A HERO shop worker was sacked after he got punched trying to catch a shoplifter – because his bravery broke store policy. 

Nick Speed, 54, grabbed hold of the thief who lashed out with his fist and escaped with £20 of Fridge Raiders, Red Bull and vodka.

But instead of praising the fearless shelf stacker, Co-op chiefs dismissed him for disobedience.  

Co-op store policy states staff must not put themselves in danger if they suspect a crime is committed. 

Nick told The Sun: "I should be given a certificate of bravery for what I did, not my P45.

"How can it be a supermarket policy to stand aside and let someone steal from the shop?

"I wasn't going to just stand aside, I was trying to do the right thing."

Nick dedicated 16 years to the supermarket in Cranbrook, Kent, and worked his way up to a Team Leader in charge of ten staff. 

He had spotted the thief leaving the store when he wrestled with him in the doorway – but was punched on the left side of the head.

The brazen shoplifter ran off with the loot of several packs of chicken Fridge Raiders, Red Bull, and Vodka inside a shopping basket. 

Nick added: "This guy was taunting me as he started walking out the store, he said 'you can't touch me' so I grabbed hold of him. 

"He was going to steal a whole basket of food from the store where I work and I wasn't going to let that happen."

Police say an investigation into the theft earlier this month is ongoing. 

Nick's injury caused bruising, but thankfully he did not need to go to hospital. 

His sacking came several months after he had a written warning for failing to complete a regular search of staff lockers. 

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Co-op say they took this into consideration before choosing to dismiss the loyal shelf stacker. 

The supermarket use technology including tracking devices and body worn cameras on staff to help police catch criminals. 

A Co-op spokesman said: “Whilst we will not go into the specifics of a disciplinary matter or, our security arrangements, there had been a number of policy and behavioural breaches and, a failure to carry out duties and responsibilities.”  

A Kent Police spokesman said: "Kent Police was called at 7.50pm on Thursday 6 January 2022, to a report of an assault and theft at a Co-op store in Cranbrook High Street. 

"It is alleged a shoplifter was challenged by a member of staff as they attempted to leave the store and that the suspect punched the victim. 

"Officers have spoken to the victim and the investigation has included a review of local CCTV.

“No arrests have been made at this stage."

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Co-op store policy says staff must not put themselves in dangerCredit: Chris Eades
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Nick worked as a team leader after 16 years at the storeCredit: Chris Eades
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The shoplifter targeted the store in JanuaryCredit: Chris Eades

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