Darlington Twitter boy's photo captures thief


A 10-year-old boy from Darlington has been praised by police for snapping a thief and posting his picture on the social networking site Twitter.

Alex Wilson, from Darlington, was in a car with his dad Dylan when he spotted the bike-riding thief snatching a phone from a pedestrian and took a picture.

His snap later helped Durham Police catch Craig Royal who admitted theft.

Durham Police said Alex showed "spirit" but urged witnesses to bring evidence to them before going "public".

Alex was in the car with his father in the town's Yarm Road when he spotted the theft and took the picture.

He then got his father to pull over and he put the picture on Twitter, before they drove to the police station.

They actually arrived at the station before the victim had reported the crime and police immediately recognised Royal, 24, in the picture.

Alex said: "I quickly responded and got my dad's phone and took a photo and my dad put it on Twitter.

"The lad whose phone it was was just listening to music then when his phone was taken he started running after the thief.

"I just thought: 'we can't let him get away with it as phones cost a lot of money.'"

Image caption,
The image of Royal that Alex captured on his father's phone

Alex's father, Dylan, said: "I just encouraged him to go for it basically. We pulled up and Alex was nagging me to get it online and go to the police.

"I took a bit of arm-twisting - but posted it on my account. We actually got to the police half an hour before the victim reported it.

"The police said straightaway they recognised the guy."

Neighbourhood Inspector Mick Button, of Durham Police, said: "The young lad used his phone when he witnessed a crime and I think it is a fantastic premise, very public spirited and great in terms of evidence.

"But we would ask people to bring evidence to us before posting it as it can sometimes frustrate investigations."

Royal admitted theft at Darlington Magistrates' Court and was given a 12 month conditional discharge, a £50 fine and was ordered to pay £85 costs.

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