POLICE have defended their use of a disabled parking bay at a Worcester supermarket because they were responding to a theft.

Two men were arrested following the theft of a television from Tesco’s St Peter’s branch at about 5pm on Saturday.

The responding officers parked in the space reserved for blue badge holders as they worked with the store’s manager to review CCTV footage of the offence, which led to the men being arrested in Droitwich at 6pm the same day.

Chief Inspector Mark Steele said the use of the space was necessary as it was in response to an emergency call and an ongoing incident.

“On Saturday evening, there was an emergency response to thieves stealing a TV from Tesco at St Peter’s, which was the latest in a series of similar crimes at the store in recent weeks.

“The two officers who were dispatched to Tesco parked in the nearest space they could find to the store’s entrance, which happened to be a disabled bay. Quick access was needed to the car in case the offenders were still in the area.

“While at the store they worked with the manager to review CCTV of the offence, gathered evidence and liased with officers who were in Droitwich tracing the thieves.

“This work led to the arrest of two people while the officers were still at the store. The stolen TV was recovered and the pair was charged with four offences.

“Ordinarily, while on a routine visit, officers wouldn’t and shouldn’t park in a disabled bay, but on this occasion it was necessary for operational reasons. I hope the public appreciate why this was necessary in these circumstances.”

A shopper, who left the store at about 5pm and did not want to be named, said: “I walked toward my car to find this, which was not displaying a blue disability badge unlike the surrounding cars.”

A Tesco spokesman said it would not comment on the incident as it was a police matter, but said: “We have a range of security measures in place to tackle shoplifting, which help us to keep prices down for our customers.”