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Trailer thief spotted on Google Street View?

Police in the UK release a screenshot from Google Street View which, they say, shows "a person of interest" in the theft of a trailer from a driveway.

Some people in Europe haven't really taken to the slight snoopiness of Google Street View.

And yet, as with so many technological inventions, it occasionally might bring truth and justice to all. At least police in South Derbyshire, England hope so.

For they have released a Google Street View image of a man who appears to be doing his trousers up in someone else's driveway in Linton, Derbyshire. Why anyone should choose to do their trousers up in the middle of someone else's driveway in what appears to be the middle of the day on a sweet, suburban street, is slightly beyond my deduction.

However, what is clear is that the caravan behind the gentleman and his trousers was allegedly stolen at a very similar time to the one at which the Google car wandered by on June 5, 2009.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

What raised the suspicions of the trailer-less family is that the SUV next to which Trouser Man is standing is unknown to them. Perhaps, they surmised, it was large enough to tow away their beloved trailer.

On Derbyshire Police's Web site, Police Constable Adrian Mason is amazed at this potential Google-centric breakthrough: "It is amazing that we have such a clear image of a man who we think will be able to give us information that would help the police inquiry. It was an amazing co-incidence that the Google Earth car was passing at that time."

You might wonder how it is that a theft that happened in 2009 remains unsolved. The Daily Mail reports that it is still unclear whether Google can find the original image with the license plate of the SUV. Yes, in a stirring irony, it is Google's blurring that might have unintentionally obfuscated potential progress in this case.

A Google spokesperson told the Mail that Street View images are only kept for 12 months before they are permanently left in an indecipherable state. It seems that the company may not possess an "Undo" button.

Still, someone will, perhaps, recognize Trouser Man. Then, police might at least be able to ask him what on earth he was doing adjusting himself in foreign parts.