Dressing gown hero foils burglar

Howard Severn, who chased down serial burglar Robert Wakefield (below) ' in his dressing gown.
Howard Severn, who chased down serial burglar Robert Wakefield (below) ' in his dressing gown.
Have your say

A HEROIC teenager today told how he chased down and caught a burglar who ransacked his family’s home – in his dressing gown and socks.

Howard Severn was so incensed when he found serial offender Robert Wakefield in his kitchen he chased him from the family home.

Robert Wakefield

Robert Wakefield

Wakefield legged it but the plucky 19-year-old set off in pursuit, collared him in the street before dragging him back to the home on Reads Avenue, Blackpool where he held him until police arrived.

And now one of Lancashire’s top judges has decided the have-a-go hero should get a £300 reward for his brave actions.

Mr Severn, who lives with mum Carol and dad Roy, said: “My anger at seeing him made me do it.

“He had rifled through my stuff, all our stuff was all over the floor.

“He had turned the place over and seeing someone standing there in the midst of all that and then them trying to get away, it just infuriated me.”

Wakefield, 52, also of Reads Avenue, made his escape through the family’s kitchen window after Mr Severn confronted him, and managed to get away despite the teenager grabbing his leg.

But Mr Severn flew out of the door and raced after Wakefield, eventually catching up with him a few hundred yards down the street and dragging him back to the house.

Mr Severn said: “I was surprised I was able to catch up with him, and I was more relieved than anything when I did.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do when I caught him. He kept trying to get out of my grip but he wasn’t trying to fight and I just dragged him back.

“I had to hold on to him until the police arrived.”

Mr Severn’s frantic mum, Carol, 56, managed to ring the police, despite the fact Wakefield had stolen her mobile phone.

And the teenager admitted it was only when the drama was over the enormity of his actions sunk in. But despite his bravery, he says he is still taken aback by the reward Judge Anthony Russell QC has ordered him to receive.

He added: “Afterwards, I thought I hadn’t really thought it through.

“I didn’t know him from Adam or if he was armed or had an accomplice waiting for him, I didn’t think it through.

“But I don’t think personally I deserve a reward, I was defending my own stuff, not someone else’s. I would like to think if I was passing a house and saw it happening to someone else I would do the same.”

Mrs Severn, who runs a market stall with 67-year-old Roy, added: “I was surprised because I didn’t think Howard had it in him to go chasing off.

“I’m very proud of him and I think it’s very generous for him to get a reward.”

Wakefield admitted burgling the family’s home on December 16 via videolink at Preston Crown Court, and also pleaded guilty to a second burglary of a summer house on the same night.

He had entered the Severn family’s house twice on the same night, stealing items including Mrs Severn’s phone and a box containing watches and keepsakes.

He was jailed for 876 days.

Judge Anthony Russell QC told him he had a “very bad criminal record”.

After the case the judge told The Gazette: “Mr Severn’s actions in following and apprehending the burglar who he confronted in his home merited commendation and a reward.”

Follow us on twitter @The_Gazette and like our page on facebook to keep up with all the latest news.