A shopkeeper who turned detective to help catch a suspected thief alleged to have stolen from her store has thanked customers for their response.
Esha Kaur was left angered when staff at Kaur Convenience Store, in Boldon Lane, South Shields, told her how they had been tricked into handing over a number of scratchcards and cigarettes to a man they thought was a customer.
He needs to be caught. Today it is shops, tomorrow it could be a person he targets.Esha Kaur
Instead of paying for the goods, the man left the store while their back was turned after he asked for a second pack of cigarettes.
Captured on CCTV, the shopowner put his picture up in her store window and called on people to identify the man.
Within minutes of her appeal she was given a name and address, which has now been handed over to the police. The theft happened last Tuesday night.
Two days later, a second newsagent contacted police after a thief escaped with a number of scratchcards from their shop in a similar manner.
Police say that, at this stage the two thefts are not being linked, but have taken CCTV footage from the Boldon Lane store as well as the details handed to the owner of the alleged suspect.
Ms Kaur said: “The response from the community has been fantastic. Customers came forward straight away to give us information on the man once we put his picture up. They have been contacting us to make sure we are OK.
“He needs to be caught. Today it is shops, tomorrow it could be a person he targets. “
A Northumbria Police spokesman, confirmed both incidents had been reported to police but officers were not linking the crimes at this stage.
He said: “We are investigating a report of a theft from a shop on Boldon Lane, South Shields, on January 8.
“Inquiries are ongoing to trace those responsible.
“We recognise the significance of retail crime and its impact on shop owners and employees.
“We would always urge anybody who is a victim of retail crime to contact police on 101 or 999 if it is an emergency.”