Our local independent toyshop was burgled last week.
The owners arrived to find the police stand by the remains of the door. Inside, toys were scattered all over the floor - all except the lego and playmobile. These burglars knew what they wanted - toys that were popular, and easy to sell for a reasonable price in a car boot sale on a Sunday afternoon, and difficult to trace.
The town has rallied round. We love this shop. It's all nooks and crannies, small spaces that are fine for children but adults have to squeeze through. It's owned by a family - and they love children almost as much as they love selling toys. There's a small train set just inside the door. Even a table outside with toys for children to play with as they pass. My granddaughter can spend half an hour playing with the toy food, leave the shop in disarray and depart with nothing more than a bottle of bubbles; and still she's welcomed back.
It took a few hours to clear up the mess. Meanwhile children came to the door and cried. But by early afternoon the front door was open and they were trading again.
Oh how heartless those burglars! Have they not been children?
Burglary is burglary - right? There's no defending it, just the urgency of punishment, retribution.
But is this burglary better or worse than breaking into a house and stealing personal treasures? Cameras? Laptops? Passports?
Is it better or worse than holding up a jewellers, terrifying staff and making off with rings and necklaces that will sell to the rich and careless?
Is it better or worse than bankers stealing millions of pounds of public money, then sitting back and insisting they still deserve bonuses?
It's all theft, and nobody is physically hurt. Does the motivation of poverty make one burglary more acceptable than one driven by greed?
I don't have any answers. I'm hugely proud of the way my town has responded to this one - the shop owners can have no doubt as to our affection for them. There is a cry for our burglars to by hung, drawn and quartered. But maybe, in the depths of our Wiltshire countryside, spitting feathers about those who steal lego, is a banker or two who cannot see that they, too, might have done more than their share of stealing.