Cheltenham Kitchener's Oli praised for citizen's arrest on suspect
A SHOPKEEPER has been hailed as a hero after he made a citizen's arrest of a man suspected of stealing from his store.
Oli Burroughs, who works at Cheltenham Kitchener in Montpellier, was at work when he recognised a man thought to have pocketed a salt grinder the day before.
The suspected offender had been seen on CCTV – with images appearing to show him taking the £20 item.
Oli sprang into action when he thought he saw the same man in the shop.
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The quick-thinking 32-year-old instructed co-worker Millie Fraser to call the police while he approached him and kept him talking.
But the suspect then grew suspicious and tried to leave, so Oli grabbed him and excitedly shouted "citizen's arrest", holding him firmly until the police arrived.
"I didn't really think about it," said Oli, who lives in Battledown. "As soon as we saw this guy we thought it was the same one who took the salt grinder so we didn't want to let him out of our sight. I just tried to keep him talking while Millie called the police. He could obviously tell something wasn't right and tried to leave so that's when I grabbed him.
"I surprised myself because I have never done a citizen's arrest before. But it was a team effort. Millie did her bit and, thankfully, the police were on the scene within a few minutes."
The shop owners said Oli's bravery sent out a strong message to shoplifters.
"Oli did brilliantly," said shop owner Susan Crownshaw. "He was a real hero.
"Shoplifters are a drain on shops everywhere and by stealing things they drive up prices for the honest customer." Police confirmed they were called to the shop in Queen's Circus at around 11.50am on Wednesday. A 50-year-old man from Hampshire was arrested on suspicion of theft and bailed until October 31.
Force spokeswoman Alexa Collicott commended Oli on his actions, but sounded a note of caution. "The staff in this incident did exactly the right thing by immediately calling the police when they became suspicious," she said.
"While it is always better to leave arrests to the professionals, the law does allow for the public to make a 'citizen's arrest' in certain circumstances.
"We would always advise you ensure you are not putting yourself or others in harm's way by doing so."