Money for Essex PC whose shopping was stolen

Postal order sent to police office Image copyright Twitter/PC Alan Conran
Image caption A well-wisher from Kent read about the police officer's shopping and sent him a postal order to replace it

An off-duty policeman whose shopping was stolen as he tried to catch a supermarket shoplifter has received a cash windfall from a well-wisher.

PC Graham Thomas was leaving Asda in South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, last month when he saw the man run off.

He dropped his own shopping and gave chase but returned to find his food and hamster treats had been taken.

The shop refunded him but a Kent woman sent him a £45 postal order. He said he was "chuffed" but was sending it back.

PC Thomas had left his vegetables and hamster food at the customer service desk before heading off after the shoplifter.

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He did not catch him, but was doubly unhappy when he returned to find his food had been placed in a chiller cabinet - and had been taken, presumably by another shoplifter.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The off-duty police officer left his own shopping with supermarket security to chase a thief

At the time he described it as "annoying" but said he recognised people might "find it amusing and ironic that this has happened to a copper".

Asda refunded the £18 he had spent, but he has now received a postal order and letter from a well-wisher in Kent.

Image copyright Google
Image caption PC Thomas gave chase as he was leaving the Asda supermarket on Ferrers Road

She wrote: "I see on the Teletext that you had your shopping nicked while you were helping arrest someone."

The money was so he could "get some more, this time keep your eye on it".

PC Thomas said: "I'm writing her a nice letter.

"I just couldn't believe it. I'm well chuffed but I can't accept it, of course, so I am sending it back."

He said he had been told a woman had handed his shopping back in at the store, but the original shoplifter was still at large.

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