A TETBURY woman who turned detective after learning that a shoplifter had been operating in the town almost single-handedly caught the culprit later the same day.

Shocked by the news that £450 worth of clothes had been stolen from her friend’s fashion shop Qetty Bang Bang on Saturday, February 15, Kate Eedy set about tracking down the shoplifter.

After identifying the woman with the help of Tetbury shopkeepers, Kate spotted the culprit putting bags of clothes into the boot of her Ford Focus car on Gumstool Hill.

Kerry then called the police who promptly arrived and arrested the woman, who was released on caution after she admitted putting the dresses in her bag and leaving without paying.

“When I left the shop, I left with the intention of finding that person. Then the luck was that she was there in front of me,” said Kate, of Silver Street, Tetbury.

“I saw the opportunity to do something and I did. It is nice and particularly nice for Kerry as she has managed to get her stock back. I said to Kerry I want a sheriff’s badge.”

Kerry Spurry, the owner of Qetty Bang Bang, was overjoyed that her friend had managed to catch the shoplifter and as a reward gave Kate, who is a Citizens Advice Bureau supervisor, a bunch of flowers, some earrings and a card which read: “You put Miss Marple in the shade, seriously, I couldn’t have caught her without your help."

Kerry said: “I am incredibly grateful to Kate, obviously it just shows you what people can do when they work together. It shows that people are looking out for each other Kerry added that due to a system where Tetbury shopkeepers ring round each other when they believe there is a shoplifter in the town to share information, the amount of shoplifters being caught is extremely high.

Including the stolen clothes, police officers found several other bags of clothes in the woman's car which had been bought from shops around the town, however, the other items had receipts, which proved they had been bought.

The 54-year-old shoplifter, who was from Hampshire, had been staying at the Snooty Fox Hotel with her fiancé and said to arresting officers that she was remorseful for her crimes.

When police arrived her fiancé claimed he did not know that his partner had stolen the items and appeared shocked to hear about what she had done.

Christopher Jackson, a spokesman for Gloucestershire Police, said: "We'd like to thank Kate Eedy who helped us in this incident. It was down to her vigilance and information that we were able to track down the offender.

"As she admitted the theft, it was her first offence and she was genuinely remorseful, a caution was considered the most appropriate action but we were confident she had been given a huge shock and won't be returning to the town in a hurry.

“Officers have good relationships with stores throughout the county and shopwatch schemes running in a number of areas to crack down on the issue of shop thefts.”