Hailsham: Shoppers helped tackle shoplifter as he fled from store

A SUSPICIOUS-looking shopper, who was seen stealing goods by a store assistant during a busy festive event, has faced the wrath of the law.

Wayne Bailie, of The Diplocks, Hailsham, stole several items from a store in The Quintins shopping centre and placed them in his bag on December 10, police said.

A sharp-eyed member of staff spotted his movements at the store and challenged him.

Mr Bailie swore continuously at her, police said at the time, and held onto his bag as they struggled 50 to 60 yards down the shopping centre, past shoppers enjoying a performance by Wealden Brass Band.

Shoppers nearby thought the store assistant was being mugged, police at the time said.

Three of them helped her – one person separated the pair, another grabbed the thief and a third shopper rugby-tackled Mr Bailie down to the ground.

People at the scene detained the suspect until police officers arrived.

Police officers restrained Mr Bailie who struggled and resisted arrest.

He was found to be in possession of stolen items from at least two stores in the area, police said.

PS Neville said, “This is a real demonstration of the public and police working together.”

Mr Bailie appeared before Eastbourne Magistrates Court on January 3. He pleaded guilty to four charges during the hearing.

Court officials confirmed he was given a one-year community order and a supervision requirement to run concurrently for three of the charges – theft, obstructing/resisting a constable in the execution of duty and an assault by beating charge for which he was also told to pay £50 compensation to the victim.

No separate penalty was given for using threatening words/behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.