Lancaster have-a-go hero catches bag thief

Stuart Rankin from Lancaster who chased after a would-be-thief from Asda supermarket.
Stuart Rankin from Lancaster who chased after a would-be-thief from Asda supermarket.

Two men chased a would-be thief after a woman’s handbag was snatched in a supermarket car park.

The group of men pursued the man after he was seen pulling a woman’s black handbag from her hands in Lancaster’s Asda car park.

The woman, who police believe is in her 60s, fell over as the man rushed off towards the cycle track, dropping the handbag as he ran.

Stuart Rankin, 35 from Lancaster gave chase to the man on foot around 8.30pm on Monday June 27.

Mr Rankin caught up with the man near to Scale Hall, Lancaster and wrestled him to the ground, dragging him back to the Ovangle Road store where police were waiting.

He said: “All that went through my mind as I chased him was, that could have been my mum or my nanna.

“The only thing that was important to me was the fact that he needs taking off the streets.

“He kept trying to pull something from his pocket.

“I thought he had a knife so I had to put him on his back on the floor, I had to show him I wasn’t messing about.

“By the time I got him back to Asda the lady had gone and police shortly arrived after.”

Colm McNutt was on a shopping trip, visiting the area with his partner when he also saw a couple arguing over a handbag.

Mr McNutt, 27, said: “I heard a woman shouting and screaming.

“A man was pulling a handbag away from a woman and he ran towards the petrol pumps. I got in my pickup truck to go after him and there were already men running after the guy.

“I caught up with him through the traffic lights and I got him just outside of AXA Insurance.

“He was trying to make a break for it.

“There was a bit of a struggle and he got away, heading towards Morecambe on the cycle track.

“My issue was, the cycle track is a bit isolated and I didn’t know if he had a knife or anything.

“I didn’t think of the woman at the time, I just went after the chap, but she was shaken up.”

Police were called to the supermarket shortly after 8.30pm, recovered the handbag and are now appealing for information following the alleged robbery.

They are keen to speak to the handbag owner and are asking her to contact officers on 101 quoting log reference 1424 of June 27.

Nicholas Stones, of no-fixed-abode, was later charged and arrested on suspicion of robbery.

He is due to appear in court.