A heroic dad who restrained a burglar using his ju-jitsu training says “I did what anyone would have done”.
Reece Wolfenden took the culprit down in a martial arts-style choke hold when he caught him coming out of his local chemist with a bag of swag.
Villagers praised Reece, 26, and two other men for their brave actions in tackling Daniel Bartlett outside Bare Pharmacy on Princes Crescent.
Reece, who lives near the chemist, heard a window smash and the burglar alarm going off as he was getting ready to go to bed at around 11.20pm on Saturday, August 19.
“I heard it all kicking off and so I went outside to see what was going on,” said the dad-of-one.
“He walked out of the pharmacy and pulled a screwdriver out of his pocket.
“I got him from behind in a choke, locked it in, kicked the screwdriver away and pulled him to the floor. Then I sat on him. Once I had got him he just accepted it.
“I’ve done three years of ju-jitsu training and I used to work in retail so I’m used to dealing with shoplifters.
“The police came after about four or five minutes. I went back inside and asked my wife for a brew!”
Reece said he’d received gifts off grateful villagers since the incident.
“Somebody brought me round some ales,” he said.
“I didn’t think I’d done much. Anyone would have done it.”
Two other men also helped to restrain Bartlett. The mother of one of the men said she witnessed the break-in.
“(Bartlett) was hammering at the bottom panel of the door for ages using a screwdriver and a brick,” said the woman, who wished to remain anonymous.
“He made an aperture then he was in like a rabbit through a hole.
“I was on the phone to the police for about five minutes, watching him.
“There were quite a few people out there walking up and down the Crescent. The (nearby) pubs were still open.
“He came out as bold as brass pulling a bag behind him.
“Reece is an absolute star. He went for the top half of him.
“As they held him down the guy said ‘my name’s Danny, I’m not going to do anything, I’m not going to resist’.
“There were three lads sitting on him. People stopped asking what was going on. My son sat on his legs. I’m proud of them.”
John McKenzie, who runs Bare Pharmacy with his wife Dorothy, said: “I can’t tell you how grateful I am to the people who apprehended him.”
The McKenzies said electric razors, an electric toothbrush and some make-up with the brand name ‘Not Guilty’ were stolen during the break-in.
Bare Pharmacy remains open for business but the McKenzies had to temporarily board up their smashed door.
Bartlett, 39, of Marine Road East, appeared before Preston Magistrates Court last Monday where he pleaded guilty to burglary.
He was given a 12 month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £100 compensation.
Mr McKenzie said: “We think the sentence is wholly inappropriate and this is not justice.”
Mrs McKenzie said: “The compensation doesn’t touch the value of the damage. It’s derisory.
“This has shattered the quiet confidence of Bare.”