Extract from an interview with Malcolm Pummnell, foreman at Chuter's Chamois Leather Mill (Garratt Copper MIll Plough Lane).
He lived in the mill house, and this incident took place in the 195Os.
One morning we awoke and there were voices, and I said to my wife "There's somebody around". So she got up (she always had to get up and look out because I'm shortsighted)."Oh" she said "There are a couple of men standing over by the office." It was just getting light and we could see them there. So I said "Probably a traveller or something," and then I sort of turned and started to doze, and thought "That's funny, it can't be anybody there because the gates are locked." So then we woke up and realised, so I rang up Scotland Yard and told them. ......(The police car came) up the lane sirens blaring and head lights you know. Of course they, the two blokes climbed out, skedaddled. I unlocked the gates and in came the policemen, and I said "Gone up there," and they were climbing over a very high gate, and there was another policeman, they weren't so soft as they looked at that time. There was another policeman coming in to meet them from Plough Lane with a truncheon. So there was one on top of the gate, and this bobby with me charging up to him.
There was a bit of a fight going on and then he said "Catch him 'Arry 'e kicked me on the nose." I always remember that. You know it really was a Comic Cuts affair. Well, the two gentlemen who'd done the breaking in jumped into the river Wandle and swam or waded across onto the football ground. They must have stunk something awful, filthy. Anyway the police all went round to Durnsford Road and then there was silence for a bit. So I marched back to the house, and my little kids, they were only small then, they came out with little sticks to help. They were wide awake then. My wife said "Those men have just climbed into the mill." They'd crossed the overflow weir, and gone in where the waterwheel was. I rang up Scotland Yard the in a very short time all the police came back again, a van load of police came and their dog handler came in another van. My little dog was there so I took her indoors, I didn't want a dog fight, and in that short time the police dog found those men. They were hiding up in the roof ehind the water tank, one with a badly cut head, and both very wet and covered in mud.