Hero lorry driver stops Clerkenwell thief in his tracks

�A brave lorry driver who chased a thief through Clerkenwell and held him until police arrived has insisted he is no hero.

Mark Tomlinson-Alan, 34, a Kent-based delivery driver, had just finished a job in Lever Street, Clerkenwell, last Wednesday when he saw a man on a bicycle snatch a woman’s iPhone and ride off into a nearby estate.

Colourful language

Mr Tomlinson-Alan drove after him, parked up and headed into the estate. He then caught the thief, got the stolen phone off him, pinned him down and called police.

He said: “I was on a break and still had a mouthful of pasty when I saw a young woman walking with a bloke on a bike behind her. He was fiddling with a mask he had round his neck and all his attention was focused on her. I thought to myself ‘this doesn’t feel right’ and then he snatched the phone.

“I ran up behind him and grabbed him. There was a bit of colourful language, but I got him into a corner and demanded the phone back.

“I started walking him out of the estate and told him he was getting done for this. He said I was a grass for reporting him. He started struggling and fiddling in his jacket. I wasn’t sure what he might have on him, so I got him out to the street, phoned the police and managed to hold him there until they came.”

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Despite the obvious danger, Mr Tomlinson-Alan said he wasn’t afraid. He said: “The only time I felt nervous was when he was reaching inside his jacket. Most of the time I was just thinking about getting the phone back. I thought ‘no way are you getting away with that – I’m not having that mate’.

Sterling efforts

“People keep saying I am a hero, but I don’t feel like one. I was just in the right place at the right time for that girl.

“It is such a shame our society has gone this way. If other people stepped in when they saw something like this happen, maybe the thieves would think twice before doing it.”

Detective Inspector Karen Gilmour, of Islington CID, said: “I would like to thank Mr Tomlinson-Alan again for his brave and sterling efforts in catching this man.”

Andre Hendon, 22, of Malta Street, Clerkenwell, pleaded guilty to theft at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on May 19 and was remanded in custody prior to sentencing at Blackfriars Crown Court on a date yet to be set.