Have-a-go heroes tackle and restrain man who snatched a purse and ran off

BARBER Scott Benton has relived the moment he wrestled a thief to the floor in order to return a snatched purse to its owner.

The 25-year-old have-a-go-hero joined forces with another passer-by to chase, tackle and restrain the offender in a Wisbech street yesterday.

The pair’s “great sense of public duty” has been praised by police, who arrived to find the thief pinned to the ground and the purse returned.

Mr Benton, who works at Hill Street hairdressers Clippers, said: “I had just come back from dinner and I was stood outside. I heard a scream and then a woman shouted ‘he’s nicked my purse’.

“I saw a man come running past and instinct just took over. The adrenaline kicked in.

“You don’t think about the danger when something like that happens - I just had to get the purse back for that lady.

“It took me a few seconds to catch him. The other man grabbed his hood and I just jumped on him and put him in a headlock.”

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Police were alerted to the theft at 12.13pm, when a call came over the ShopWatch radio system. Three minutes later, officers arrived to handcuff the restrained thief.

Chief Inspector Mike Winters, Fenland area commander, said: “I am really impressed with the actions of the two men, they acted bravely and with a great sense of public duty.

“What’s more pleasing is that the whole thing was resolved so quickly thanks to the ShopWatch system and those participating in it. The radio commentary was relayed directly to the police control room by the Fenland District Council CCTV operator.

“The victim has all her possessions back which does not always happen if there is a delay in locating the offenders.”

Mr Benton said: “If it happened again today I would do exactly the same thing.

“People keep saying I’m brave but it just happened and I had to do it. I wouldn’t want something like that to happen to one of my relatives.

“People have been shaking my hand and congratulating me but I don’t really feel like I deserve that. I’m just happy that the lady got her purse back.”

A 22-year-old man from King’s Lynn has been charged with theft and bailed. He will appear at King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court next month.

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