Man ran after thief who stole cash from 84-year-old at ATM in Barton
A man has been praised after chasing down a thief who stole money from an 84-year-old using a cash point.
Stephen van Morton chased Phillip Smith after he took the money at a cash machine being used by Frank Danson in Barton on September 10.
In a quick-thinking act, Mr van Morton took a picture of Smith on his mobile phone after chasing him down.
Recorder Tahir Khan QC said: "I want to say publicly that the way Mr van Morton acted was very public spirited and deserves the thanks of the court for his actions, which led to this arrest."
FREE MEAL OFFER at our award winning restaurantView details
Whatever your occasion, book a table for 6 or more and we will give you a free meal up to the value of £15 with this voucher.
Terms: Cannot be used with any other offers or vouchers. Your email address.......................... (if you want to receive vouchers in the future). Print voucher or show us the voucher on your phone.
Contact: 01724 281289
Valid until: Tuesday, June 25 2013
Smith, 25, of Market Lane, Barton, was on a six-year licence period when he carried out the cash machine attack. He was jailed in 2010 after stabbing a man in the neck with a broken bottle.
Smith, who admitted theft, common assault and possessing an offensive weapon, was given 25 months custody for last month's attack, but has been recalled to prison until December 2018.
James Byatt, prosecuting, told Grimsby Crown Court that Frank Danson went to Lloyds TSB in Market Place to withdraw £100.
Mr Byatt said: "As the cash was being dispensed, a hand reached around him, took hold of the money and took it from the wall."
Mr Danson took hold of the arm, but fell to the floor.
Mr van Morton witnessed the incident and set off running after Smith. He caught him and asked for the cash.
As he did, Mr van Morton saw a knife fall from Smith's pocket.
Mr van Morton asked Smith for the money back, and heard in reply: "If I give you the money back, will you let me go?"
Smith then went to hand £20 over and as he did so, Mr van Morton took a photo of the defendant.
Mr Byatt told the court that Mr van Morton told police he acted on adrenaline, but on reflection the situation could have been a lot worse because of the knife.
Smith told the police he had been waiting in the Market Place for around 10 minutes. He said he was disgusted with himself for attacking an elderly man and had he known his age he would have carried out the attack on someone else.
Smith said he carried the knife for self-defence.
Richard Hackfath, mitigating, said: "My only real mitigation is he made full admissions to the police and I would ask for him to be given maximum credit for doing so."