St Albans hero who helped catch repeat M&S thief slams company for their response

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer - Credit: Archant

A have-a-go hero, whose car suffered £1,000-worth of damage after he helped catch a thief who stole from a superstore, has slammed the company for their lack of gratitude.

The man, who wanted to remain anonymous, was trying to find a car parking space near the London Colney Marks & Spencer (M&S) when he noticed a man running out of the store with an arm full of clothes on hangers.

The thief, 26-year-old Gareth Chumber-Kelley, of Enfield, attempted to get in his car with the £750 loot and drive off but the onlooker drove to block him in.

Chumber-Kelley then repeatedly rammed his car, causing £1,000 of damage, and drove off - but not before the other driver snapped numerous photos which proved to be crucial evidence in tracking down the thief two days later.

Although he praised the police for keeping him in the loop with the operation, the motorist was not happy with the poor response from M&S, which tried to charge him £10 to see the CCTV footage needed for his insurance claim.

He said: “They actually wanted me to pay them after what I have gone through, it is unbelievable. They could at least have said thank you but no.

“It’s done me no favours and the disregard for what I have done is very frustrating. I’m glad I did what I did, but when M&S react like this it makes you think why some people would not.”

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His car was in the garage for repairs for two weeks and he had to pay £250 excess on his insurance,

Chumber-Kelley was charged with two counts of theft totalling more than £1,200, and one count of dangerous driving and driving without insurance.

He appeared at Hatfield Remand Court on May 17 and later at St Albans Crown Court on June 14. He will be sentenced shortly.

After the Herts Advertiser contacted M&S for comment, the motorist received a cheque for £300 from the company.

An M&S spokesperson said, “The safety of our customers and employees is of paramount importance and we would never encourage them to act in a way that puts them at risk.

“We appreciate the man’s intentions and are sorry to hear that he was disappointed with our response. We have offered him a gesture of goodwill to cover the costs he incurred.”