Sorry to be late but I've made an arrest

PUBLISHED: 15:42 20 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:21 03 March 2010

A HERO dentist who made a citizen's arrest on a bag snatch thief in Ipswich town centre has told how he chased the thief through town.

A HERO dentist who made a citizen's arrest on a bag snatch thief in Ipswich town centre today told of the chase through town.

The thief struck in Tavern Street targetting a woman, believed to be seven months pregnant, before making off.

Her cries for help were heard by Dr Paul Tildsley as he left his surgery in The Walk to pick his children up from school at about 4pm on Wednedsay.

The 35-year-old dentist and another man jumped into action and chased the offender as he raced away from the scene of the crime near the Virgin music store.

Dr Tildsley said: "I heard the woman shouting 'Help, he's got my purse - somebody stop him.'

"I didn't see him take the bag, but I saw him run off. One man followed him up the street as he ran up the side of Marks and Spencer, to the back of the building where there's a car park, and I ran towards Monsoon. He ran round towards me … between us we stopped the villain.

"He had run out of puff by this time, and slumped to the floor. I got the purse off him and made sure he hadn't taken anything. I dialled 999 on my mobile phone - I've never had to do that before - and within minutes a police car arrived which I called over."

Dr Tildsley handed the offender over to the police then dashed off to pick Lauren, eight, and Zach Doyle, six, from St Margarets Primary School where they were waiting for him.

He said: "I wouldn't like it to happen to anybody I know, so I hope the lady is all right.

"I reacted instinctively when I heard her shout - it seemed the right thing to do so I did it.

"There was no fighting; he gave up and the police took over. I'm not a small guy, nor was the other chap who was chasing him."

Dr Tildsley, of the Cornhill Family Dental Practice, added that the children didn't believe his dramatic excuse for being late - until the police rang him later to tell him the outcome.

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