Man honoured after chasing and catching pair of thieves

Simon Cooper of Shoreham awarded for bravery by police SUS-151022-161611001
Simon Cooper of Shoreham awarded for bravery by police SUS-151022-161611001

A SHOREHAM man has received an award by Sussex Police after he bravely chased and captured two thieves who stole from his shop.

Simon Cooper, of Ropetackle, said he does not know what came over him, but when two men threatened his twin daughters and fled from his jewellery store with a gold chain in hand, he found himself caught up in a Hollywood-style chase.

But the 50-year-old did not fear for his own safety, he told the Herald: “It didn’t cross my mind because they had threatened my daughters and all the adrenalin was running through me.

“We work hard as a family to have a business and for someone to come in and help themselves is a big no no for me.”

Simon owns Cooper’s Jewellery in George Street, Hove, which is where the crime took place on March 23.

His twin daughters, Sophie and Lucy, 21, were front of shop when two men came in to enquire about a gold chain they had spotted in the window, worth £500.

He said: “One asked to see the gold chain in the window, while the other one distracted the other daughter. He snatched it and then ran.”

The panic alarm was triggered and Simon swiftly fled the shop. What followed was a 30 minute pursuit that led him through the streets of Hove, Sussex County Cricket Ground and over garden fences.

Hove councillor Robert Nemeth saw the pursuit in action and decided to join the shop owner in the chase.

Simon said: “We eventually caught up with them, wrestled with them and discovered one was armed with a crowbar.

“The police finally caught up with us and along with them we arrested the two gentlemen.”

A spokesman for the police said: “Following an immediate police search two Brighton men aged 28 and 22 were arrested on suspicion of theft by officers in nearby Holland Road and are currently in custody for interview and further enquiries.”

A few weeks ago, Simon received a phone call from Sussex Police to say he and Robert will be honoured for their courage shown on that day.

On Monday (October 19), police staff, officers, volunteers and residents assembled at the Sussex County Cricket Ground in Hove for the Brighton and Hove Police’s divisional awards ceremony, which was coincidentally the scene where part of the chase took place.

A total of 40 awards were given out to those honoured for their exceptional investigative skills, dedication to providing a public service and bravery.

Simon said: “I feel quite privileged to be recognised for our assistance in helping the police.

“My daughters think it’s fantastic and they’re very proud that I got an award.

“Thank you to the police for the recognition received.”

Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp said: “It is a real honour to be able to recognise the courage, hard work and dedication that the officers, staff and volunteers of Brighton and Hove Divisional show on a daily basis.

“It is also fantastic that we have been able to give awards to those working outside Sussex Police who have showed great courage, stepping into situations that many others would turn away from.

“Members of the public help make our job that bit easier and my colleagues and I are grateful.”

Awards were presented by Mr Kemp, police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne and the high sheriff of East Sussex, Juliet Smith.

Following the arrest, Dean Cooper, 29, of Tavistock Road, Brighton, was convicted of the theft of a gold chain/necklace worth £500 and jailed. The second suspect has no further action taken, according to police.