Dan Cock of Whitstone Stores in Holsworthy, Devon, was overwhelmed by the response he got on social media after he posted his latest in-store crime on Twitter and Facebook last week.

Dan suffered his third large in-store crime on Saturday March 8 when three men ‘tricked’ the staff out of £30, asking the server on the tills multiple questions and requesting specific amounts of change.

“They were definitely well practiced, friendly almost. Watching the CCTV back we saw they also stole three other items, a bottle of wine, a packet of bacon and a block of butter,” he said. 

Dan contacted the police and posted about the event on social media, including a still image from his CCTV. But feeling like his report was not being taken seriously, he tracked down the culprits in a local park and told the police he would not leave them until they arrived. He followed them to a local pub, where two of the three men were caught by the police.

He then used social media to warn other retailers, but didn’t expect his post to gain so many on Facebook. Six other retailers responded to the post after they realised the same men had also committed similar crimes in their shops. Dan added: “Using social media we managed to track the group’s route from London to Devon, where they hit different retailers on the way. The owner of an Oakhampton hotel also came forward, and the men had been staying there and were kicked out for stealing and smoking in their room.”

In addition, a taxi driver came forward on social media who had met the suspect who had got away. “A taxi driver told us he had taken the man from Devon to Exeter and another retailer then saw him at Exeter train station. It is believed the man was heading back to London,” he said.

Two of the men currently remain in custody, while the one who got away is still being search for in London.

Dan now wants to make a Facebook group where all retailers can share crimes in their stores, no matter how big or small.