LONDON – For almost six years, money seemed to be falling from the sky to the streets of a village in the northeast of England.
The residents of the village, Blackhall Colliery, regularly found packages of 20-pound bills, and then handed the money to the police. Packages often amounted to 2,000 pounds, or about $ 2,600.
But the question of where the cash had come from left the authorities baffled. Police revealed this week that two people who wanted to be known only as good Samaritans had been distributing money around the city in an effort to “give something back” to the community.
At least £ 26,000 in cash had been found since 2014 near the main street of Blackhall Colliery, a former mining village of less than 5,000 residents on the North Sea coast.
Durham police, the police force responsible for the surrounding county, first made public with the mystery in November in a final effort to find the source of the money. Consultations with residents, village organizations, the post office and the local bank had not thrown anything, nor had they performed fingerprint tests.
“These packages are always visible, as on sidewalks, and are discovered by random members of the public who delivered them,” said John Forster, a Durham police detective. in a statement published in November, after the fourth package of that year was delivered to the police. He appealed to the public to present any relevant information.
The news of the cash falls spread rapidly, attracting international attention and generating speculation about who or what might be behind them. The residents of the town were also praised for their honesty, as they constantly handed the cash to the police. When no one came to claim it, the search engines received the money themselves.
At least one element of the mystery came to an end on Monday, when Durham police said two people had introduced themselves as philanthropists from the village.
Both asked to remain anonymous, and the police referred to them as only “the good Samaritans.” Mr. Forster said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that the couple, who, according to him, knew each other but seemed unrelated, did. Don’t choose Blackhall Colliery “randomly”.
“It’s something personal for them,” he said.
Police said in a statement released this week that “both generous people had recently received unexpected unexpected gains and told police they wanted to give something back.”
“One of the good Samaritans told detectives that they felt an” emotional connection “with the village after being helped by one of the residents, so he wanted to pay for the kindness he received,” police said.
Police said the couple left the £ 20 ticket packages in places where people in need, including the elderly or vulnerable, could find them.
But police said they didn’t leave everything to chance, and that they often waited until they saw someone pick up the money.
Forster said Tuesday that the only detail he had hidden from the public was the exact way the packages were wrapped. That detail was “one of the bits of information we use to verify the authenticity of these people,” he added.
Forster said that if more cash appears on the sidewalks of Blackhall Colliery, residents should still hand it over to the police. Most likely, they will recover it, according to the police, all previous cash packages were returned to the people who found them, but now they could feel good when using the money.
“Even the people who found the money didn’t feel comfortable spending it,” he said Tuesday, signaling his concern for the origin.
Then the mystery was solved for the sake of the people of Blackhall Colliery.
“I think it was just a case of reassuring them,” Forster said Tuesday, “which was deliberately meant to be found.”