By Phil Lanning
(Images: Copyright Oche180)
WAYNE WARREN thanked kind-hearted fans for a replica BDO World Darts trophy – after the original was taken away by police.
The Welshman won the last BDO World Darts Championship in London in January 2020 and kept the trophy at home for 12 months.
Yet South Wales Police turned up at his door four months ago, demanding that he hand back the silverware to BDO chairman Des Jacklin.
Roofer Warren, 58, was also paid £77,000 less in prize money compared to the 2019 champion Glen Durrant.
However a week ago Oche revealed exclusively that an online whip-round on GoFundMe raised £2,112 and close pal Wayne Dobinson of Shownights.com used the cash to create an exact replica.
Now we can reveal the full dramatic interview…
What is your message to the darts community?
Wayne Warren: “Well, to be honest I cannot thank people enough. For people to respond to the GoFundMe page as quickly they did, it goes to show the feeling of the community of darts people. I was overwhelmed when me and Wayne (Dobinson) had a chat about it. I didn’t think it would kick off. But when he got back in touch to say what was raised, I couldn’t believe it. It’s the way I have been treated and the way I have now been treated by a certain person, it’s completely turned around. I cannot thank the man enough.”
What was it like when the police knock on your door and ask you to hand over a trophy you won?
WW: “Well, I can remember the day as it was yesterday. It was a Sunday morning. A knock on the door. Two police officers there. They asked to come in. My little boy, he was five then he was hysterical. He run up the stairs. Alright, I know the police, they don’t bother me, but to have them in my house, as being world champion as well. Even my neighbours were wondering why there was a police van outside. They just went but to have them back after that when we were sitting down eating lunch and there was a van of them. Three got out of a van. One got out of a car. Well the people in my street must have thought I had done a murder or something. I really felt down. My boy was frightened, it was awful, he still brings it up to this day.”
How many police officers?
WW: “There was a woman police officer and a male police officer. They came in. They took all this and that. When they left we thought it was the end of it. The Cup was on our table. We were having Sunday lunch then. It was 2.30pm or 2.45pm. Knock on the door again, they were three big policemen. They was one who was about a sergeant, the policewoman and another big heavy guy. They had all these taser guns on them. I thought: ‘What? I haven’t done anything wrong’. They came in and said we have to take the Cup. The main man said they had to take it. I had no option. If I didn’t give the Cup over they were going to arrest me.”
How humiliating was that?
WW: “Very, very. As being world champion, people have looked up to me in my locality. And they know me. I really felt very small then. It went round like wildfire, I was having phone calls all night. I was having text messages all night. How could I respond to that? I was down. I felt down for a while. I was on a high for so long. And then it was taken away overnight. Then you know what the Jacklins done, they drove down and alright, they took it to humiliate me, put it on Facebook. That was the last straw. The last straw. There was a while, it was in a police station. Going back to the police then, we had the police officer’s number, she promised me and (my partner) Nicola that we would keep you in touch anything going. We left it go about 5-6 weeks. We tried to get in touch with her. We never spoke to that police officer from that day to this. She wouldn’t answer her phone. Nothing. Until I saw the Cup wrapped up on his property. I was fuming, absolutely fuming.”
Worst moment of your life, career?
WW: “Worst moment of my darting career. Yeah, because you only dream of winning things like this at my age. And I was looking forward to my next couple of years. In fact I was going to finish work for a year, I was going to finish work. That was the plan. See what I could get out of it. But obviously I had nothing out of it. Then lockdown came and I was back full-time work. To take that off me like they did. I was never going to keep it, that was the thing, I was never ever, ever going to keep it. That is a fact. But I don’t see why they should have had it either. I had more right to keep until it went someone else than he does.”
During lockdown you never got to show it off?
WW: “I’ll tell you want, I took it to two places. I took it to Romania and to Slovakia. The two tournaments I did. I didn’t take it to Scotland. That was it when lockdown came in.”
Plans for the trophy now?
WW: “It is coming with me everything. Yeah, I have got quite a few exhibitions lined up. I am up in Scotland for a week and it is coming up there with me. I have told them about it. The guy there is over the moon I have this and bringing it up. So the people can have their photo with it. And so it should be. I am still world champion. Well the BDO has finished. I will always be the last world champion of the BDO. To have this back here. It is overwhelming to be honest. When they were booking me up, they were asking: Will you be bringing the trophy? I said, yes. Then it all came out, the police had taken it. So then there was no trophy. I had all these exhibitions. Not cancelled but put back to different dates. Now I have this, they will be on the case. If I was one of them, I’d want a photo with the Cup. It’s great.”
You have the World Seniors Championship to look forward to next year…
WW: “Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I read about the Seniors World Championship. I am really looking forward to it. I am current world champion as well. It’s a lot of expectation on my shoulders, which I like. Who knows what comes out of that? There is nothing to say I cannot win that either. I am looking forward to it. There is MAD darts as well. This trophy is not mine to keep. It is the people who have donated money towards that. It will be a great cause for everybody if it can go towards MAD or a WDF tournament.”
Has this given you a spring in your step?
WW: “Yes, it has to be honest. I have been excited to receive this. I have been down in the dumps for a bit because with this Covid. I played in the Modus live league the other week and did okay. I didn’t play to my potential. I have been kicked in the guts, my confidence has been low. I haven’t been playing darts as I have put things into my own work. No money coming in. The plan was to have the year off. Who knows, with the money and exhibitions, I may never have worked again. This now has put me a massive spring in me. I cannot wait to get back out there. The response I have had on social media to me personally, it has been unbelievable like. Even my local club they want me to take it to them to have photos with it. The whole team and all the rugby boys. They want me to take it to them as if I have won it today. I will take it over tomorrow night and have old photos again. I cannot wait.”
Is this closure for you or will your world champ always be tainted by this?
WW: “I think it will always be in the back of my head, the way I have been treated. Getting the police to the house. Things like that. Having this now, it will phase that out quietly. Even every day I think about that. Why me? The way I am treated. I can say forget them, forget that, this is the future now.”
Are you still bitter about the money when you walk up a ladder to work every day?
WW: “Yeah, when I get out of that bed. I work a lot locally and 7am I am out of the house. Freezing cold mornings. I think to myself, why, why? If I had won that title, I’d never work again. There you are. I have worked even more. People are not letting me forget about it as my local, it’s only a small village, everyone asks me: Have you had your money yet? I don’t think it will ever be forgotten back in my local village. People continuously ask me. They ask me: Can you do anything about it? I have this day-in, day-out. It has quieten down a bit now. But since this has been social media it has kicked off again. Have you had your money? I have a MAD belt, like a boxing belt. The police asked me what that was and I said that is nothing to do that with that!”
Images by Taylor Lanning.