Placing a tea-time meal of beans-on-toast in front of her frail 86-year-old mother Betty, Ros Figg glanced out of the dining room window to see two squad cars and a police van pull up.
Thinking there must be a major incident going on nearby, she pulled back the net curtains hoping to see what had prompted such an impressive show of police manpower.
One of the officers was carrying a battering ram. Was there a criminal on the loose?
A suspected terrorist in hiding? A secret drugs den, perhaps?
None of the above, as it would turn out. The person they’d come for, armed with a warrant, was poor old Betty – a once sprightly great-grandmother who’d recently succumbed to dementia.
‘I couldn’t believe my eyes when four police officers, flanking two social workers and a doctor, walked towards my house,’ says 55-year-old Ros.
‘One of the police officers was holding a red battering ram and I thought: “What on earth does he need that for?”
‘It’s the sort of thing they’d use to raid terrorists, not people like us.
‘I was so frightened I didn’t want to let them in so I leaned out of the window and asked them what they wanted.
‘One of the social workers said a doctor had come to examine my mother. When I opened the door a warrant, giving them the right to search for and remove my mother, was put in my hand.
Betty was then returned to the residential home which Ros removed her from last Saturday, believing her Mum would be better off in her care.
Social services had opposed Ros’s request to care for her mother at home, arguing that the level of care she could offer was not sufficient, and swung into action with the full force of the law when Ros defied them and took her home.
‘I still can’t believe it’s happened. I was made to feel like an enemy of the state rather than a daughter who just wants to do the best for her mother.
‘I can’t believe these Gestapo tactics can be allowed to happen in our society.
‘After they’d gone, I read the warrant they’d left behind, and I felt even more upset. I was insulted.
‘It said Mum was being removed under Section 135 of the Mental Health Act 1983 because she was at risk of neglect or ill-treatment, with no evidence to support that at all.
Anyone who wants to live their life as they see fit rather than how the State wants you to is an enemy of the state and they are in no way shy with using violence to make sure you obey them.