Stevenage Co-op shoplifter sentenced after woman tackles him and carries out citizen’s arrest

Samantha Wood gave chase when a thief stole items from the Co-op in Filey Close, Stevenage.

Samantha Wood gave chase when a thief stole items from the Co-op in Filey Close, Stevenage. - Credit: Archant

A man has appeared in court and been sentenced for shoplifting after being tackled and detained by a woman who believed he was carrying a knife.

Alexander Morrison, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to stealing goods worth £30.42 from the Co-op on Filey Close in Stevenage and to the assault by beating of Samantha Wood – who gave chase and caught him.

Miss Wood, a former police officer, says she was driving past the convenience store just after 8am on April 13 when she saw Morrison coming out with a shopping basket and a bag.

She said: “I didn’t think anything of it, but as I pulled up someone came up to me saying ‘somebody’s just robbed the Co-op’.

“I put two and two together, gave chase and caught up with him.

“By this time he didn’t have the basket, but did still have the bag.

“I asked him to come with me and he threw the shopping at me. We ran through the houses onto Clovelly Way – while I had the bag of shopping in my hand – and I got hands on him.

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“He admitted the offence and I made a citizen’s arrest, and said I had to call the police.

“He said if I didn’t let go he was going to fight with me. He reached into his pocket and swung at me with what I thought was a penknife, but it was never found.

“I told him not to make it worse for himself, but he grabbed me round the throat and pulled my arm up my back.

“I broke his hold and a car pulled up, with a man getting out and helping me to detain him before the police came.

“It was only afterwards I realised how dangerous it was.”

Morrison, 34, was sentenced at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court last Friday to drug rehabilitation treatment for six months and ordered to pay £85 court costs and £85 towards funding victim services.

Miss Wood said: “At the end of the day shoplifting is a problem. When prices go up in shops to compensate for the losses, you can’t let people get away with it.”