A THIEF got more than he bargained for after trying to steal from cars outside a soldier’s married quarters.
Warrant Officer Class 2 Iain Bareham, from Lee-on-the-Solent, is a physical training instructor for the British Army based in Herford, Germany.
The 38-year-old has been honoured by the German town for his courage after tackling a burglar who stole from cars parked outside his home.
The confrontation ended in a scuffle, but the physical instructor came off best, much to the delight of the German town’s police.
WO2 Bareham said: ‘Unfortunately for the guy, I am a physical training instructor for the British Army.
‘I have been marathon training lately and had just finished the Frankfurt marathon, so I had good distance in my legs.’
At 6.30am on a Saturday morning, WO2 Bareham heard suspicious noises coming from outside his married quarters in Glatzerstrasse, Herford.
Looking out of his bedroom window, he saw the man tampering with car doors and taking objects from inside the vehicles.
WO2 Bareham got dressed, left his house and followed the thief all the way to his own house before challenging him.
After a scuffle, the thief escaped, but the physical instructor gave chase just as the police arrived to nab the culprit.
Herford’s council commissioner and mayor were so impressed with the 38-year-old’s actions they invited him and his wife Sharon to a reception to thank him personally.
He was then presented with an award for civil courage and a crate of local German beer – Herforder Pils.
It was not the first confrontation WO2 Bareham has ever had with thieves during his career.
In 2008, in York, he was attacked and stabbed in his buttock by a man with a knife.
But despite the wound, he refused to hand over his money and the robber escaped empty-handed.
In July 2011, again in Herford, Germany, he encountered another burglar, who kicked him in the face and stabbed him. That thief also made off with nothing.
‘Luckily the stabbing was only a minor wound,’ added WO2 Bareham.
‘It dented my pride more that he got away.’
Before joining the Army in 1990, WO2 Bareham was a pupil at Bay House School in Gosport.
He has served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Norway, Canada and Germany.