It’s not Gotham City – but a pair of civilian crimefighters conjured up the image of Batman and Robin as they sprinted through the streets of Rothwell to catch a thief on Monday.
After a man walked into John Newman Hairdressing and snatched a mobile phone from under the owner’s nose customer Kevin Winson and hairdresser Darren Greenfield did not hesitate to react.
Mr Winson, halfway through a cut and with a black cape still around his neck, jumped out of his chair and joined Mr Greenfield to pass Mr Newman and pursue the thief toward Market Square.
The sight of the two chasing the man was described by Mr Newman as “like watching Batman and Robin”.
The duo were soon joined by two motorists who, seeing the commotion, split up and cornered the man at the end of Well Lane.
He was then pushed into a hedge and held by the men before a team of grateful police officers arrived.
Yesterday the thief, Isaia Stoian, faced Kettering magistrates charged with theft.
The 18-year-old, from Ilford in Essex, admitted the offence, saying he took the phone to sell for money to buy a ticket to get home to Romania.
Activating a suspended sentence for theft last year, he was jailed by magistrates for 26 weeks.
After the hearing, Mr Newman said it should act as a warning for any criminal wanting to take on the community of the town. He said: “People were jumping over themselves to help join in and catch this man.
“Being nearly 56 and slightly overweight I couldn’t keep up with the man and stopped at the Red Lion – but only to see my customer and hairdresser run by.
“It was so funny – they looked like Batman and Robin ahead of me, I was angry but laughing.
“Luckily two people I knew were also nearby in their cars and they teamed up, one going down Well Lane and the other down Ponder Street, to trap the man. I’ll be buying them all a few drinks.”
Police officers searched Stoian before finding the phone in the hedge. He was arrested and taken into custody.
Another man who was with Stoian was released without charge.
Mr Winson, 46, of Baker Avenue in Broughton, returned to the shop in Bridge Street 15 minutes later with cape still around his neck to have his haircut finished.
He said: “I wouldn’t say Batman, I’d say I looked more like Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses.”
The court heard how Stoian had walked into the shop as Mr Newman was cashing up at about 5pm.
He placed a newspaper over the victim’s iPhone before walking out with both in his hand.
Andy Hopkinson, for Stoian, said his client had found it difficult to find work since arriving in the country since 2004.