MAYOR of Middlesbrough Ray Mallon last night told how he wrestled to the ground a suspected thief running from a jewellers’ shop.
The 58-year-old, who earned the nickname Robocop with his no-nonsense style of policing during his time with Cleveland Police, was unhurt apart from suffering some minor back pain after his struggle with the 23-year-old.
The drama happened in Edinburgh on Saturday at about 4pm. Police Scotland spokesman said two Cartier watches worth £17,000 in total were recovered.
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“It took me back to the old days,” said Mr Mallon, who explained he was looking at watches at Laing’s, Scotland’s oldest family jewellers, when the incident took place.
He said: “I was visiting Edinburgh for the day and enjoying a bit of window shopping. I was looking at some watches in the window of a jeweller’s shop when I noticed a commotion inside.
“Suddenly a man came sprinting out the door with two assistants chasing after him.
“What happened next was instinctive, it took me back to the old days. I stepped across the man and we grabbed hold of each other and wrestled for a few seconds. I managed to get him in a headlock and we ended up on the ground.
“The two female assistants showed great courage and deserve a lot of praise. The man was shouting and trying to get away but they did a great job helping me to restrain him until police arrived and took him into custody.”
It is the second time in recent years the elected mayor has been involved in a street disturbance.
Mr Mallon apprehended a man who threw an egg at former Middlesbrough MP, Sir Stuart Bell, on Remembrance Sunday in 2011.
A Police Scotland spokesman said: "A 23-year-old man was arrested on Frederick Street, Edinburgh on Saturday afternoon by officers who were responding to an alarm call from a city centre jeweller after two watches worth more than £17,000 were taken from the store.
"On arrival the officers found the man had been detained by a member of the public who saw him running out of the store and tackled him to the ground.
"The man will appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday."
A spokeswoman for Laing’s confirmed the incident had taken place.