Thief caught out at cricket club

AN off-duty policeman put a thief under pavilion arrest when he found him going through his cricket team's gear.Jonathan Cuff, a constable with Suffolk police, caught out the intruder after he was dismissed in a cup match and had walked back into the changing room.

By Jonathan Barnes

AN off-duty policeman put a thief under pavilion arrest when he found him going through his cricket team's gear.

Jonathan Cuff, a constable with Suffolk police, caught out the intruder after he was dismissed in a cup match and had walked back into the changing room.

"You don't come across something like that very often - let alone when you're off-duty," said the 32-year-old.


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Mr Cuff had been batting for Copdock and Old Ipswichians against South Weald in the npower Village Cup last month when the incident happened.

"I'd been caught out on the boundary for a measly four and trudged off in dismay," said Mr Cuff, who is based at Ipswich Police Station.

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"I was walking back to the changing room and I saw a lad going in there. I knew he wasn't a member of the club and realised he was turning the place over.

"I grabbed hold of him, sat him down and got everyone together in the changing room to see what had been stolen. He was pulling stuff out from under his jumper."

Club members called 999 and officers from Capel St Mary attended the Copdock club's ground in Old London Road and arrested him.

The intruder had climbed into the changing room through an open window, even though the door was unlocked.

Mr Cuff said the incident highlighted the need for sports clubs to be vigilant against thieves. "We had never had any problems like that before, and we were sitting ducks really," he said.

"Cricketers can be out in the field for a long time and that's why changing rooms are targeted.

"There's been a spate of thefts in recent years and people need to be aware of the threat - they should keep windows and doors locked and keep valuables safe."

Mr Cuff said his failure with the bat was a rare off-day in what has been a good season for him, but it didn't stop Copdock winning the game by 50 runs.

n Jason Beall, 23, of Bader Close, Ipswich, appeared in court in the town following the incident and pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and possessing a quantity of cannabis resin. He will be sentenced on Tuesday.

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