Cops break into wrong house, leave note in magnetic fridge letters

Cops in Oldham, UK broke into the wrong house while searching for a fugitive; rather than leaving an official note or apology after smashing in the door, they used the magnetic letters on the fridge to spell out OLDHAM TASK FORCE CALLED.

"When I came home I noticed the fridge magnets had been rearranged and said: `OLDHAM TASK FORCE CALLED'. "These are for children, they're not for the police to leave a message they've raided your house."
Police's fridge-magnet calling card (Thanks, Marilyn!)


  1. Well, I hate that they broke into the wrong house. And I hate that they needed to break into a house at all. And I”d be pissed if it was my house.

    But, there must be at least one human involved for them to do something funny like this. It’d make a really funny plot point in a movie or a book (Sorry Cory, not pitching ideas, it’s just, well, ya know…)

    Sign o’ the times, mess with your mind….

  2. Oh get over it. Would it really be that much better had they used ink and paper instead of plastic and fridge? I think this is actually a warmer, more human response than a letter that began with, “Dear Sir or Madam, We regret the incident that occurred…”

  3. This is really funny. Also, I love it when someone has been wronged and they have to have a picture of themselves taken, in which they must stand by a relevant object and attempt to look upset and victimised.

  4. How do you know the police have been in your house in America?

    All your pets are shot dead and there’s piss on the toilet seat.

  5. Well, it could be worst, at least they didnt leave a message like “IM IN UR HOUSE PWNING UR DOORS”.

    And they didnt shoot his dog or anyone!

  6. Why so serious? That is fantastic! I know I might feel differently if it were my house but it isn’t. Complete with angled writing and an upside down ‘7’ for an ‘L’ when the copper couldn’t find one. A work of inappropriate genius.

  7. WULFO – you’re so right. It’s as if he doesn’t expect us to know that he had ranted about this for a couple of hours before thinking to look petrified next to his fridge for a photo.

    It also just occurred to me that the task force member who did that is probably hilarious and someone I’d like to befriend. He’s like that sassy sergeant in various movies who doesn’t play by the rules but is also always right.

    Back to the photo: tht kd cld mk rpblcn t f m. Lk t tht sss lbrl mpng nxt t hs frdg, upset about the use of his magnets!

  8. I’m a little amazed by the comments here. I’d be pissed too if the police smashed their way into my home by mistake then tried to make light of it in this way.

    The message even sounds like they’re bragging or something (maybe even a little menacing), certainly not an acceptable apology.

    I’m assuming there’s probably more to this than the extract above (the blog won’t open for me) and a proper apology was issued but even so, not how I’d expect the guardians of law and order to behave.

  9. They really shouldn’t be messing with his stuff.
    What if they had arranged his Hot Wheels or train set collection to form a message, or left one in lipstick on his bathroom mirror? It’d be the same thing, eh?
    Public servants ought to behave in a respectable manner, esp. in Britain.
    Even so it’s kinda funny.

  10. Everyone who believes this is acceptable should go lay down on the curb and invite passers by to stomp their faces in. Don’t be ashamed of being a victim, let the world know!

  11. well, should I ever have to be a victim of police brutality, this is the kind of victim I want to be :)

    like other said, this tongue in cheek note is such a deeply humane thing to do that everybody should feel good about the human race. I, for one, did :)

  12. I can’t believe the comments left here. The police break into a house. When the owner returns to find police in his garden and the backdoor smashed off its hinges, they police present refuse to explain what happened. He travels to the police station looking for an explanation, which he still does not receive, and returns home to find this?

    I don’t think the message is warm and fuzzy and evidence of humanity at all – I find it quite chilling that police would think it acceptable to leave such a message.

    Think about it – if the police raided your house, how would you feel?

  13. Mistakes happen, but the question is did they pay for any damage that was do? Did he get the names and badge numbers of the cops involved?

    I think the note was arrogant as if to say “If your not cop you little people” we can bust into your house whenever we feel like it.

    The police should have had someone there with a checkbook in hand to pay for damages and an apology.

  14. Funny how the letters is arranged in one way on the picture, and another on the video. Magic magnetic letters?

    I hope they find the person responsible, and punish him for having a sense of humor!

  15. MLENNOX:

    We’re not glad the police broke into his house. But that’s a separate issue.

    In fact, there ought to be apologies and explanations all around from the every law enforcement entity involved.

    I think – and i could be wrong, and I won’t attempt to really speak for everyone – is that in an era of jackboot authoritarianism and otherwise inhuman/impersonal/stonefaced-godfearing-unthinking Republican-fearmongering lockstep mentality, it’s possibly a good sign that someone involved might actually be a human being with a sense of humor.

    Then again, “we don’t see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.”

  16. “…an era of jackboot authoritarianism and otherwise inhuman/impersonal/stonefaced-godfearing-unthinking Republican-fearmongering lockstep mentality…”

    An ERA? I think you’re talking about human existence for the last 3000 years.

  17. @guruscotty

    Thanks, I can see what you are saying but for me its quite chilling that the police would think it acceptable not only to reenter someones house illegally but to leave such a message and in such a manner

    Then again, “we don’t see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.”


  18. On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being outrage, 5 being it’s funny, I’m putting this down as 4. But it’s not my house, and I probably would be a 3 if it was mine.

    I concur with “WeightedCompanionCube” that would have put me to 5. I also would have accepted, “THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH”.

  19. Too bad the cops ran out of L’s…

    “LOLOLOLOLOLOL” would have been a great signature.

    (But, you know, not really and all that.)

  20. Armed strangers break into your house and leave a note for you on the fridge using your child’s toy, and this is funny?

    The use of a calling card is a terror tactic, not a joke.

    The LAPD Rampart division would hand out plaques with calling cards to team members who had killed or wounded suspects. Rampart was disbanded when it was discovered just how much evidence was being planted by the cops.

    This is not a sign that someone on the local police force is “humane” or has a sense of humor. This is a sign that the local police is idolizing the use of terror and military tactics on a civilian population.

    But, hey, at least the guy’s house didn’t get shot up, his wife wasn’t killed, or his family pets, and at least he didn’t try to defend himself against an armed intruder and end up in prison. It could have been worse.

  21. What they did was leave an impromptu calling card like a movie hit man would leave an Ace of Spades card or some token of intimidation at the site of his victim.
    A real heartfelt human response would have been to have a commander wait for the couple explain what happened and then promptly fix his freaking door.

    Seriously, what if this guy’s little kid just spelled her own name on the fridge, and was super proud of it, and then some dumb-ass police squad comes in and rearrange it on the poor little tyke.

    It’s their stuff and the police have no business touching anything in the house.

    Why can’t these swat teams in UK and here in USA just get some intel on the house they want to enter so they can be sure its the right house.

  22. REKINOM, I have to say that doesn’t seem far off. Especially since football hooligans have used the exact same “calling card” tactic on their “victims”.

    That may not have been the intent, but it is within the realm of possibility.

  23. Armed strangers break into your house and leave a note for you on the fridge using your child’s toy, and this is funny?

    Given that the police here still haven’t caught up with their American counterparts, it’s very unlikely they were armed.

    A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “Acting on the basis of intelligence, officers entered the house as part of a search for a wanted man who had been recalled to prison. The wanted man was not there but was later found and arrested at a nearby address.
    “As regards the alleged use of fridge magnets, we are currently looking into this aspect of the incident. An inspector will now visit the man’s house to discuss this with him.”

  24. Funny? Depends on your sense of humor.

    Police can and do make mistakes, the way they respond to mistakes is where they get to show professionalism and compassion to those they serve.

    They stayed (assuming they hadn’t just done the raid) to protect the persons belongings since the door was busted in.

    Entering the residence a second time to leave the magnetic message is simply wrong.

    Last but not least, I hope the police had the door properly repaired and a heartfelt apology should be given to the homeowners.

    Police should be responsible for their actions and that includes making things right if they make mistakes.


  25. if you can afford it, fortify your house. Takes a little thinking (fire emergencies etc.), but it’s doable. Easier in the country of course. Anything you DON’T want them to find should always be concealed anyway. Truthfully though, it doesn’t pay to be too attached to anything material in the first place. Should also know what rules of evidence apply where you live.

  26. I can’t believe the casual humour that this is being described with, especially by commenters who I would expect more of. Really, I’m mystified as to how this is remotely funny.

    Talia, really?

    Ken, no they should have used their own pen and paper, or an official notice. They have utility belts, and as they aren’t filled with guns or bullets, a pen is the least we could hope for.

    Immortal Ping, Deeply humane? Not deeply insensitive to the fact that this guy’s privacy and the sanctity of his home has been violated to no good end? How is this any different to a stalker leaving a note in your panty drawer?

    This is vastly inappropriate (I hate that phrase, but there is no other for this case), and completely insensitive to the trauma of finding your home broken into and your family’s privacy re-arranged on the fridge by some douche who thinks he’s got the human touch.
    Just get out of the house as quickly and as quietly as possible, and either have an officer greet me and explain the situation politely, or leave a clear, polite note in a tone of appropriate restitution (you have, after all, just broken into my house with no cause) and then make reassurances that my property will be restored to its previous condition asap. And get out of my house!

    Bad coppers, bad commentors.. tsk tsk!

    Weighted Companion Cube(11) gets a pass, that was quite funny.

  27. Back in high school my parents were on vacation and I came home to find burglars had smashed the front door into little bits (in the middle of the day.)

    Luckily they got spooked and took off without taking anything. The police apparently showed up later on and left a post it note on the living room table “police were here.. number is..” and that’s it.

    The door was left WIDE OPEN for probably 7 or 8 hours and I had no way of replacing it so I screwed the pieces back together with over 400 screws.

    I couldn’t believe the police just left it like that. It’s a miracle noone took anything.

  28. yes, I do believe that humanity of someone resides in choosing to do something funny even in the most serious of times.
    and guruscotty said it best: in a world where you expect the cops to be the most dreadful face of authority, a police officer that writes an apology in magnetic letters on the fridge is my favourite kind of police officer.

    btw, police entered in that house chasing a bad guy. would you expect a bad guy to respect your privacy? do you think he would knock at the door and say “hey man, mind if I hide for a while inside your private, police free house?”

    the story reminds me of a friend who flooded an entire building in Ghent, Belgium. Firefighters come with the police, they force the window without damage, they fix the leaking pipe, they clean up the water inside the apartment, they search through the drawers to find a telephone number to reach my friend, they ignore the weed stash inside one of the drawers and they leave peacefully. neat, ha?

  29. Police bosses have launched an investigation.

    as opposed to:

    Police have said “chill out”, the officer in question has a great sense of humour and is super humane.


  30. Sorry folks, I did mention Republicans, even though I knew damn well this took place in England.

    What with all the photographers being called terrorists in England as well as America, I lumped the authoritarian-types together. That, and I am sadly uninformed about the state of politics in the UK, and wouldn’t know whether the Tories or Whigs or whatever were the bad guys.

    Wish we had Tories and Whigs. Much better names than Democrats and Republicans – though the level of corruption is likely just as sickening.

  31. Agree with Ward that police make mistakes, and the important thing is in how they follow up.

    A friend of mine’s house was broken into by the DEA years ago; the agents had the house number wrong. They trashed the place looking for evidence before realizing their mistake, then just left–no note, no nothing. My friend and his roommate asked for an apology, and the DEA agent refused. My friend was lucky enough to have a close friend who was a federal agent, who worked backdoor channels to get the dickhead DEA guy to give an apology. No dice. So friend went to the media, which gobbled up the story of clean-cut well-spoken college student being refused an apology by rogue DEA agents. Dickhead finally choked out an apology. I wonder if that DEA guy ever realized how much harm he’d done his organization’s image.

  32. Hmm.. Article says nothing about the message NOT being there the first time, only that they noticed it after the police left. Most probably some wise- ass (still thinking their fugitive might return) left the note as part of a scare tactic.

    The message was not removed after learning of their mistake.

    This is my guess.

    And of course, police do sometimes get the wrong address. I find it funny that police mistakes that result in the offender not being punished for something= win to many people but police mistakes that affect them negatively= egregious abuse of power, etc.

  33. GuruScotty @34: We haven’t had Whigs since the 19th century. They became the Liberal Party and were eclipsed by Labour during the 20th century. The Tories are still around though, and are always the bad guys.

  34. @#38: Glamour shot was exactly what I was thinking. For everyone who was down on the kid for looking too serious, he sure does look like he’s messing with you.

  35. Given how often this seems to happen, shouldn’t the police have a pad of post-its with check boxes they can quickly fill out and leave at the scene?

    The ____________ Police came by and you were out. Sorry that we:

    -Got the wrong address.

    -Broke your dead-bolts.

    -Dislodged your door from it’s frame.

    -Muddied your foyer.

    -Ransacked your place.

    -Killed your pets.

    -Shot your elderly _________.

    -Killed your kids.

    -Tased your neighbors.

    -Trashed your valuable _________.

    -Smoked your stash.

    -Drank your _________.

    -Ate all of your _________. (It was delicious!)

    -Played with your fridge magnets.

    -Went through your lingerie, you kinky bastard!

    -Looked up your girlfriend’s number so we can call her later.

    -Used your facilities (leaving tiny hairs on your _______.)

    -Surfed your internets, looking for pron.

    -Responded inappropriately to several of your emails.

    -Made several snarky blog posts in your name.

    -Helped ourselves to some of your coffees. (It’s complimentary, right? BTW, Why don’t you have iced espresso?)

    -Invited some of our friends over and then we really trashed the place.

    -_______________________________________________________. (Miscellaneous. Use the back for more room.)

    If you wish to file a complaint (don’t mind our laughter) please contact _____________ of the complaints division. Thank you!


    Something else to chew on: If “coalition” soldiers in Iraq used a similar sense of humor when breaking and entering citizens homes, would you still find it funny?

  36. hmmm… I wonder what kind of note the cops would have left if that guy had those poetry magnets instead?

  37. They could have written it with a finger on the mirror so that the message would be revealed when you get out of the shower. That is almost equally creepy.

  38. No Whigs since the 19th century? Where’s the fun in that?

    No wonder the kid by the refrigerator looks so glum.A complete and utter lack of political parties with silly names. Except for the Tories, who are bad guys anyway.

  39. If it really was the police who broke in, and it really was the police who left the note, then maybe the point wasn’t humor but simply a rushed attempt to inform the owner who was responsible, on the way to the right house.

  40. Well, it’s better than shooting the message into the wall using bullet holes as a dot matrix font.

  41. I think if this happened to me, that would be the little smile after the frustration of having my house burst upon. The problem here should be that they broke into the wrong house – I’m sure it happens often enough, but they should work toward minimizing such incidents. “Professionalism in note-leaving” really shouldn’t be the issue. Professionalism is important when, say, you’re being strip-searched. Being left a note? I don’t know. I’d rather see something a little more fun.

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