Praise for war veteran, 88, who tackled burglar

Stephen Clarke
Stephen Clarke
Hampshire police and crime commissioner Michael Lane. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A COURAGEOUS 88-year-old war veteran who tackled a burglar who struck at his home has been praised by police for his bravery.

Stephen Clarke targeted the victim – who wishes to remain anonymous – at his home in Green Road, Southsea.

But little did Clarke know the pensioner was at the property when he broke in.

The man tackled Clarke in the hallway but the crook managed to get away.

But the bungling burglar left documents at the property that linked him to the raid – including one with his mum’s address on.

Now the 43-year-old has been sentenced to five years and nine months in jail at Portsmouth Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to one count of burglary.

PC Andy Sims said of the victim: ‘Although we would advise people not to tackle burglars I think the victim was brave and courageous to try and stop this person and recover his property.’

PC Sims said that Clarke had got into the victim’s flat via a communal area at the block for older people.

The victim was in his lounge at the time.

He went to investigate after he heard noises coming from his hall where he found Clarke.

PC Sims added: ‘There were a few words exchanged and the victim grabbed hold of him and tried to restrain him.

‘Unfortunately he was knocked to the ground and the suspect fled.’

The victim later received hospital treatment for a minor injury he received to his hand.

A bag containing personal items belonging to Clarke had been left at the property.

Clarke handed himself in to police at Portsmouth Central police station about a week after committing the burglary on October 13 last year.

He had stolen about £280 in cash and 100 euros that the victim had been saving up towards a trip to Spain to see his family.

PC Sims said of the affect the burglary has had on the elderly victim: ‘This has affected him without doubt, but we have continued to support him throughout the whole process.

‘Burglary is a despicable act, but to then prey on the vulnerable in a multi-occupancy address, which they deem to be their place of safety, not only affects the victim but the other residents of the block.

‘It has and continues to affect them.’