Smith and Burke had just taken over the surveillance car when the phone rang.

“Yes Sir. Okay, well, according to the last team there have been lots of comings and goings… Single people calling with carrier bags and leaving without them … Yes … Okay, so far they have never left the house empty … either one goes out or the other, but never together. Fine … will do Sir.  I will let you know,” Burke said.

“What?” Smith asked.

“They want us to look in the house and plant a bug,” he replied.

“Right. But they rarely leave the place together.”

“I know, I told him. We’re to wait and to watch. Get some photos of the callers if we can. But we are not to cause anybody to get suspicious.”

“Easy for them to say,” Smith said reaching for his polystyrene cup of coffee.

Two hours later they got their chance. As the two suspects left the house together they looked around but didn’t seem too concerned. They had a small holdall with them, which the man carried, while the woman held on to his other arm. They passed the surveillance vehicle, an old battered British Gas van, and headed off towards the high street.

“Now’s our chance,” Burke said, “Get the gear.”

“Right,” Smith muttered.

They crossed the road and entered the front garden of the old Victorian house. Swiftly and expertly Burke jemmied opened the front door, but as they entered, a swift furry bundle scrambled towards them. Smith yelled, and the cat was out and down the path.

“Catch it,” Burke yelled.

“But I’m allergic,” Smith protested.

“Catch the bloody thing! If they come back and find it gone they’ll know someone was in here.”

“Oh shit,” Smith said retreating out of the door just in time to see a furry tail disappear across the road.

He ran out of the gate in pursuit. The cat disappeared down an alley next to a large, neglected looking house across the road. Smith followed it. The cat went under the side gate and Smith lost precious moments unlocking the rusty latch. Then he was in a neat back garden and started looking around for the cat.

“Nice pussy, where are you?”

Smith was feeling ridiculous and nervous that the owners of the house would come out and ask him what he was doing in their back yard.

Then he saw the cat. It had gone to the end of the garden and was just about to scramble up an old wooden fence.

“No you don’t my pretty,” Smith said,.harging down the lawn. But he slipped on the wet grass and ended up on his bottom.

“Damn,” he spluttered, pulling himself to his feet and heading towards the end of the garden. The cat jumped from the fence to nearby tree.

Smith looked up at the cat. It wasn’t a tall tree but the cat was at least eight feet off the ground. Smith looked around the garden to see if there was something he could stand on. There was an old plastic bathing pool in a corner, the type you filled with water in the summer for children.

He went over to the pool and looked at it.

“Might do,” Smith said, and he dragged the filthy old plastic pool over to the base of the tree.

He reached up for the cat and its claws raked his hand.

“You little beast,” he muttered.

‘This won’t work,’ he thought, so he stepped down again, “I need something to catch it in, like my jacket.”

Smith took off his jacket and tried again to reach the cat. He waved one hand to distract the animal and with the other, threw the garment over the cat’s head. Then he grabbed at it. The cat struggled and they both fell to the ground, Smith twisting his ankle in the process. But despite the sharp pain, he managed to keep a hold on the frantic animal.

“You little beast,” Smith muttered as he held the now more subdued cat in his arms and returned up the garden. When he reached the house Burke was standing at the front door.

“What kept you?” he asked.

“It went up a tree,” Smith said and sneezed.

“I’ve planted the bug and there are piles of cash and credit cards. I’ve let the boss know and he said to keep watch and when they return we’ll arrange to raid the place and arrest them. Well what are you waiting for? Let the animal go,” Burke said with a snide grin.

Smith opened the jacket and the cat sprang away from him, and they quickly closed the door behind it. Smith looked a right sight – limping, filthy and covered in scratches. Then he sneezed again.

“I need some antihistamine and something for these scratches,” Smith complained.

“Yes indeed you do. I think there’s first aid kit in the van. Let’s get moving in case they return. I want to see if that bugging device works.”

Once back in the van, Smith tidied himself up as best he could. He was still complaining when the couple came back down the street, this time with bags of shopping.

Smith and Burke could hear the woman’s voice transmitting loud and clear from the bug as she called out.

“Baby I got some nice tuna for you. Where are you precious?” she said, “Hey wait a minute you’re not my cat.”

“Oh shit,” said Smith.