One of Blackpool’s most prolific thieves found himself on the mat when he picked the wrong shop to target and ended up wrestling with a world champion known as “The Beast from the East”.
Professional wrestler Shak Khan leapt into action when he saw Christopher Easter, who had a criminal record of 247 offences, stealing from a shop in the resort.
I could not stand back and do nothing. There were kids in the shop and kids’ safety comes first
Mr Kahn body-slammed Easter from behind as he hid goods in his jacket.
Easter was then put in a chokehold by the wrestler, and three cans of lager he had stolen fell out of his clothing.
Mr Kahn gripped him securely with one hand while dialling 999 with the other, and then handed him over to police.
After making his citizen’s arrest, Mr Kahn, 44, of Blackpool, said: “I could not stand back and do nothing. There were kids in the shop and kids’ safety comes first.”
Easter, 40, of Gorton Street, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to theft of the lager and stealing a bar of chocolate on a separate incident.
He was sentenced to four weeks imprisonment, suspended for six months, and ordered to pay a £150 court charge plus £42 compensation by Blackpool magistrates.
Eddie Harrison, prosecuting, said Mr Khan was in the Premier Store, Waterloo Road, at 5.30pm on May 1 when he saw Easter acting suspiciously.
He challenged Easter, who said he had taken nothing and started to leave, so Mr Khan grabbed his arm and detained him.
The prosecutor added that Easter had a criminal record of 247 previous offences, mainly for theft and similar dishonesty.
Allan Cobain, defending, said just before he committed the offences Easter’s mother had had a stroke.
He said for the first time in 20 years Easter was now getting help from a counsellor to fight his drink and drugs problems, with a view to going into a residential rehabilitation centre.