Notorious burglar jailed after being foiled by brave Hartlepool shopkeeper

The flat in Russell Walk, Hartlepool, where burglar John Hughes was caught
The flat in Russell Walk, Hartlepool, where burglar John Hughes was caught

A HERO shopkeeper tackled a burglar and carried out a citizen’s arrest after the notorious criminal broke into the flat above his store.

Dervinder Malhotra, of Lifestyle Express corner shop in York Road, Hartlepool, wrestled with crook John Hughes before holding on to him until police arrived.

John Hughes

John Hughes

Mr Malhotra said he feared for his life as he struggled with the thug, who had more than 100 offences on his record when he carried out the terrifying burglary.

The shopkeeper’s brother Harikesh Malhotra then raced to the flat and hit Hughes with a baseball bat to suppress him until police arrived.

Mr Malhotra, 31, was clearing some rubbish from the flat above the shop, in Russell Walk, on June 13, when he discovered Hughes in a bedroom.

Dervinder Malhotra, 31, said: “I just heard a noise and when I turned to go upstairs I saw a shadow of the man in he room.

“I didn’t know if he had stolen anything so I told him to wait there while I called the police.

“He pushed me and started to run out. I just held him and he started hitting me with his elbow.

“The people downstairs heard us struggling and called my brother from another shop.

“He got a baseball bat and hit him a couple of times.”

Police arrived on the scene just a few minutes later.

They were already searching for Hughes who had been seen trying to break into a car nearby just before the burglary.

Mr Malhotra added: “I was scared. He was really violent and I really struggled to get hold of him.”

Hughes, of Chepstow Walk, Hartlepool, was jailed for three and a half years at Teesside Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to burglary and interfering with a motor vehicle.

The court heard he had over 100 offences on his criminal record including six previous house burglaries.

His lawyer Martin Scarborough said he was under the influence of drink and a heroin substitute at the time.

He appealed to the judge for time to be knocked off the sentence for Hughes early guilty plea.

But the judge said there was several aggravating features including the confrontation and his bad record.

Judge Guy Whitburn told Hughes: “You have an appalling record. Burglars must take their victims as they find them and if they find they vigorously defend themselves and arrest you so be it.”