Citizen arrest catches lead thief


A THEFT was nipped in the bud when a resident apprehended a man stripping lead from his Chesterfield home.

Wilson Spencer saw Gary Webster on a bay window dropping strips of lead onto the pavement at 10.30am on December 20.

“He called police and went outside with his camera and took pictures of the defendant,” Becky Mahon, prosecuting, told town magistrates.

“The defendant swung for him and he pulled the defendant’s shirt over his head and held him there until police arrived.”

Webster was arrested and said he had recently lost his job in the building trade and couldn’t find work.

“He said he intended to weigh the lead in at a scrapyard,” added Ms Mahon.

Webster, 32, of Herriott Drive, admitted attempted theft of lead. He had a previous conviction for theft.

The justices imposed a one-year probation supervision order, including a six-month drug rehabilitation programme, and ordered him to pay £200 compensation.

“The economic downturn left him struggling financially and he succumbed to the temptation of stealing,” said Jon Barber, for Webster.

“Mr Spencer effected a citizen’s arrest and a member of the public called police, believing Mr Spencer was assaulting the defendant.”

Webster had alleged that he was punched to the head and pulled to the ground, and his shirt was then pulled over his head and he was kicked.