Police praise have-a-go-hero cafe owner who caught thief in Sheffield
Police have praised the 'quick-thinking approach' of a Sheffield cafe owner who apprehended a serial thief, a 33-year-old rough sleeper who slipped through the cracks.
The Star previously reported how former police officer Tim Nye, who runs Marmadukes - a local chain of three eateries in Sheffield - had made a citizen's arrest which landed the prolific thief in court.
He claimed a lack of action by the police in Sheffield left him with no option but to take matters into his own hands as his business was regularly targeted despite several complaints to the police and obtaining CCTV footage.
Mr Nye said he and colleagues felt they had no option but to attempt to apprehend the man themselves and their citizen's arrest landed the man, Alfu Miah, before magistrates in Sheffield this week.
South Yorkshire Police, however, stressed that they take a problem-solving approach to key issues such as homelessness; not only focusing on enforcement but working with partners to find long-term solutions for those affected.
In a statement, the force said: "Our aim is, of course, to prevent crime, but this can be aided greatly by helping people off the streets and getting the support they need – breaking the cycle for repeat offenders. Enforcement alone will not address the problem.
"We are acutely aware of the impact crime such as theft can have on victims. Although we always aim to respond quickly, we must prioritise incidents where the offender is still in the vicinity, or where there is an immediate threat to life."
The police said that on the day in question officers in Sheffield were called to respond to numerous incidents relating to violent disorder and safeguarding vulnerable people including a young child and an adult in crisis in another part of the city.
They explained: "An officer was assigned to the investigation and made contact with the reporting party to obtain the CCTV footage of the theft. Once arrested, responding officers recognised the suspect and linked him to two other theft incidents and a commercial burglary.
"He has since been prosecuted in relation to all four and is due to be sentenced later this month.
"This is an example of why people should continue to report these types of crime to us – it enables us to identify patterns of offending. Local officers are embedded in their communities, they recognise repeat offenders and will work tirelessly to take action to prevent future crimes.
"We would like to thank the complainant for his proactive and quick-thinking approach to apprehending the suspect. His efforts have ensured three other victims have received justice."
Miah pleaded guilty to multiple counts of theft and burglary, relating to the theft of tip jars and charity boxes from small businesses in the city centre, as well as a purse.
He is to be sentenced next month.
During Miah’s brief appearance in court, he said he hadn’t spoken to his social worker in 18 months after losing touch during the pandemic.
He said he had fallen back in with the wrong crowd and begged for help.