'Never off duty!': British police officers catch suspected thief while on stag do in Barcelona

By John Mercury April 23, 2024

A man allegedly stealing from a Barcelona restaurant was caught after he attempted the theft in front of a group of off-duty British police officers on a stag do, an officer has said.

Metropolitan Police Sergeant Eren Emin, 30, said he was in the Spanish city with four other police officers when a man jumped over the restaurant counter and began grabbing electrical items on Monday.

Sergeant Emin told how they chased the man around 50 metres down the road before recovering everything that was allegedly stolen.

They then took the man back to the restaurant, where they waited until Spanish police arrived.

Sergeant Emin posted on X afterwards: “Never off duty… even when in another country! Unlucky to the person who decided to commit burglary with a table full of UK police sitting there. The male was pursued and detained nearby.

“Police arrived, statements taken and male in custody. Now back to my holiday.”

Sergeant Emin, who is based in Enfield, London, said “policing is more of an instinct than anything else” and that he has to “do what’s right” even when on holiday.

He added: “We were in a restaurant on the main strip, waiting for food to come, and he made his way over to the bar area where the counters are and then he jumped over the counter and that’s when he caught our attention.

“He started to ransack the tills and take electrical goods such as the iPads and iPhones, whatever else was there, before he made his way around and then sprinted outside of the restaurant and instantly we stood up and gave chase.”

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Metropolitan Police Sergeant Eren Emin. Pic: PA
Metropolitan Police Sergeant Eren Emin. Pic: PA

Sergeant Emin said once the man start running he didn’t have a chance to think “I’m not a police officer and I’m not in the UK”, adding that it was “a case of just getting him stopped”.

He added that once the police arrived they informed them they were officers back in the UK, adding: “Then it was high fives all around.”

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Sergeant Emin said the restaurant staff were “really shocked because they didn’t expect the whole table of their customers to get up and get this chap and recover all their goods”.

He added: “I’m quite known within my organisation for arresting people off duty – here in the UK, wherever I go, I always end up attracting or coming across crime, which is really strange, so for me, it’s just another day.”


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