Local heroes: Booze thief jailed after being trapped by children following raid on Tweedbank shop
Published: 4 Sep 2012 13:301 comment
A well-known shoplifter attempted to snatch an eight-pack of lager from Tweedbank's Premier Store last Wednesday evening.
But 23-year-old Daniel Hamilton was spotted by a group of youths who ran after him to the banks of the nearby Tweed. And they guarded the riverside until police arrested the serial offender as he emerged.
Tweedbank Late Shop owner Steve Wilson told the Border Telegraph: "It really shows the support the community gets around here - we don't tolerate shoplifters.
"I was approaching the shop when I saw Hamilton come out, and he had a massive bulge under his top - so I asked if he had something, and at the same time one of my staff came out and said he'd stolen drink.
"I wasn't going to chase him - but the folks who were outside ran after him."
Hamilton of Buccleuch Road in Selkirk was jailed for a total of four months when he appeared from custody the following day at Jedburgh Sheriff Court.
He also admitted snatching two bottles of wine from Sainsbury's supermarket in Selkirk on August 5.
Amongst his pursuers was Galashiels Academy pupil Josh Bertram. The 15-year-old said: "He started to run away and we weren't going to let him get away with stealing from the shop.
"We chased him for about 20 minutes and at one point he stopped and began shouting at us saying he'd already been to jail for stealing alcohol and didn't want to go back.
"But we followed him down to the river and he waded into it - he kept falling into the water. We then ran and cycled around to the other side of the water, down to Boleside for about a mile, where we caught up with him."
Onlookers at Tweedbank watched Hamilton sit down in the river and float down with the current, drinking a can of Carlsberg.
Jedburgh Sheriff Court was told that Hamilton already had a long list of previous convictions for dishonesty.
Procurator Fiscal Graham Fraser said: "He has something like 76 previous convictions for dishonesty, 21 offences committed while on bail and 14 breaches of an ASBO."
Police praised the actions of the Tweedbank youths but discourage others from putting themselves at risk.
A spokesperson for the Lothian and Borders force said: "It is understood that a group of youths assisted police in tracing this male and the items that he had allegedly stolen.
"Whilst we would discourage members of the public from putting themselves at risk, it is clear that the actions taken by these youths assisted police in bringing the incident to a swift conclusion."