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Have a go hero says police said they were 'too busy' to arrest man who had smashed up Christchurch fish and chip shop

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A FURIOUS have-a-go hero has made an official complaint to Dorset Police after they refused to send officers to arrest a suspect who left two teenage girls cowering in fear when he went on the rampage in the fish and chip where they work.

Jay Saunders chased a man who he said caused hundreds of pounds of damage at Alexander’s in Stanpit, Christchurch, on Saturday night at around 8pm.

He said police were called at least three times by him and staff but refused to come saying they were “busy elsewhere”.

Alexander's Fish & Chips in Christchurch (picture: Google)
Alexander's Fish & Chips in Christchurch (picture: Google)

Mr Saunders told the A&T how he was in a room at the back of the shop when he heard a commotion.

He said: “I came out to see what had happened and found the two girls really frightened and the Covid protection screens in the shop smashed to bits.

“I managed to pin down the suspect, who was outside by then, but he escaped and ran off. I then started following him. The police were called three times to tell them what had happened and asked to arrest him.

“But I was told by the call handler to ‘let the gentleman go’ and that police would deal with it a ‘later date’.

“I said I was not happy with that – the man had frightened the two girls who are only 15 and 16 and caused lots of damage. But I was told by 999 that they basically had more important things to deal with.

“I was so angry. I had the man in my sights for two hours. I appreciate the police are busy but this was a nasty incident and the suspect was there right in front of me. But in the end, I just had to let him walk away.”

CCTV footage shows the man threatening staff and smashing the screens after he returned to the shop claiming that he had not received a chicken burger and sausage that he had ordered with his chips.

CCTV showing the man punching through the Covid protection screen
CCTV showing the man punching through the Covid protection screen

When contradicted by staff the man shouted at the teenagers before throwing items at them as they hide behind the counter. He then rounded on another member of staff.

Mr Saunders, who is related to the owners of Alexander’s, said he has now made an official complaint to Dorset Police about the lack of response.

A report of the attack was also posted on social media, along with a complaint about how the police dealt with it.

Officers visited the owners of Alexander’s on Tuesday and asked for CCTV of the incident.

In a statement a police spokesperson said: “

Due to officers being committed with other issues at the time of the report, they were unable to attend the scene. A description of the offender was obtained and broadcast to officers for their awareness while responding to incidents in the area.

“A full investigation will be carried out into this incident and officers will be gathering all available CCTV evidence to assist with their enquiries.”

They added: “The call handler maintained professionalism and empathy during the discussions, apologised that officers were unable to attend and gave the caller advice around their own personal safety under the circumstances.

“All members of the public are advised not to expose themselves to risk and to call 999 if a suspect is seen again.”

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