A retailer who was arrested for suspected false imprisonment after escorting a shoplifter home has branded the justice system a "farce".

Owais Dar of Dar General Stores in Nelson, Lancashire, endured a 10-month legal battle after he chased a young boy who had stolen from his store in August last year.

Once he apprehended him, he drove the youth home in order to tell his family what he had done. However, the boy claimed that Owais had slapped and threatened him and driven him around for 20 minutes, leading to the retailer's arrest. Owais denied the claims.

On hearing that the shoplifter had several previous convictions, the judge presiding over the case deemed it "not in the public interest to proceed further" and cleared the store owner.

Owais said was he was glad the ordeal was over, but was unsure whether he still wanted to run the store. "This is a family shop and a place where I've always worked. Now I don't feel I can."

He added that the incident had been a waste of his, the police and the court's time. "The whole thing has been a farce."