RETIRED bobby Arthur Williams used all his old sleuthing skills when he headed a ‘posse’ who nabbed a burglar in a Doncaster village.
The 78-year-old commandeered a van to pursue the suspicious character he had spotted walking through Sprotbrough and other villagers assisted in making a citizen’s arrest.
Mr Williams, a retired superintendent who served with South Yorkshire Police until 26 years ago, was one of two Neighbourhood Watch members commended by South Yorkshire Police.
Insp Ray Mountford said: “This is one of the best examples I can remember of members of a Neighbourhood Watch taking brave and decisive action. They went above and beyond what is expected of NHW members resulting in a known prolific offender being arrested for burglary and theft.”
Last November Paul Hall, the steward at Sprotbrough Country Club, spotted a man parking a people carrier with a smashed window in the club’s car park.
Mr Hall called the van hire company that it belonged to, using the phone number on the side of the vehicle, and found out it had been stolen earlier that morning.
The driver had left the vehicle and started to walk away and Mr Williams, out for a stroll, had already thought he looked suspicious before Mr Hall alerted him.
“When Mr Hall told me about the people carrier I realised it was the same man so I stopped a passing van and the driver very helpfully drove me down to the village.
“The man was talking on his mobile phone and I think that distracted him while I gathered a few other people to assist us in detaining him.
“He didn’t struggle at all, I think he realised there were too many of us. I think I followed him for about 500 yards,” said Mr Williams, who lives in Sprotbrough.
Assisted by other members of the public, Mr Williams escorted the man back to Sprotbrough Club where they waited until the police arrived.
The van had been stolen in a burglary, which had taken place in the early hours of the morning in Hexthorpe.
The offender was charged with burglary and theft and has since been sentenced to four weeks in prison by Doncaster magistrates.