"A big thank you to @gmpolice for 'arresting' my Gran Josie today," Smith tweeted. "She is 93 years old and her health is failing, and she wanted to be arrested for something before it's too late."
Photos accompanying the tweet show an obviously delighted Birds being handcuffed and transported to the station in the back of a vehicle. Another photo shows her sitting at a table in what looks like an interrogation room.
Smith later tweeted that her grandmother had never done anything bad.
“She thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing and they even gave her tea and cake afterwards,” she wrote.
Smith’s initial tweet was retweeted hundreds of times as of Tuesday afternoon, and thousands of people liked it. A representative of the Greater Manchester police force also responded to Smith’s message.
“I’m glad our officers could help out. (It) looks like she got the full experience!” the response read. “Give our best to Josie and I’ll try and pass your message back to the officers who kindly helped out.”
Smith wrote in the thread of comments that followed the tweet that her grandmother is well-known in her community, many members of which were on hand with their cellphones to grab shots of the elderly woman in cuffs.
“(She) has never put a foot wrong all her life,” Smith wrote. “She is quite poorly now and wanted to do something ‘naughty’ while she still has the strength to enjoy it. This has definitely put a (big) smile on her face.”
The commenters on Smith’s tweet enjoyed the photos nearly as much as Birds’ family did. One person wrote that he was “glad to see this menace taken off the streets,” before sending his love to Birds and her family.
One woman wrote, “Kinda wish she’d actually gone out and done something illegal.” Another woman tagged a loved one and told them, “This is what I want for my birthday.”
A man wrote that the photo of Birds being taken into custody was “brilliant” because it looked “like she is going down for something big.”
“Bloody nonagenarians causing trouble,” another man wrote. “Bring back national service.”
“Can’t believe she’s never been arrested before,” another Twitter user wrote. “She looks like a wrong ‘un.”
Smith wrote that she was “gobsmacked” over the international attention her grandmother is receiving.
“I’ve been passing on everyone’s good wishes to her, and she is thrilled,” Smith wrote. “She didn’t expect this level of response and, to be honest, neither did I!”