Brave garden centre workers chased a man and restrained him by the roadside in a ‘dramatic’ incident on Saturday (December 12).
Newbridge Nurseries Garden Centre manager Steve Nicholls told the County Times that he and colleague Dan Grain pursued a man they believed left the store without paying for Christmas stock worth about £500.
After a ‘kerfuffle’ by the side of the busy Billingshurst Road, which left Steve with a badly sprained wrist, the pair apprehended a man.
Steve said: “It was a bit dramatic but it was a really good feeling to be honest.
“I’m really fed up of people doing that. At this time of year it’s rife, they just all seem to come out of the woodwork.
“Although some people told us we shouldn’t really have got involved as it could have been dangerous, we’re glad we did, and we think we did the right thing.”
He explained that a member of staff at the Broadbridge Heath garden centre alerted him after spotting a man leaving the premises at about 2.45pm.
He said: “It was a really busy day. One of my colleagues happened to see this guy walking out with a trolley loaded with Christmas stock. He went over to a car and I received a phone call to go and assist.”
Steve approached a man and confronted him in the car park, and the man said that he paid for the items but lost his receipt.
The man eventually agreed to walk back towards the garden centre, but then abandoned the trolley and ran off, with Steve and Dan in pursuit.
Steve said: “I legged it over to the other door and heard he ran across the car park.
“I got about half a mile down the road and decided to head back the other way to see if he was hiding in the bushes, or if he was under a bridge.
“I found him crouched in some bushes on his phone.
“There was a kerfuffle, I had a lot of difficulty trying to restrain him.”
During the struggle between the three men, Steve fell and landed heavily on his wrist, while Dan suffered some cuts.
However, the pair had the man ‘under control’ within a few minutes and prior to the arrival of the police.
Sussex Police said this week that a man has been charged with theft of Christmas decorations and possession of cannabis.
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