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Neighbour tells how he carried out citizen's arrest on Maidstone burglar - in flip-flops

A hero neighbour has told of how he carried out a citizen's arrest on a burglar - while wearing a vest, shorts and flip-flops.

Carl Gouder was gardening at his home in Brunswick Street, Maidstone when he heard a crash of glass from further down the road.

When he went to investigate he found somebody had tried to break into a neighbour's house and had smashed the window of their conservatory while they were away on holiday.

The 35-year-old fire engineer saw a man walking off down the alleyway and called the police on 101 before returning to his home.

Shortly after, he came back out the front and saw the same man walking up a side road opposite the property with a bag.

"Me and another neighbour were out there and saw him so we rang the police again," Mr Gouder said.

"But we thought it would probably take 15 or 20 minutes so decided to go and get him ourselves.

"He was just sitting on a kerb as if he was waiting for us to go back inside, then he got up and walked around the building site over the road."

Carl Gouder (14033243)
Carl Gouder (14033243)

Mr Gouder and the other neighbour then decided to chase after the thief - 35-year-old Stephen Chambers of Hayle Road.

"He can't have been the quickest because I caught up with him wearing flip-flops," said Mr Gouder.

"We just cornered him, got him down and held him there as best we could.

"It was probably only 20 minutes until the police arrived but it felt like forever.

"I'd been gardening, I wasn't expecting to be chasing a burglar in flip-flops.

Stephen Chambers. Picture: Kent Police (13993994)
Stephen Chambers. Picture: Kent Police (13993994)

"He was struggling and screaming that he didn't go near the house and I've still got a few scars on my hands from it all.

"We didn't do anything to him really even though he probably deserved a few punches."

Chambers was jailed for three years less than a month after the burglary, which was his fifth conviction in 12 years.

Mr Gouder added: "It's a really tight-knit community here, we all try and look out for each other.

"I think if someone burgled our house the other neighbours would be out on the street doing the same thing."

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