Update: Have-a-go homeowner throws bungling burglar in bush

A homeowner chased a burglar down the road and threw him into a bush to take back his son's bicycle - 44 years after getting the better of armed robbers in London.

The 61-year-old man, who does not wish to be named, awoke to noise at the back of his house in Beccles Road, in between Humberstone road and Colomb Road, Gorleston, at about 1am on Tuesday, August 28 and saw his shed had been broken into.

He and his son, 24, were in two minds about what to do and were unsure if the burglar was still in the shed. His son pretended to go jogging to make his way round the back to find the burglar while in the house his father saw a flicker of light in the garden through the windows, before a young man in a baseball cap hastily appeared on the son's bicycle.

The young man exited through an alley to the front of the house, carrying a rucksack filled with food from the freezer in the shed, stopping in the front garden, unaware he was being watched by the man he was stealing from.

As the burglar stopped at the gate at the front of the house the man took a split second decision and bolted after him.


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The have-a-go homeowner ran after the burglar and grabbed hold of the rucksack just as he was getting set to pedal off. He used the rucksack to throw him into bushes across the road from the house.

The burglar then threw the bag, strewing its contents across the road whiled swearing at the man and then fleeing.

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The man said: 'That is when it impacted that he could have had a weapon, various members of my family have said to me 'was that wise?' I say if I had not have done it he would have been away with the bike and our food, if someone nicks your phone out of your hand are you just going to stand and let him go? If someone grabs a woman's hand bag, are you going to say nothing and do nothing?

'That is the way I look at it. Things just go through your head, I was thinking 'I am so close to him, maybe I can catch him'.

'It depends on the situation, maybe I was braver than I might have been as I had my son here, but at the end of the day if they are taking something and they are even stood on your property, my initial reaction would be to try to nick it back. You do not think of it at the time, you just think there is someone out there who is nicking something of yours and maybe I can stop them getting away. Otherwise you are just standing at the gates saying 'goodbye food, goodbye bike'.

'I am not a hero, I was just protecting my own, you are having my stuff away, you are not getting away with it that easily.'

The man, who works at a nearby Wilkinsons store and lives with two sons aged 19 and 24, and his wife, does not wish to be named as he is a quiet man who does not desire the spotlight, but also because he has had his fingers burnt by the national press as a teenager.

At age 17 he and a colleague were set upon by four men armed with coshes as they delivered takings from the Tesco they worked at to a bank in London - the man grew up in Enfield.

His colleague was dragged off down an alley and assaulted while he ran off with the money and the armed men in pursuit, he ran round the block and returned to where his colleague had emerged from the alley, evading the men and chucking the money bag to him over the road, and escaping.

When he returned to the shop he was given a telling off for putting himself in danger, and was hounded by the London press.

'Your mind does not think, you just leg it. You do not really believe it is happening, and when it happens, you just do not want to let them take something that you have a hold of.

'I was even told off for putting myself in danger then, and this time around, as I said to the police, if the burglar had hit his head I could have been liable for that, and you think 'you must be having a laugh?''

All of the man's property was recovered with help from two people the police would like to trace.

A young man and young woman are thought to have witnessed the drama and then helped the man - who had now upped his home security with lights and new locks - carry his property inside the house.

Police are asking them - or anyone who knows who they are - to come forward, and they are also keen to hear from anyone with information about the burglar.

A Norfolk Constabulary spokesman said: 'We now have a potential lead that may help us trace the young man and woman but we would still ask that they come forward and contact us directly as they may have information that can help us trace and identify the offender even if they believe they only have limited details.

'While we don't encourage people to pursue offenders for their own personal safety, clearly the gentleman in this case has been extremely brave to go out and confront the burglar, which led to the recovery of the items that had been stolen.

'We would ask anyone with information about the incident or the offender to contact police.'

The young man was described by the homeowner as being young, possibly 21 years of age, about 6ft tall with facial hair.

If you can help, call Pc Grant Buchanan at Gorleston on 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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