Police ignore shopkeeper's plea for help

A liquor store manager managed to trap a shoplifter inside his store - but despite calling police four times in a row, police told him they were facing delays and he should let the alleged shoplifter go.

Chintan Patel was on duty as normal on Sunday when two young men walked in, grabbed boxes of premixed bourbon and made a dash for it.

Just a few hours later, one returned.

Only this time, he managed to stop the alleged offender from leaving and locked him in.

Mr Patel then called the police, but was told there would be extensive delays.

Meanwhile, the man he'd trapped was getting abusive.

"So he was getting angrier and angrier and he was abusing me. Twenty minutes, he was just abusing," Mr Patel says.

Despite calling 111 four times, Mr Patel says he was advised there would be delays and he should verbally trespass the shoplifter.

On the third 111 call police told Mr Patel he should let the man go.  So he did.

Police did eventually turn up, but only after Mr Patel's boss arrived, went across the road to the Newmarket police station, and asked for help.

"After that when I go there and tell them these things happen to my employee and the person is locked in my store so can you please come with me, then the police are coming with me," says store owner Rutul Jani.

The alleged shoplifter ended up getting away.

Police have confirmed the store manager was asked to give the offender a trespass warning and also make a note of his identity.

They say there was a delay and that was because they had other jobs and they had to prioritise.

"What are they waiting for - someone to get killed. They should have come - there was an urgency, there was an offender inside," says Crime Prevention Group founder Sunny Kaushal.

"We need to have enough police to do the job."

But police say they must assess each 111 call - and based on the information they got, police were not able to attend Mr Patel's shoplifting incident straight away.

They say they have the identity of the offender and will investigate.