Hello, hello, hello, what’s going on here then?
From the outside it looks like just another anonymous house swallowed in Birkirkara’s urban sprawl.
But inside, the home of retired police sergeant Joseph Borda is a miniature museum dedicated to worldwide law enforcement memorabilia.
As the front door closed firmly, the vast array of police shields and badges on the wall and table of old German helmets immediately caught the eye.
“You haven’t seen anything yet,” Mr Borda chuckled, as he wandered into the next room.
And he was right. Hats, badges, holsters and belts, full uniforms, handcuffs from the 1700s and even two riot shields from Northern Ireland: the room was full to bursting with valuable memorabilia.
Mr Borda pointed out a Syrian police uniform, one from an Italian police band, and yet another from the Canadian Mounties.
He estimated he owns more than 700 hats and 4,000 patches.
With his thick Magnum PI facial hair, sturdy build and authoritative gait, Mr Borda looked every inch the no-nonsense policeman.
But there was no menace behind the moustache; Mr Borda’s guestbook provided evidence he has welcomed many a curious stranger into his home.
Germans, Australians, Kuwaitis... police memorabilia enthusiasts the world over have sought out Mr Borda’s house to view his treasure trove while in Malta.
Mr Borda joined the police force aged 18 in 1971 and began collecting memorabilia immediately. He would write to forces in far-off lands requesting patches, hats or anything else they would be willing to send or trade.
“Back then it was easy. When terrorism became an issue in the 1980s it became more difficult and now it’s impossible to get police forces to send their own stuff,” Mr Borda said.
These days he trades memorabilia online and has built up an admirable reputation with overseas collectors.
Mr Borda estimates his collection is among the biggest in Europe and would like the Government help to open a museum.
“But I’m scared the collection won’t belong to me anymore. I want to be the one who oversees the museum because I’m the one who knows the most about the memorabilia,” he said.
Upstairs there was still more: a cabinet full of police ornaments, folders full of American and Australian patches, revolvers on the wall...
Does his wife, Lillian, ever object to the encroachment of his passion into the living space? Mr Borda laughed: “She knew about my hobby when she married me.”
And his hobby has rubbed off on his family – his wife collects doll houses and coronation memorabilia, his youngest daughter has started a collection of antique cameras and his son prefers vintage hairdressing equipment.
With so many valuables on display, does he fret when children are in the house? “My little grandson was here recently and I let him play with anything he wanted.
“If he breaks something, I have plenty more.”