Passers-by caught thief after chase

Karl Ward
Karl Ward

A burly shoplifter was overpowered by passers-by after running from Tesco’s Alfreton store with a television under each arm.

He ignored orders to stop after setting off the alarm when he left with his loot in a shopping trolley, Derby Crown Court heard.

Tesco worker Kathleen Phillips was the first to give chase as Karl Ward fled the store.

“He picked up the televisions and put one under each arm and started to run away. She said, ‘someone help, stop that shoplifter,’” prosecutor Sarah Lloyd told the court.

Mrs Phillips lost track of Ward, 29, when reached Grange Street but two road builders had spotted him crouching behind wheelie bins.

By that time Tesco customer Colin Butler had joined the chase after noticing the incident while sitting in a car waiting for his wife to finish shopping, said Miss Lloyd.

Ward told them “it’s OK, you’ve got us” and said he would leave without the televisions. But Mr Butler told him it wasn’t as simple as that and Mrs Phillips said it would be a citizens’ arrest.

“The defendant pushed past them both and decided to leave,” said Miss Lloyd.

But one of the builders then arrived to help and Ward was arrested, with the assistance of restraint techniques used by Mr Butler, who was headbutted in the left eye and on the nose for his trouble.

Tesco recovered the two TVs, worth a total of £368, the court heard. Judge Jonathan Gosling ordered Mr Butler receive a £400 reward as he imposed a 21-month prison term on Ward of High Street, South Normanton. He had been convicted of common assault and theft on May 20.

Ward also pleaded guilty to theft of a £1,750 gold chain from a Chesterfield jeweller’s shop on May 18; theft of a drill worth £98 in Somercotes on June 4; theft of a £199 TV from a South Normanton shop on June 23 and attempted fraud at a tailor’s shop in Alfreton on July 9.

In April, he was given a community order for a range of thefts from jewellery shops, including one in Derby and another in Heanor.

The judge described him as a career criminal who chose valuable items to steal. He added: “He may be a completely inept criminal, but that is scarcely any mitigation.”

Chris Lacey, defending, described Ward as “a fairly hopeless” offender but said he had “enormous nuisance value”.

Ward had a drug debt at the time and this had led to threats being made to his grandparents, partner and child.

“He is a completely unsophisticated criminal. He doesn’t in any way disguise his appearance. He is almost like a Pavlov dog acting without any thought for the consequence.

“He acts like an automaton with no regard for his actions,” said Mr Lacey.

Ward was quickly identified by police checking CCTV footage and was known in the mens’ outfitters where he tried to set up a account using another man’s credit card.

Mr Lacey added: “Not only did staff give an accurate description but said he has a 32-inch waist and a 32-inch inside leg.”