Brave Rustington teenager helps police catch betting shop robbery suspect

A last-minute Christmas shopping trip turned dramatic for a Rustington mother and son who got caught up in a robbery.

Friday, 27th December 2019, 10:46 am
Updated Friday, 27th December 2019, 10:48 am

On Tuesday, December 17, at around 6pm, Denise Leal and her son Nathan were speaking to a homeless man outside Tesco Express in Sterling Parade, Rustington, after buying him a coffee.

Suddenly, a woman ‘came screaming past them’ and pointing at a nearby man, saying he had robbed someone, Denise said.

Sussex Police confirmed that two men had threatened and assaulted a female staff member at the Coral betting shop next door and stole a small sum of cash. One suspect got away by bike, police said.

Nathan Leal

Denise, 48, from Dinsdale Gardens, Rustington, said: “It was instinct to go running after him. I saw two lads about to get in a car, and I shouted out to them asking them to help.”

They stopped the man getting on his bike and followed him when he ran behind Rustington Library in Claigmar Road. Nathan, 13, joined them. He said: “It was just crazy. I walked in the pitch black; I was so scared but I wanted to find him.”

The pupil at St Philip Howard Catholic School in Barnham then stopped him climbing over a barbed wire fence before the police arrived. Nathan said: “At first I was very scared, but then when I got into it the adrenaline kicked in and I was really pumped.”

Denise was ‘absolutely proud’ of her son and praised the other young men, saying they were ‘ever so brave’.

Sussex Police said 44-year-old Graham Baker, unemployed, of Shadwells Road in Lancing, was charged with robbery and remanded in custody to appear at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday, January 17.

Billy Betts, 28, a roofer, of Irene Avenue, Lancing, was also charged with robbery and was remanded in custody to the same date and place.