POLICE are investigating a complaint from a disabled man who was wrongly arrested for a robbery he says he could not physically have carried out.
Mark Hynes was arrested on suspicion of threatening staff at Corals betting shop, in Barncroft Way, Leigh Park, with a knife and was put on remand for two-and-a-half weeks at Winchester Prison.
The 37-year-old, of Priorsdean Crescent, says the community has now turned against him because they believed he was responsible for the robbery, even though another man has subsequently been arrested.
Mr Hynes was at home when officers came round to search the premises following the robbery on January 31. He was wrongly identified as the culprit and, after appearing in court, was sent to prison while officers investigated further.
The former heroin addict – who has been off the drug and out of trouble for more than a decade, says prison exacerbated his ill health and caused problems with his catheter.
He said: ‘It’s affected my life. Everyone in Leigh Park thinks I’m an armed robber. I’ve got a catheter because I’ve got urine problems. I limp up the road. I couldn’t have carried out a robbery but one of the police officers said it was me.’
Mr Hynes said it took police two weeks to check the CCTV properly and that was when it became clear Mr Hynes was not a suspect.
He added: ‘It came out of the blue. It was the last thing I expected. I’ve lost two-and-a-half weeks of my life because of this.’
Mr Hynes said he now wants an apology and compensation from the police.
In a statement police said: ‘Police can confirm a 37-year-old man from Havant was arrested on January 31 on suspicion of robbery. He was charged on February 1 with one count of robbery on a 29-year-old man at a betting shop in Havant on January 30. The charge was later withdrawn. An investigation is continuing into the robbery.
‘A 28-year-old man from Havant was arrested in London on Monday, March 18. He is now on police bail pending further enquiries.
‘Hampshire Constabulary received a formal complaint on Tuesday, March 19 from the 37-year-old man initially arrested and charged with robbery.
‘The circumstances surrounding the complaint are the subject of a separate investigation by the force.’