Policeman breaks leg in Hailsham burglary chase

A POLICEMAN broke his leg chasing greedy crooks who were allegedly responsible for a number of burglaries in Hailsham town centre this past week.

The incident happened at Demelza Charity Shop in Hailsham High Street at 1am last night (Friday, January 21).

Some three shops were burgled in the town centre on various nights this week, including the hospice shop. Police patrols were stepped up as a result in a bid to catch the gang.

Last night a police constable was on a late night patrol when he saw four young men trying to break into the back of the Demelza shop. The crooks saw him and scarpered – running in the direction of St Mary’s Churchyard.

The PC chased the men and jumped over a wall - but he landed awkwardly and broke his leg. But the police officer – who does not want to be named – managed to radio his colleagues who moved in quickly to track the four suspects.

The police officer was still in Eastbourne General Hospital this morning (January 21) and it looks likely he will need an operation for a broken tibia.

Three males, aged 15, 17 and 20, were arrested in the town centre on suspicion of attempted burglary a short time later. They are currently in custody and being interviewed by CID.

One suspect escaped and police are hunting for him. He wore a grey hooded top and rode a bicycle.

Chief Inspector Dick Coates, Wealden District Commander, said: “The quick arrests of the suspects of the attempted burglary shows real dedication from an officer who sustained a nasty injury in the line of duty.

“These are hazzards officers face on a daily basis and I wish the officer a speedy recovery.

“Extra patrols had been deployed into the area due to similar offences on previous nights.”

Chief Insp Coates said the extra patrols have ‘paid dividends’.

He added: “Hailsham CID will be continuing the investigation and I have written to all the local shops to update them on this incident and to inform them that I will be working with them in the coming months to make sure Hailsham continues to have low crime rates.”

Any witnesses contact police on 0845 607099 quoting Operation Bonnie or anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.