POLICE have warned residents not to take the law into their own hands after a man was convicted of assaulting someone he thought was a burglar.
David Blakeley, 54, of School Street, Ravensthorpe, confronted a suspect five days after his laptop was stolen.
Insp Jenny Thompson, of the Dewsbury and Mirfield NPT, said crimes should be left for police to investigate within the law.
Blakeley, sentenced by magistrates last Tuesday, claimed police were taking too long to recover his stolen computer.
Insp Thompson said: “Members of the public must not take the law into their own hands.
“Police are here to investigate and deal with acts of criminality and to work within the law.
“Often enquiries are made that members of the public don’t get to know about because revealing them could jeopardise an ongoing investigation.”
She added Blakeley, who went with two friends to the home of someone he thought was the burglar, was warned against this by police.
Council worker Blakeley was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work and must pay £100 compensation, a £60 victim surcharge and £200 court costs.
Blakeley, speaking after the hearing, said he regretted his actions and added: “I didn’t think the police were dealing with things quickly enough.
“All I was given was a crime number. And with the way the police work now I wondered if they’d ever get round to it.”
Blakeley claimed the affair began on March 27 when he was followed home by two men after a night out.
He said they barged their way in as he opened the door and, while distracted by one, the other stole his laptop from the kitchen.
Blakeley decided to act after police gave him an update on their progress five days later.
He went with two friends in the belief that he knew who the alleged culprits were, intending to ask for the £500 Sony Vaio computer back.
But a row ensued at the property on Huddersfield Road, Ravensthorpe, which landed Blakeley in court.
Insp Thompson said: “Officers updated the victim on April 1 about the progress of the enquiries.
“At this stage the victim suggested he did not wish to provide a statement and that he would deal with the incident himself.”
Soon after police were called to Huddersfield Road where an internal door at a home had been broken in a row.
Insp Thompson said: “At the time a woman and young children were inside the property.
“Due to his actions the man in this offence was arrested, charged and placed before the courts and has now been dealt with.”
Blakeley said his job could also be on the line as he has been called to explain himself at a meeting with council bosses.
He added: “I know I should have left it to the police, but I don’t think the punishment was fair.
“I’ve got do 100 hours community service and pay £360 while whoever stole my laptop has got away scot-free.”
Enquiries into the burglary are still on-going. Anyone with information can call the NPT on 101.