SHOPPERS rugby-tackled a suspected thief during Hailsham’s Late Night Christmas Shopping event.
The drama unfolded as the brass band was playing in the town centre and several members of the public intervened as a shop worker tackled a man who he believed had been shoplifting.
One person held onto the man, another stopped him running away and a third rugby-tackled him to the floor. Other members of the public sat on him until police officers arrived.
A police spokesperson said, “A man was seen to steal several items from a store and place them into his bag.
“When challenged by a member of staff he became abusive and tried to run off swearing continuously at her.
“The staff member held on to his bag and they travelled 50-60 yards down the shopping centre which was full of members of the public enjoying the festive brass band.
“Many members of the public helped this member of staff thinking that they were being mugged.
“The first member of the public separates them, the second grabs him as he again tries to run off, and a third rugby-tackles him to the floor, where they and other members of the public sit on him until police arrive.
“During this time he is constantly shouting and swearing.
“The member of staff has no visible injuries from this incident but is very sore from the pushing and shoving.”
A man was arrested on suspicion of theft, assault, public order offences and resisting arrest.
PS Nevill from Hailsham Police said, “I would like to note the good work by all involved especially because at the time they believed it was a robbery taking place.
“The level of violence and abuse offered by the suspect could well have resulted in far more serious injuries and offences if not for the actions of the many.
“This is a real demonstration of the public and police working together. While I would never recommend the public ever place themselves in personal danger the fact that they have done so on this occasion showed immense courage.
“I am pleased that this male has been brought to swift justice and will now be held to account for the disruption he caused at Christmas time.”