A PLUMBER has been praised by police after he chased a thief who broke into ten cars and forced him to dump his haul of stolen property.
Thomas Dunnachie had just arrived to fix a leak at the Rock Trust building in Albany Street when he heard a car alarm going off.
The 29-year-old spotted the culprit acting suspiciously and pursued him for 200 metres along the street.
The panicking thief dropped a rucksack and plastic bag holding car radios, sat navs, iPods and other electrical equipment he had stolen from ten cars in the area. He managed to escape but Mr Dunnachie recovered the stolen property worth 1000 and called the police.
The thief smashed the windows of the vehicles parked in and around Great King Street, Albany Street and Dundonald Street to steal the goods before being spotted by Mr Dunnachie at 7.30am on Saturday.
Mr Dunnachie said: "I was standing outside my work van in the middle of the street after arriving for a job. I heard a noise and realised it was a car alarm.
"I saw a guy walking along the street towards me. He was quite scruffy and unshaven. I couldn't see any bags or anything but I just knew that he had broken into a car.
"I shouted 'come here' and he took off in the other direction. I started chasing after him and must have followed him for about 200 metres.
"He started dropping bags on the ground as he ran. I was still running after him but decided to stop. I didn't want to take the risk of ending up struggling with him on the ground if I caught him.
"He had dropped a rucksack and plastic bags and they had stereos and iPods inside."
Mr Dunnachie is a plumbing and heating engineer with Mech-A-Tech, based in Stoneheap Crofts in Bents, West Lothian. He lives with his wife, Fiona, 29, a veterinary nurse, in Grangemouth.
He added: "I don't know why I chased him because it was early on a Saturday morning. I just realised he was a thief and didn't want him to get away with it."
The suspect is described as white, mid-to-late 20s, 5ft 7in to 5ft 8in, unshaven, with dark unkempt hair. He was wearing a navy fleece jacket and carrying a dark rucksack. He may also have been wearing a woollen hat while carrying out some of the thefts.
A police spokesman said: "Mr Dunnachie's intervention played an important role in recovering the stolen goods, and we recognise the efforts he made in attempting to bring the suspect to justice.
"While the stolen items were recovered, the suspect has caused approximately 1000 worth of damage as a result of smashing the windows of these vehicles.
"We want anyone who was in the New Town area overnight between Friday and Saturday, and noticed anyone acting suspiciously there, to contact police immediately.
"At this time we would like to advise people not to store valuable electrical items in their vehicles and, if they do, to keep them out of sight."