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Norwich cyclist chases down robber and retrieves stolen handbag - all while holding sandwich

Joe Perowne came to a womans rescue after she was pulled to the ground and robbed by a man in Norwich. But why do some people act, and others walk away? Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Joe Perowne came to a womans rescue after she was pulled to the ground and robbed by a man in Norwich. But why do some people act, and others walk away? Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A cyclist has been praised for chasing down a robber and retrieving a woman’s stolen handbag - all while holding a cheese sandwich.

Joe Perowne came to the woman’s rescue after she was pulled to the ground and robbed by a man in Norwich on Tuesday evening.

The 34-year-old, who was on his bike at the time, gave chase and peddled after the criminal down Duke Street.

“I was coming up to the traffic lights on St Andrews Street when I heard the lady scream,” Mr Perowne said.

“I could see the guy tearing the bag away from her and I just set off after him.”

The former stonemason, who had a sandwich in his mouth at the time, followed the man over the Duke Street bridge.

But he then had to ditch his bike - and lunch - as the robber suddenly turned left and ran down a set of steps.

Mr Perowne said: “I was right on his heel and was shouting to drop the bag.

“He then went to jump over a low wall, but tripped and fell to the ground.

Joe Perowne, who caught a robber in Norwich.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYJoe Perowne, who caught a robber in Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“At that point I was standing over him. He froze and shouted ‘alright, just take it’.

“I thought ‘do I give him a good hiding or sit on him until the police come?’

“But I didn’t know if he had a knife or if he would fight me, so I just took the bag.”

Mr Perowne, who lives in supported housing in Norwich after being made homeless last year, returned the bag to the victim.

He added: “It was instinctive, because you hear someone scream and you just want to help.”

Jo Grigson, 50, who lives off Plumstead Road, saw the drama unfold.

She said: “He was holding a sandwich at the time bless his heart and just took off after the guy.

“A lot of people would not have bothered, but he obviously did.”

Norfolk Police said the victim, who was in her 50s, was targeted shortly after 6pm near the Rumsey Wells Pub. Picture: Denise BradleyNorfolk Police said the victim, who was in her 50s, was targeted shortly after 6pm near the Rumsey Wells Pub. Picture: Denise Bradley

Mrs Grigson said she stayed with the victim while Mr Perowne gave chase.

“She [the victim] was in shock,” Mrs Grigson said. “But we were all cheering when he came back with it.”

Norfolk Police said the victim, who was in her 50s, was targeted shortly after 6pm near the Rumsey Wells Pub.

Police said the victim received minor injuries to her knee, hip, ankle and elbow.

The suspect is described as being white, aged in his mid-20s, and was wearing a long sleeve black T-shirt and black jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Det Con Angela Tolson at Norwich CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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