SIX trainee builders were praised by magistrates for chasing and apprehending a thief who snatched a 78-year-old woman’s purse in Dewsbury.
They held onto the thief until police arrived – and at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court this week, Simon Lee Jennings, 27, from Howard Street, Batley Carr, was fined £195 and given a 12-month community order after pleading guilty.
Magistrates commended the have-a-go heroes, who are all students at Kirklees Colleges Construction Academy in Dewsbury, saying the case would probably not have been dealt with so quickly if it hadn’t been for them.
They also told Jennings he could have faced a jail sentence as the court did not look favourably at crimes involving vulnerable victims.
The incident happened at lunchtime on Tuesday, April 29, at the Lidl supermarket on the Dewsbury ring road.
The students – Steven Hunter, from Shaw Cross, Kallam Bees, from Heckmondwike, Declan Marsden, from Batley, Callum Carter, from Dewsbury Moor, Damian Wagstaff, from Horbury, and Jamie Trepiak from Dewsbury Moor – were returning from town to college when they saw Jennings take Edith Mullins’ purse as she loaded shopping into her car.
They chased the thief through town before finally catching up with him outside Greggs in Foundry Street, hauling him to the ground and restraining him until police arrived.
Steven said: “Declan set off chasing him, then everyone started running after him.
“I stayed with the old lady to make sure she was okay. She was a bit shocked and shaken.
“It was just instinct. If it was my gran, I’d have wanted someone to do the same.”
Declan added: “People have been calling us heroes. But we didn’t really think about it. We just knew it was the right thing to do.”
Curriculum team leader Jonathan Inglesfield and lecturer Luke Oliver spotted the students and stayed with them to make sure they were safe until police arrived.
Jonathan said: “The manager of Greggs said the students could have a free drink when they had finished with the police.
“There were a lot of people gathered around and passed by to have a look and all congratulated and thanked the students for their actions.
“The way they acted was just amazing. They were exceptional advocates for the college and did themselves and the community proud.”