Crowd cheers after have-a-go hero catches 'watch thief'

Where are the police? Public are forced to step in and catch ‘watch thief’ by pinning him to a chair outside John Lewis in upmarket Sloane Square – amid growing fury over forces failing to investigate everyday crime

  • HAVE YOU WITNESSED SHOPLIFTING ON BRITAIN’S HIGH STREETS? Tell us about your experience: Email [email protected] 

Members of the public were forced to step in and catch a suspected ‘watch thief’ amid growing fury at police forces failing to tackle everyday crime blighting the lives of Britons. 

Shocking video footage captured in upmarket Sloane Square yesterday captured the moment have-a-go heroes caught a man believed to have snatched the watch from the arm of a passerby in the busy street.

This is the latest in a growing number of incidents up and down the country, with growing demands on police to crack down on crime – and retail chiefs accusing them of allowing lawlessness to thrive. 

On Monday, ASDA chairman Lord Stuart Rose said theft had effectively been ‘decriminalised’ due to a lack of police action.

In the video posted to social media, two men can be seen pinning the alleged thief to a chair outside John Lewis in the West London shopping district as they wait patiently for authorities to intervene. 

John Lewis, Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Boots are now issuing staff bodycams and training to deter violence from aggressive thieves while at Dunelm, duvets and pillowcases were locked up in PIN-code protected cabinets.

HAVE YOU WITNESSED SHOPLIFTING ON BRITAIN’S HIGH STREETS? Tell us about your experience: Email [email protected] 

A man was apprehended by passers-by in London after he allegedly stole  a watch from someone

The X account – previously known as Twitter – added two party emojis showing a happy face to the video

When officers turned-up after members of the public were forced to hold the fort, the man is put in handcuffs and led to a waiting police car. It is not known whether the officers were called or simply happened to be passing. 

Speaking to LBC’s Nick Ferrari, Lord Rose said theft was ‘actually just not seen as a crime anymore’, adding: ‘We’ve become risk averse.’

READ MORE: Britain’s Wild West high streets: Shopkeepers ‘forced to defend their own empires’ and tackle thieves themselves

He blamed complacent authorities which he said have ‘allowed’ lawlessness to thrive.

Reported retail thefts have risen by 27 per cent across ten of the UK’s largest cities – and were up by 68 per cent in some, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said. 

Lord Rose’s comments came after a rallying cry by Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy for the Government and police to help supermarkets to better protect staff from abuse.

Physical attacks on staff at Tesco – which employs around 300,000 people in 2,800 UK stores – are up a third on last year’s levels. 

The boss of the UK’s biggest supermarket chain described the impact on staff as heartbreaking, calling the assaults ‘an insult to shoppers and retail workers’. 

Writing in The Mail on Sunday, the chief executive called for changes to the law and policing. Officers currently fail to attend more than two-thirds of serious retail crimes, even though shoplifting costs businesses almost £1 billion a year.

The British Retail Consortium found that incidents of violence and abuse against retail workers almost doubled from more than 450 per day in 2019-20 to more than 850 last year. 

Union Jack flags can be seen festooned above the scene in Sloane Square yesterday 

A video captures the moment a suspect is seen surrounded by members of the public in a busy shopping street in one of the most exclusive areas of London

Although Home Secretary Suella Braverman last month, demanded police pursue all reasonable crime leads, law enforcement chiefs said they did not have the resources to pursue ‘minor’ incidents.

READ MORE: Police should investigate all instances of shoplifting even if the value of stolen goods is than £200, policing minister claims

Yesterday’s alleged theft happened in one of the most exclusive parts of London where properties sell for millions.

‘Oh here we go!’ a witness says as two police officers approach, before they handcuff and put the man in the back of a police car. 

The X account added two party emojis showing a happy face to the video ad captioned it: ‘This happened on the pavilion road this evening a guy had his watch stolen.

‘The guy was caught by a member of the public, the police came and he was arrested.’

Union Jack flags can be seen festooned above the scene.

One person who commented on the video joked: ‘Oh would you look at – society coming together to apprehend a criminal and await for the authorities to take them to the custody suite.

‘Yet when I have the sheer temerity to suggest I would do that in other videos, I get people having a go at me. Funny that….’

The Metropolitan Police have been contacted for comment.

A peel of applause erupts as the man is handcuffed and led to a waiting police car

Pavilion Road in Sloane Square where the crowd is said to have gathered yesterday evening 

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