HAILSHAM: Heroic PC breaks his leg chasing suspects

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A HEROIC PC was left injured after tackling crooks targeting a children’s charity shop in Hailsham for the second time in four days.

Staff at the Demelza charity shop - which helps terminally-ill children - were left ‘shaken’ after thieves tried to break in, just days after the shop’s safe was stolen in a separate incident.

The PC is undergoing surgery for a broken leg at the DGH after leaping over a wall while trying to stop the four men from getting away.

The Hailsham officer, who was out on a late-night patrol in the early hours of Friday morning, leapt into action when he spotted the quartet trying to break into the rear of the charity shop on Hailsham High Street.

He chased them towards the local churchyard, and managed to radio his colleagues for back-up despite breaking his leg as he went over a wall.

Three local men, a 15, 17 and 20 year-old, were arrested in the town centre area on suspicion of attempted burglary a short time later. The trio have been bailed until March 16 pending further enquiries. Police are still trying to track down the fourth suspect who was riding a bicycle and wearing a grey hooded top.

Wealden District Commander Chief Inspector Dick Coates praised the officer’s swift actions, saying, “The quick arrests shows real dedication from an officer who sustained a nasty injury in the line of duty.”

The attempted break-in is the third time thieves had targeted the charity shop in four weeks, despite extra security after money was stolen in an overnight break-in on December 16.

Demelza’s Head of Retail Operations Claire Jordan said, “The dedicated manager and much valued volunteers have the utmost support of everyone at Demelza at this challenging time. We are now looking at what other security measures we can put in.”

Anyone with information should call Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 99 quoting Operation Bonnie or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.