Woman chases robber after phone snatch in Peterborough park - and finds him cowering under van

A woman who chased after a man who robbed her in a Peterborough park found the attacker cowering under a van.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 6:57 am

Anne Brosnan had been enjoying her evening walk round Central Park last Monday (June 1) at 5pm when a man grabbed her mobile phone from her hand.

Adrenaline flowing, Anne chased the robber, and was able to track him down to a near-by property, where he was spotted trying to hide under a van - but had left his feet sticking out in plain view.

He fled the scene after Anne was able to get her phone back - but now she is calling for action to be taken to keep people safe in the park.

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Anne Brosnan who was robbed in Central Park EMN-210706-150756009

Anne, who lives near the park, said: “I had walked around the park a couple of times which usually takes about 30 minutes. I listen to music on my phone, with headphones, whilst walking. Usually my phone is in my pocket but today I was carrying it in my right hand as I was wearing shorts.

“Suddenly as I was passing one of the exits from the park a man, ran up behind me and grabbed my phone out of my hand. I held onto it as tightly as I could and he carried on trying to snatch it. I swung round to him and shouted in his face to let go. However he was stronger than me and wrenched the phone violently out of my hands. He then ran out of the park and across the road, Park Crescent, in the direction of Broadway.”

Anne chased after the man, shouting for him to stop, in the direction of Eastfield Road.

She said: “The man looked around and saw that I was still after him so he pulled up his hood and carried on running.

“I saw that a young man on a bicycle cycling along Broadway had seen the man running away; he probably both saw and heard me running after him and had clocked what was going on.

“He cycled along Broadway after the fleeing man and I saw him disappear round the corner into Broadway Gardens. I followed at a slightly slower pace by this time. As I rounded the corner into Broadway Gardens the young man on the bike cycled back towards me and gave me information which led me to believe that I should look at a particular house where there was a black van in the drive.

“I went up to this house in Broadway Gardens. I rang the bell and the lady of the house came to the door. I explained what had happened and after some discussion we went down the side of her house where she has a black van parked.

“She exclaimed, saying “He’s Here” Feet!” We were able to observe that a young man was hidden under the van with both of his feet poking out on the far side. You could not see him, just his ankles and feet sticking out.”

“We told him to come out from under the van and I demanded my phone back off him. I really shouted as I was very upset and angry and the effects of the adrenalin were really kicking in. He came out looking very sheepish and shaking. He said, in an accented voice, that he didn’t have anything on him, he didn’t have a phone. He turned out his pockets and tried to pretend that he knew nothing about the incident.

“I said that I recognised him, that he had stolen my phone. I pointed out his hoodie that he was wearing that I saw him pull up. I was very angry. The lady I was with was pretty angry too.

“I told him that unless he gave me back my phone I would call the police and he would be in big trouble. I suggested he gave me my phone back immediately and eventually he ducked back under the van and came out with my phone. He handed it to me then scarpered.”

Anne, a solicitor and chief prosecutor for The Environment Agency, said the man was aged in his twenties or thirties, and was skinny with thinning mid brown hair. He was wearing very shabby clothing, a grey hoodie, pink shorts, some plimsoll type shoes and ankle socks on his feet.

After returning home, Anne called 999 to report the robbery. She said; “I would like something done about this crime as had it been someone more vulnerable than me they could have been very shocked and upset. In these sorts of situations people’s health can suffer badly and another individual might be concerned about returning to the park. I am going to have to think carefully about using my phone as I have done before. The man did apologise as he left. He said “Sorry Sorry” but I think that was probably because he had been caught, not because he was sorry for snatching my phone and upsetting me.”

She said that when she called 999, she was told it was not a robbery, but a theft, and when she said the incident had happened fifteen minutes before hand, was told ‘there was no chance of being able to find the man.’ She then made another call to 101 the following day.
A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said; “At about 1pm on Wednesday, 2 June we received a report of a robbery which took place in Central Park, Peterborough, at about 5.30pm the day before (1 June).

“The victim, a woman in her 60s, was walking through the park when she was approached by a man who stole her phone from her hand.

“The suspect then ran off in the direction of Broadway.

“No arrests have been made and anyone who witnessed the incident, or has any information, us urged to contact us via web-chat or 101 quoting reference 35/34018/21.