A TOP Dudley cop has praised the quick-thinking actions of Kingswinford shoppers who stepped in to help an off-duty police officer as he tried to foil a theft at a convenience store.

Courageous customers at Tesco Express in Moss Grove rushed to the aid of PC Ross Morgan as he wrestled to restrain a shoplifter yesterday (Thursday July 4).

Chief Inspector Mark Bramwell, from Dudley Police, today (Friday) spoke out to warn potential have-a-go heroes never to put themselves in situations that could compromise their own safety but he praised the actions of the brave shoppers who stepped in to help PC Morgan to make an arrest.

He said: "We never encourage anyone to put themselves in a position where they feel threatened or fearful for their own safety.

“However, often when people see a crime being committed they act instinctively to intervene and help out.

"Police officers are never truly off duty and this incident highlights how every day they put their lives on the line to protect the community; those members of the public who helped out should also be praised for their quick-thinking actions and willingness to lend a hand.

"Regardless of the circumstances, if anyone witnesses a crime in progress, their first action should be to dial 999 to alert police and get officers to the scene within minutes.”

A 32-year-old man from Bushbury was due to appear before Sandwell magistrates today (Friday), charged with theft, damaging property, assaulting PC Ross Morgan and possessing drugs.