Police inspector foils Worcester robbery suspect

Inspector Simon Richards, who foiled a robber in the centre of Worcester.

Inspector Simon Richards, who foiled a robber in the centre of Worcester.

First published in News
Last updated

AN off-duty police inspector has relived the moment he foiled a robber who tried to escape through the streets of Worcester.

Inspector Simon Richards was in the city with his wife and 11-year-son when he apprehended Joseph Smith moments after the 26-year-old had prized the bag from Vicky Holden as she returned to her car.

The officer, who works for West Midlands Police, praised his West Mercia colleagues for arriving on the scene so quickly.

However, he feels the 16-month jail term handed to Smith, who had 28 previous convictions, last week was perhaps too lenient.

"Sentencing is obviously a matter for the courts, but I was surprised the sentence wasn't longer," said Insp Richards, who is 39.

The robbery happened last November during the Victorian Christmas Fair.

As reported by your Worcester News last Saturday, Mrs Holden was returning to her car in King Street with her 15-year-old daughter when Smith bumped into her and pulled the handbag away.

"I was walking along Severn Street, by the King's School, when I heard a commotion coming from further up the road, towards town," said Insp Richards.

"I heard someone shouting 'stop that man'.

"From the second shout it was obvious this was not somebody messing about. He was shouting, 'he's just stolen a bag'.

"I then saw someone running towards me before turning into a car park."

He said the assailant tried to scale the car park wall but, having done so, landed on the pavement the other side just in front of where Insp Richards was standing.

"I told him to stand still and I grabbed hold of him and put him against the bonnet of a parked car.

"He started to struggle. I ended up restraining him on the floor.

"If it wasn't for those people chasing after him it would have been difficult to stop him."

By this time a group of between eight and 10 members of the public had gathered at the scene. At least one had called the police.

"Officers were on the scene within just a few minutes; I was quite impressed," he said, adding his 11-year-old son was "excited" by the events he'd just witnessed.

At Worcester Crown Court, Smith, of Field Lane, Worcester apologised for his actions.

The handbag and its contents were later returned intact to Mrs Holden.

Comments (4)

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4:22pm Thu 27 Mar 14

gmoore1207 says...

no story here his is a police man thats what they do
no story here his is a police man thats what they do gmoore1207
  • Score: -20

8:03am Fri 28 Mar 14

Duke30 says...

Gmoore you are an idiot! Yes he is a policeman but at the time of the incident he was off duty with his children. He put himself at risk to help others. I for one would like to say well done!
Gmoore you are an idiot! Yes he is a policeman but at the time of the incident he was off duty with his children. He put himself at risk to help others. I for one would like to say well done! Duke30
  • Score: 9

8:29am Fri 28 Mar 14

Tony1952 says...

Well said, Duke30. This policeman is a credit to the force.

gmoore1207, reading your comment it is obvious that some village somewhere is currently missing its' idiot!!!
Well said, Duke30. This policeman is a credit to the force. gmoore1207, reading your comment it is obvious that some village somewhere is currently missing its' idiot!!! Tony1952
  • Score: 10

12:04pm Fri 28 Mar 14

liketoknow says...

he's right about the sentence
he's right about the sentence liketoknow
  • Score: 5

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