Store calls police after tradesman buys boltcutters

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TRADESMAN Billy Fitzearle was outraged after a DIY store reported him to the police after he bought bolt cutters.

He bought the tools – which he uses for his work as a landscape gardener – at The Range in Gosport.

Billy Fitzearle of Bridgemary who bought a bolt cutter from The Range in Gosport.'' (132943-3)

Billy Fitzearle of Bridgemary who bought a bolt cutter from The Range in Gosport.'' (132943-3)

And he couldn’t believe it when police officers turned up at the home he shares with his mum to quiz him.

He said: ‘I’m just an average working man who wants to look after my family.

‘Surely they should have refused to serve me in the first place if they thought I was a suspicious character?

‘Just because I bought bolt cutters does not mean I’m going to steal bikes.

‘If I bought jerry cans would that mean I’m going to set fire to something?’

Mr Fitzearle, of Nobes Avenue, Gosport, said the police visited his mum’s house, where he also lives, after learning of the purchase.

He said the police then inspected his company van and his own van.

‘The police were happy that there was nothing wrong,’ he said.

‘But I was made to look like a common criminal just for doing my job.

‘It’s disgusting that they could sell me something and then call the police and disturb my life like that.

Mr Fitzearle later visited the store where a manager apologised for the inconvenience caused.

But the company refused to offer a written apology.

A spokesperson for The Range said: ‘The store was made aware of numerous bike thefts in the area.

‘A decision was made to inform the police following the purchase of three pairs of bolt cutters and what they deemed as suspicious circumstances.

‘The customer involved in the incident has been very aggressive and abusive to members of staff in our customer service department

‘This kind of abuse will not be tolerated by the company and will be dealt with appropriately if it continues.

‘We stand by our decision to inform the police but cannot be held responsible for their actions in dealing with this matter.’