A POOLE man who tried to make a citizen’s arrest after spotting a youth shoplifting has slammed Co-op bosses for operating a non-intervention policy in their stores.

Keith Mann, a father-of-two from Canford Heath, spotted a youth stealing from the Co-op store at Ad Adastral parade and was shocked when staff did nothing.

“As these lads walked out one of them picked up a packet of crisps, opened it up in full view and took a handful out,” explained Keith.

“Then he just looked at me and smiled.”

As the 61-year-old attempted to make a citizen’s arrest, he asked staff to call police.

“The lad just looked at me and said, ‘Are you Kelly’s Hero old man?’ “He gave me a load of expletives and ran off.

“I was astonished that staff did nothing. But when I asked they told me it was company policy not to intervene if there is a threat of violence.”

Keith, who lives nearby, says Co-op staff told him groups of youths regularly steal from the shop on an evening.

The marine engineer, who spent more than two decades in the navy, said: “I have since written to Co-op head office but they haven’t replied. “I am astounded – are these gangs of teenagers above the law?

“If the manager is correct about the policy, the company should hold its head in shame.

“Submitting passively to the threat these scum pose is no way to defeat them.”

A Co-op spokesman said: “We operate a policy that staff should not intervene in a situation if they feel they may be putting themselves at risk.

“The safety and security of our customers and staff will always be our number one priority, and we encourage staff to instead contact the police when necessary.”

The incident in the Co-op store took place earlier on this year.