Meet the have a ‘glow’ hero

Shopkeeper Mark catches his own shoplifter after 20 minute chase through town

A SHOPKEEPER caught his own shoplifter after giving an adrenaline-fuelled chase through the streets of Barnstaple.

Mark Staddon was determined not to let a thief get away with baby clothes worth around �150 from his Glow Maternity and Baby shop.

The spirited businessman and father-of-four tracked down the crook using his car and chased him on foot before eventually handing him over to police.

The drama that began with the sounding of a store alarm in Cross Street soon escalated into a full-scale pursuit around Bear Street, Hills View, Fort Street and Richmond Street.

Mark, 35, had left the family-run shop to pick up his children from the school when he received a tearful call from his wife Kate to say that they had been robbed.

“I’d only been gone for a matter of minutes and when Kate described what the man looked like, I realised I’d seen him in the shop before I left,” said Mark.

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“He was a well-dressed man in his forties and before I knew it, he was walking up Hills View as I drove along Bear Street.

“I think adrenaline took over and I pulled over and confronted him. He owned up and handed over the Timberland baby clothing he’d taken but when I dialled 999, he decided to make a run for it.”

With phone in hand, Mark quite literally provided police officers with a running commentary of the 10 minute dash around the town centre streets and back alleys.

“Eventually he ran out of steam near Flukeys Bar on the corner of Derby Road and sat on a wall to catch his breath,” said Mark.

“I was furious and told him I couldn’t believe he’d robbed an independent trader with a family to support. He said he was sorry and came out with a list of excuses as long as his arm.

“It was pretty awkward waiting with him for the police to arrive but when they turned up they said I’d done a good job. I felt like asking them if they wanted my CV.

“I’ve had a bit of a joke about it with my mates in the pub since but at the time it wasn’t a nice experience.”

According to police, a man was arrested on Friday, September 30 and subsequently admitted the shoplifting offence but was later released with a caution.

Kate, 30, said the theft was caught on the shop’s CCTV cameras: “We’ve had a few problems in the past with shoplifting where we’ve noticed things go missing but this is the first time the alarms have gone off like that.

“I shouted ‘thief’ and ‘that man’s a thief’ as he ran up towards the High Street but no one did anything.

“I’m glad we got the clothes back because we’ve only just taken on the Timberland brand. We were quite excited about it and gutted at the thought he’d got away with so much.

“We were told by police that he was a heroin addict but for him to be let off with a caution after being caught and admitting the theft makes a mockery of the whole system.

“If he is desperate enough to go and rob something he obviously needs help and it’s a shame he’s not able to get it.”

Sergeant Paul Jones of Barnstaple police station said he was unable to comment on why the offender was released with a caution for theft, as the case was dealt with by CID.

“All that I can say is that we have to meet certain Home Office guidelines regarding cautions, and if someone falls within a certain criteria we have to follow the guidelines issued to us,” he said.

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