Judge rewards Plymouth pet shop worker who tackles burglar
A SHOP worker who tackled a burglar during a raid on a pet store has been given a reward.
Judge Paul Darlow granted the man £150 from public funds for catching the thief as he tried to flee.
Pete Chapman restrained Christopher Charley until others came to his aid, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
But brave have-a-go hero Mr Chapman, aged 21, from Honicknowle, was modest about his actions and the judge's reward saying: "I think most people would've done the same thing."
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Drug addict Charley, 31, was jailed for 66 weeks for a string of offences.
Charley, of Taunton Avenue, Whitleigh, admitted burglary of the Ark Pet Store in Transit Way on January 5.
He also pleaded guilty to the burglary of a home in Redruth Close, Ernesettle, on September 10 last year. A computer and camera equipment of unknown value was taken.
Charley finally admitted to taking a Jaguar XK8 without consent, driving it without insurance and otherwise than in accordance with a licence on January 13.
He asked for eight other dishonesty offences to be taken into consideration.
David Gittins, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Mr Chapman arrived at work at 8am to see Charley forcing up a metal shutter and taking pet products.
He added: "He gave chase and grappled him to the floor and called for assistance from others."
Stolen property worth £288 was recovered from his rucksack.
Mr Gittins said that while on bail Charley took the Jaguar from the drive of a home in Crownhill eight days later. It was recovered near Charley's home but found to be so damaged by the break-in that it is a "technical write-off".
He added the car was cherished and needed such specialist parts the cost of repair was estimated at £9,500.
Emma Birt, for Charley, said he was a working man who had spiralled into using heroin at difficult times in his life.
She added the burglaries had been "committed on impulse under the influence of heroin addiction".
Judge Darlow also banned Charley from driving for three years.
Speaking after Charley's sentencing and the offer of his reward, Mr Chapman, said: "It's very generous. I think it's unbelievable really.
"It wasn't a conscious decision. I just saw him there at the shutter and he bolted. I think most people would've done the same thing.
"I've opened the shop several times in the morning so I knew where things should be. I looked and saw him down on the floor and he saw me and he just accelerated. Instantly I was after him. I can't remember much as it all was so fast.
"I managed to grapple him to the floor. It was a good few minutes there. I had to move about to free my mobile phone and call the police.
"Then a woman came up to the double doors and saw us there. She seemed to snigger and she must've thought we were play-fighting or something. I had to try and gesture to her to go to the Tesco and get the security guards.
"The man was able to get free again at this point but I managed to get him down again. The police arrived a few seconds after the security guard from Tesco. I think maybe the woman had had difficulty trying to explain to them what she'd seen and for them to understand what had happened and how urgent it was!"