A quick-thinking off-duty police officer tackled a prolific Worcester burglar while out shopping, grabbing him to stop him making a second getaway.

The unassuming sergeant, who did not wish to be named, was responsible for catching one of Worcester's most prolific career burglars, Nicholas Dutfield, who was on the run at the time.

Wanted by police, Dutfield had previously escaped police by jumping out of a window in a flat in All Saints Road.

We are now able to bring you more detail about how he was finally apprehended and the lengths some officers will go to in the line of duty to keep city streets safe.

The Worcester News can also reveal that officers within West Mercia are working to link the criminal to more raids but that the burglar, now in prison, has so far refused to co-operate with their enquiries.

Dutfield, who has what the judge called 'an appalling record', admitted burglaries at two Worcester gyms, stealing a porter's push bike from a locked shed at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester and even stealing items from a city Aldi store before he was caught and arrested on October 11 this year.

The 50-year-old was jailed for 23 months at Worcester Crown Court earlier this month.

The officer responsible for bringing him in was purchasing some food when he has noticed Dutfield in the store shoplifting, initially calling for back-up.

He said: "As I was off duty and not in possession of my personal protective equipment I called a colleague who I knew to be on duty and requested officers make towards Aldi.

"Whilst on the phone I noted that Dutfield had an Aldi sandwich in his hand.

"He was acting furtively continually looking around and over his shoulder. I then witnessed Dutfield walk towards the main door to the supermarket, he walked through an unattended till and left the premises making no attempt to pay for the sandwich.

"When he left the supermarket he turned right, walked to the bike shelter and got onto a grey mountain bike. Fearing that he would cycle away prior to officer arrival I made the decision to arrest Dutfield for theft from store and burglary.

"At 3.40pm I approached Dutfield as he began to cycle from the carpark. As I did I said to him 'I am a police officer, you are under arrest for theft and burglary'.

"I then took hold of the front of his jacket and detained him to prevent him from cycling away. Dutfield initially resisted attempting to free himself from my grasp. I repeated to him that I was a police officer and he calmed down becoming compliant."

Dutfield of Wyld's Lane, Worcester has 40 convictions for 175 offences - 135 theft and 'kindred offences' including 'a substantial number of non-dwelling burglaries' (10 such burglaries).

It was considered an aggravating feature that Dutfield was on licence at the time of these most recent offences following a 20 month prison sentence imposed on August 28 last year.

On July 3 this year Dutfield broke into Blueprint gym in Weir Lane in Worcester, smashing a groundfloor window and stealing cash, a laptop and a digital camera valued at £1,664.

An attempted burglary happened at the Wishing Well Nursery in Worcester a few days later on July 9.

Dutfield was responsible for another burglary at Fit3Sixty in the Shrub Hill Industrial Estate on October 6 this year.

In March last year we reported how Dutfield broke into the Freedom Church in Lowesmoor.

Once inside he

Dutfield broke into the safe which cost £370 to replace and made off with an iPod Touch worth £159, an iPad worth £289 and £96 in cash.

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said: "We are still investigating him for 15 other offences, a mixture of burglaries and thefts – we have visited him in prison recently where he has refused to be interviewed about these outstanding matters."