A would-be thief was foiled – when a professional wrestler put him in a choke hold and pinned him to the floor.
Shak Khan, a world champion heavyweight from Blackpool, sprung into action when he spotted a man allegedly hiding items under his jacket at the Cosmos Newsagents, on Waterloo Road.
The 16-stone wrestler, nicknamed the Beast from the East, grabbed the man from behind as the shopkeeper challenged him.
He then dragged him to the floor, where he kept him in the stranglehold with one arm – using his free hand to dial 999 on his mobile phone.
Mr Khan – who has also appeared in The Gazette for coming to the aid of two paramedics who were under attack from drunken yobs – said: “I saw this guy on the camera putting things in his jacket. I grabbed hold of him and put a wrestling move on him – I just took him down and held him down.”
Mr Khan, 41, who is originally from Pakistan but has lived in Blackpool for 25 years, said he was worried for the safety of two young children who were in the shop at the time, at 5.35pm on Monday, who he said were “very distressed”.
I grabbed hold of the shoplifter – I couldn’t stand back and do nothing.Shak Khan
After the shopkeeper challenged the would-be thief, he said the man became defensive and said he didn’t have anything.
Mr Khan added: “He started struggling with the shopkeeper.
“I told the kids to move away and I grabbed hold of the shoplifter. I couldn’t stand back and do nothing. The kids’ safety comes first.
“He was effing and blinding, saying ‘let me go’. I dialled 999 and they said I did the right thing.
“It could have got worse – there were kids there.”
The owner of the store, Elango Nadarajah, said he wasn’t there at the time of the incident but has since watched it back on CCTV.
He said: “I’m just pleased Shak was here.”
Mr Khan, who has travelled the world wrestling since starting out at Blackpool Pleasure Beach at the age of 16 and was a previous Boys Olympics champion at the age of 14, said he was pleased to be able to put his training to good use.
It comes 10 years after he made the front page of The Gazette after witnessing an attack on two paramedics in Blackpool.
On that occasion he managed to subdue the offenders with the help of his brother until police arrived.
Mr Khan said: “These people work hard, they have got families to feed and want to put food on the table. They are at the heart of the community – they are not there to be abused.”
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “A man entered the convenience store, selected three cans of beer and put them in his clothing.
“A man was detained by a witness, police were called and he was arrested.”
A 40-year-old man from Blackpool was charged with theft yesterday in relation to the incident.
He has been bailed to appear at Blackpool Magistrates on May 20.