COUNTY NEWS: Handbag thief jailed after pensioner tackles him

Pensioner Eric de Bues (left) tackled Patrick Dayneswood (right) after seeing him steal a woman's handbag. Picture: Derek Martin/Sussex Police
Pensioner Eric de Bues (left) tackled Patrick Dayneswood (right) after seeing him steal a woman's handbag. Picture: Derek Martin/Sussex Police

A thief who tried to take a woman’s handbag has been jailed after a brave pensioner tackled him.

Patrick Dayneswood snatched the tourist’s bag while she sat on a bench with her partner near Worthing Pier on July 9 and tried to get away on his bike.

But unluckily for him, grandfather Eric de Bues was walking along the seafront and dived into action.

Eric, 75, who lives in Regents Close in Lancing, said: “The lady screamed ‘he’s got my bag!’

“I leapt off the top of the steps and grabbed hold of him without thinking.

“As I grabbed hold of him he struggled and wriggled. It was not a battle he just wanted to get away.”

Eric said the thief kept shouting ‘let me go’ and eventually got away, leaving Eric holding his hoody but also the woman’s bag.

He said the elderly couple, one of whom uses a wheelchair, were ‘really shaken up’ by the incident but were otherwise unharmed.

Dayneswood, 48, of King Edward Avenue, Worthing, was later arrested and charged with theft and possession of a knife in a public place. He pleaded guilty to both offences.

Appearing at Worthing Magistrates’ Court today, he was jailed for six months for the knife possession and 16 weeks for the theft, to be served concurrently.

He was also sentenced for various other crimes in Worthing which he pleaded guilty to: stealing meat from Waitrose on July 31, stealing a bottle of Bollinger Champagne from Majestic Wines on August 31 and stealing a bottle of rum from Marks and Spencer and two common assaults in Portland Road on September 3.

Because of his fresh convictions, Dayneswood was told that a 20-week suspended prison sentence he was given for a previous offence would be activated.

Overall he will serve his new six-month jail term followed by the 20 weeks.

After the sentencing Eric said: “Normally what they do is get a slap on the wrist, but this time he’s got a bit of [jail] time.

“The sentence should fit the crime, it should teach him a lesson.”

Asked if he saw another thief taking someone’s bag Eric said he would take action again.

PC Mark Ryan said: “We would always encourage members of the public who witness a crime to report it to us, and not put themselves in a position which could compromise their own safety.

“However, sometimes human instinct takes over, and in this case a pensioner bravely intervened which led to the arrest and conviction of Dayneswood.

“I’d like to commend him for his quick-thinking actions – it is thanks to him that the victim was reunited with her stolen handbag and the offender was jailed.”