Ravinder ‘Bob’ Singh was arrested last year for assault by local police after stopping a shoplifter attempting to steal hundreds of pounds-worth of alcohol

Singh, owner of a Premier store in Dormanstown, North Yorkshire, told betterRetailing he is waiting to hear if he will be charged after the incident in November 2021, and is “living in fear” about the impact of a possible conviction on his reputation and personal life. 

Singh and his associates, including Sukhwinder Singh, decided to sleep inside his store on the night in question after witnessing the thief in action the previous day on CCTV. “I noticed a few bottles of spirits and champagne were missing from the shelves when I opened up on the day of the incident,” said Singh. 

“After watching the CCTV, I saw a hand coming down from the roof during the early hours of the morning trying to take the bottles.” The culprit, Jason Urwin, managed to enter the property by removing tiles from the ceiling, and climbing down into the suspended ceiling. 

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“We knew he would do it again the next night because he had been successful,” said Singh. 

“At 3am, the next day, we saw his hand come down to try to steal again. We attached a kitchen knife to a broom handle to scare him away.

“But, because the ceiling was only suspended, he fell about 12ft down onto the shop floor. He started wrestling with us, and we had to punch him to keep him down on the floor.

“We managed to get control of him, and quickly tied his hands and feet together with cable ties. We then phoned the police.” 

However, Cleveland Police arrested Bob and Sukhwinder Singh for grievous bodily harm. Singh said the incident has already had a severe impact on sales, and his reputation within the town. “The police handcuffed me outside the shop, which is on a busy parade,” he said. 

Jason Urwin pleaded guilty to burglary

“I was then held in custody for eight hours, which was hell. I’ve been living here for eight years and built up a good reputation in that time. My sales plummeted immediately after the incident, and there were lots of bad rumours going around about me.

“I’m from India, and if I’d have done this there, I would’ve been put on someone’s shoulders and hailed as a hero.” As a result, Singh revealed he was considering giving up working in retail. “I have a wife and three young children,” he said. 

“I don’t want to work in an industry where I have to deal with these sorts of people. “My wife is worried about what could happen to me and I don’t want to have to put myself at risk again.” 

When asked what drove Singh to take matters into his own hands, rather than report the break-in to the police, he said: “They wouldn’t have had any evidence other than seeing a pair of hands come down from the ceiling.” 

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Urwin already had a recorded 43 convictions for 143 offences across more than 25 years. “The police don’t do anything themselves,” said Singh. “Shoplifters know crimes are easy to get away with, which is why they keep on doing it.”

“On reflection, I wish I didn’t do what I did. I did something similar before, where I caught someone on my property and nothing was done as a result. I should have learned my lesson, but I never would’ve done it if I thought something like this was going to happen. 

“I never thought I would get arrested for trying to catch a shoplifter.” Urwin pleaded guilty at Teesside crown court and got a year’s jail suspended for 12 months, with a drug testing order. Cleveland Police failed to respond with an update on the case by the time our sister title Retail Express went to print.

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