Watch: CCTV shows robber caught by passers-by in Portsmouth

  • Offender is taken to the ground by courageous shoppers
  • Robber is jailed for two years
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A SERIAL robber has been jailed after brave shoppers tackled him as he was running away from his latest attack.

Joseph Shields, 38, was running down Commercial Road in Portsmouth after snatching £100 from a woman who was out Christmas shopping.

But two men, Neil Wortley and Lewis Mihell, tripped him up as he made his escape, before other members of the public helped to hold Shields down until police arrived to arrest him.

The incident happened on the Saturday before Christmas as the city centre was packed with shoppers.

The public-spirited actions of passers-by have since been praised by police.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard a 46-year-old woman was taking out £100 from the Halifax cashpoint at about 1.45pm on December 19.

Prosecutor Tim Dracass said: ‘She very quickly realised she was being robbed.

‘She saw the defendant grab the cash and he turned to his right to head up Commercial Road towards Argos.

‘She grabbed hold of him and took hold of the back of his jumper and shouted “he’s got my money”.

‘She held on to him for a few seconds, but he was able to pull himself away.

‘The lady fell forwards on to her knees.

‘She suffered bruising to her knees, a swollen ankle and in due course pain in her neck and shoulder.

‘As he made off she saw the defendant being apprehended by several members of the public.’

Mr Dracass said Mr Wortley, an officer with the Royal Military Police, and Mihell stepped in as Shields fled.

‘He (Mr Wortley) tripped the defendant up by kicking his shins and it seems another passer-by, Lewis Mihell, did a similar thing,’ he said.

‘They upended the defendant simultaneously.

‘The defendant went to the ground and a number of people restrained the defendant until police arrived.’

Mr Dracass added: ‘£60 of the £100 was recovered.

‘It may have been picked up by other members of the public in perhaps a less public-spirited nature.’

Defending Shields, barrister Simon Mojer said the robbery was ‘entirely impulsive’ and Shields had a drugs problem.

‘He had lost some money,’ he said.

‘He repeatedly states he is ashamed of his behaviour.’

Shields, of All Saints’ Road, Portsmouth, pleaded guilty to robbery.

Sentencing him to two years in prison, Judge Roger Hetherington said Shields had an ‘extensive record’ of previous convictions, including a 39-month sentence for robbery in 2014.

He said: ‘She (the victim) has been left fearful about withdrawing cash from cashpoints in the street.’

Mr Mihell told The News: ‘I simply did what I did as it was the right thing to do and I would do it again if I had to.’

Sgt Richard Holland, from Hampshire Constabulary, said: ‘This was a great result and came about because members of the public courageously tackled the suspect and detained him until police arrived.’