A former female rugby player tackled a jewel thief who hid a ring up his bum – and SAT ON HIM until the police came.
David Collins, 32, punched elderly jeweller Ivan Taylor before stealing a gold ring and sprinting off – with a trail of furious shopkeepers on his tail.
Mr Taylor, 74, gave chase – but it was only when Catherine Perrill, 21, spotted the commotion that they managed to stop the fleeing robber in his tracks.
The have-a-go heroine went for Collins, rugby tackled him to the ground and sat on him until police arrived at the scene some ten minutes later – even when he tried to bite her.
Unbelievably, the thief then tried to get Catherine arrested – saying she had assaulted him.
Now, the carer, of Tuffley, Glos., and Mr Taylor, of Truscotts Jewellers, have both been handed a £250 reward for their bravery by a judge – who jailed Collins for 18 months.
Catherine, who was with her little brother in the grounds of Gloucester Cathedral when she saw the thief run past, said: “I was with my little brother going to meet my friends when I saw three or four men run past.
“There was this guy in front and they were chasing him. Then I saw him turn around and everyone backed off, but he punched the jeweller.”
“I was brought up to look after the elderly so for me, standing there and watching this guy getting punched in the face wasn’t an option. I didn’t know anything about the ring.
“I went with instinct – I chased him up the road and rugby tackled him to the floor.
“He was struggling and trying to bite me but I just kept my weight on him and used my legs to hold him down.
“I didn’t really want to get bitten by him because he didn’t look like the cleanest of blokes.”
“One arm was wrapped around his shoulder and I had my leg on his. My body weight was on top of him diagonally and he was flat on the floor so he couldn’t get up.
“He was calling me a beast and other stuff. I used to be a rugby player and I still enjoy sports, but I’m quite chubby now. I think he thought I was a man, which is funny.
“When the police arrived to arrest this guy he had the cheek to say they should arrest me for assaulting him.”
When searched at the police station it was found Collins, who apparently smelled of alcohol, had hidden the ring up his anus.
Mr Taylor, of Truscott’s Jewellers, said: “Adrenaline kicked in when he tried to run off with it and I just thought, ‘I’m not going to let him get away with that’.
“Fortunately, I alerted my neighbour, who is a hairdresser, and he also gave chase. It was a joint venture with all the businesses.
“Collins hit hard me in the chest but then Catherine managed to stop him. She was very good. She just sat on him – it was absolutely brilliant.
“I’m very grateful to her. It was wonderful. It reminded me that people are still there to help. She needs a really good pat on the back.”
Collins, of Tewkesbury, Glos. admitted stealing a £655 ring on April 7 and two counts of common assault when he appeared at Gloucester Crown Court on Friday 28 August.
He was sentenced to 18 months in jail, while Judge Jamie Tabor handed Catherine and the jeweller a £250 reward each for their courage throughout the ordeal, on April 7.
The judge told Collins, who has 39 previous convictions: “You chose a ring, put it on your finger and closed your hand to prevent its removal.
“You shoved Mr Taylor over and you ran – you didn’t expect a 74-year-old man would have the courage to run after you. When he caught up with you, you punched him.
“It never ceases to surprise me how brave some people are.
“This was a highly volatile and potentially dangerous offender who was chased by Mr Taylor, who is obviously a sprightly and extremely courageous gentleman.”
“After that a young lady of 21 decided to step in and she effectively arrested him.
“I recommend they both receive £250 rewards for their outstanding good citizenship and courage in the face of this man’s actions.”
Catherine, who currently works at McDonald’s, said: “If people see that one or two people have got awarded for things like this, maybe in the future more people will help.
“I don’t care about the money so long as old people can walk down the street and feel safe.”