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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 September 2005, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Mystery milk thief's cheeky notes
Milk stolen
Milk bottles are being whisked from doorsteps in Reading
Mystery surrounds the identity of a serial milk thief who has been leaving cheeky misspelled handwritten notes on the doorsteps of homes in Berkshire.

Some residents in Woodley, Reading, are both amused and annoyed about the prankster who signs his notes: "Do you like dry cerial?".

One elderly Beechwood Avenue couple has been targeted three times in two weeks.

After several complaints from people in Beechwood Avenue and Avon Place, Dairy Crest and police are now investigating.

You can't help laughing really but it creates huge inconvenience for some people
Resident Audrey Harding

Audrey Harding, 80, of Beechwood Avenue, revealed her elderly neighbours Alexander and Phyllis Burke, had milk bottles whisked from their doorsteps on two Thursdays in succession and then the following Friday.

She said: "They put a note through the letterbox saying: 'You don't know how lucky you are to get the things you want, they are taken for granted'.

"It was signed: 'From Your Friendly Milk Thief'.

"You can't help laughing really but it creates huge inconvenience for some people."

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said she believed a child was behind the milk snatching because of the "amateur handwriting of the notes".

She said: "The note just said: 'Do you like dry cerial? Hope so because we've drunk your milk. Yours Sincerely, Your Neighbourhood Milk Thief',"

Halt milk deliveries

"It's really quite annoying because I don't like to think people are walking around our garden.

"We have been here 40 years and this has only happened once before, 30 years ago, when a local fisherman took our bottle as he went off fishing and the milkman told us.

"My husband said that if it carries on we will have to stop our deliveries."

Dairy Crest said it was not charging customers for stolen pints and urged them to report all thefts to the police.

A spokesman said: "The theft of milk from the doorstep is a crime and we are actively working with police to apprehend the thieves responsible.

"Dairy Crest takes the stealing of milk from customers very seriously - as not only does it affect our customers but also damages the livelihood of the milkmen."

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