A HAVE-a-go-hero who chased a shoplifter has been praised by the community for his bravery.

Carl Waters, 55, from Canvey, was riding his bike when he saw a man wearing a high-vis jacket running out of Boots, in Canvey High Street, on Wednesday afternoon.

He said: “I saw this guy come flying out of Boots with a rucksack and people were running after him.

“I was cycling along when I saw all the commotion.

“I thought I’m not going to let him get away with it.

“Shops lose enough money from shoplifters and then prices go up.”

Mr Waters gave chase but to his advantage, the shoplifter was unaware that Mr Waters was hot on his tail.

The thief ran through Canvey High Street towards the library and across a car park.

It then appeared that the man thought he had got away and stopped on the corner by the Post Office, in Adelsburg Road.

Mr Waters, added: “He didn’t know I was there and wasn’t expecting it.

“So I took him down and held him until police arrived.

“A guy from the estate agents then caught up with me and was the one to call the police.”

Since the incident, members of the Canvey community have pulled together to donate towards fixing Mr Waters bike, which was damaged during the altercation.

Les Cycles has kindly offered to take donations and take a look at Mr Waters’ bike.

Eyewitnesses also praised the police for their fast response.

Heidi Webb posted on Facebook: “I have to say the police response was brilliant.

“They were there within minutes and it was nice to see the public responding to shouts of ‘stop that man’ by trying to grab hold of the scum and not forgetting the man who pursued the thief.”

A spokesman for Essex Police, said: “Alexander Relph, 25, of Hellendoorn Road, Canvey, was arrested in High Street, Canvey, on Wednesday, December 4.

“He was charged with theft of deodorant cans from Boots in Furtherwick Road, Canvey, and possession of cannabis.

“He is due to appear at Southend Magistrates’ Court on January 6.”