Disabled grandpa catches shoplift suspect

David Hanness came to the aid of staff at an opticians in Penge High Street	BR2583-04

David Hanness came to the aid of staff at an opticians in Penge High Street BR2583-04

First published in Crime by

A DISABLED have-a-go hero has been praised after he trailed a suspected shoplifter who had allegedly stolen £2,000 of designer glasses frames.

David Hanness, 55, was shopping with his wife for glasses in Specsavers, High Street, Penge, at around 11am on Monday when he noticed a man in a blue anorak "mooching about".

Soon after he saw store manager Usma Patel, 35, at the door asking the man for frames he had taken.

The man left the store and got on a bus.

Mr Hanness, who has a slipped disc in his back and is registered disabled, tried to stop the bus doors closing while Ms Patel shouted the man had stolen from the store.

The bus driver pretended the man's Oyster card did not work, forcing him to flee, followed by former office furniture fitter Mr Hanness.

He followed the suspect through an alleyway behind Iceland as he zig-zagged in, out and across a housing estate and onto Maple Road.

Mr Hanness says he then saw the man take the frames from his pocket and put them in a plastic bag.

The grandfather-of-three, who is also asthmatic, said: "I was breathless and coughing a lot by the time I got to Maple Road. It was like climbing Mount Everest.

"It also entered my mind if he knocked me over, I just wouldn't be able to get back up.

"But the store manager was a small woman and she needed some help. Sometimes you just need to do these things."

As he walked up Maple Road, the thief was getting further away and Mr Hanness lost him at Hawthorne Grove.

But at that moment four police cars and vans came round the corner accompanied by Ms Patel.

He got into a police van with Ms Patel and they drove round the area until they spotted the man in Oakfield Road, Anerley, where he was arrested.

A spokesman for Specsavers says Mr Hanness "is a real local hero" and the firm has given him and his wife a £100 reward and upgraded their varifocal frames and lenses free of charge.

A 38-year-old man has been charged with theft and is due to appear at Bromley Magistrates' Court on January 24.

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