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.

Loading article content

“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.