Bag thief saved by police after chase

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A THIEF who fled after snatching a handbag was saved from plunging 50ft over a wall when a police officer grabbed his belt.

Married Abdellah Atrache, who has a four-year-old daughter, stole the bag from Waikiki Beach bar in Chesterfield town centre shortly after 11pm on Saturday, April 28.

The bag was owned by Louise Spence. Atrache, aged 33, had earlier been bothering her twin sister, Sara, Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court heard.

He moved away when she stepped between him and her sister, but he returned 10 minutes later and snatched her bag, which contained her mobile phone and house keys, as well as £30 cash.

Atrache fled outside and, on seeing a police officer, ran off and was chased to a cul-de-sac.

Helen Griffiths, prosecuting, said: “He made towards a wall with a 50ft drop below it on to a bypass. The officer grabbed Atrache’s belt and arm.

“He was hanging over the wall, but fortunately the officer was able to bring him back over the wall to safety.”

The handbag was later found and contents except the cash was recovered.

Atrache, a machine operator from Mansfield, admitted theft.

He was ordered to do 60 hours of unpaid work, with £85 costs and £30 compensation.

The court heard he had debts of £40,000 and a drink problem.

After the incident, Sergeant Nick Booth, of the Chesterfield town centre safer neighbourhood policing team, said: “It can be easy to drop your guard while enjoying a night out and forget to keep an eye on your belongings. That’s why we’re urging people to be alert and to look after their property.”

Advice includes thinking carefully about what property people take out and being alert in crowded places.