Gateshead thief was caught by have-a-go-hero

A THIEF tackled by a Northumberland have-a-go hero has been handed an Asbo.

David Stobbart with Robert Exley (inset)

A THIEF tackled by a Northumberland have-a-go hero has been handed an Asbo. David Stobbart stole an ipod and sunglasses from a car in Gateshead as revellers partied on New Year’s Eve.

But his search for rich pickings was kicked into touch by teenage Northumberland rugby player Robert Exley.

The 18-year-old Berwick Rugby Club flanker tackled Stobbart after he spotted the thief in action. He managed to grab his trainer from his foot which he handed in to police.

Officers later traced Stobbart, who has admitted theft from a vehicle and asked for three other thefts to be taken into consideration.

The 29-year-old has now been slapped with a Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order banning him from entering Whickham, the Metrocentre, Axwell Park, Blaydon and Derwenthaugh for two years.

“We are pleased that this Crasbo application has been successful as it will protect the residents of Whickham and the wider area from someone who has been a serial offender,” said PC Gordon Watson.

“His actions subjected his victims to harassment, alarm and distress.”

Stobbart, of East View Terrace, Swalwell, Gateshead, had also admitted committing a further offence while subject to a 12-month conditional discharge imposed last March for possession of amphetamine.

Gateshead magistrates heard that Robert was at a New Year’s Eve party with friends and family at the Whickham home of Tom Robson, owner of environmental engineering firm Roflow, when he noticed someone climbing out of a car outside. Inside the rest of the guests at the party continued celebrating unaware of the pursuit through the ice outside and the significant bruising to his ribs which Robert suffered.

He gave chase, following Stobbart into nearby Chase Park where he tackled him to the ground.

As Stobbart slipped away, Robert was able to grab his leg and pull a trainer off him.

When traced by police Stobbart admitted stealing an iPod worth £178 and sunglasses worth £160 from the BMW car belonging to Mr Robson’s.

The court was told that he committed the offence because he has a drug habit and was in debt to an individual.

His lawyer said Stobbart never damaged vehicles and only stole from them if he tried the door and found it unlocked.

Mr Robson, whose company is based in Jarrow, South Tyneside, has personally thanked quick-thinking Robert for his efforts.

Inner West Neighbourhood Inspector Michael Robson described the teenager’s efforts as “extremely brave” and “great lengths” to go to.

Robert, of Spittal, Berwick, said: “I couldn’t believe what he was doing. I was just determined to catch him.”

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