
Joby was also allowed a ‘burner phone’ so he could quickly ring out for any donations from friends and contacts.
In short order, more than £450 was raised, all for the home’s nominated charity, Winchester Live At Home.
On his release, Joby said: “It was all for a good cause but I never want to peel another potato again!”
And resident John, ‘Detective Inspector Arbor’ on the day, said: “It took me back to my days of working in the police force. I was nervous to arrest Joby but I had fun doing it.”
The aim of Winchester Live At Home is to help older people living in their own homes to maintain independent living and well-being for as long as possible.