'Shoplifter' drowns after jumping in River Hull to escape security guards
A SUSPECTED shoplifter drowned after jumping into the River Hull as he fled from security guards.
The 35-year-old man was believed to have been stealing from Sports Direct in Kingswood Retail Park before he was chased off by staff working for Shield Security Services.
The man plunged into the water near Hollywood Bowl as he tried to escape.
He was pulled onto the bank by emergency services but pronounced dead at the scene.
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Ken Oliver was driving past as fire engines, ambulances and the coastguard raced to save the dying man.
Mr Oliver, a kayaker who has navigated the river, said: "I just know what a formidable and unforgiving waterway it really is.
"I was heading north and there were blue lights flying around and pulling up at the bridges."
A spokesman for Shield Security said its staff had acted appropriately in the chase.
He said: "We have no concern as to the conduct of anybody.
"It's an unfortunate occurrence and it's very sad.
"The police and ourselves work together to deter criminals and there is no issue with any individuals involved."
The chase happened on Tuesday, shortly before noon.
A police spokesman said: "A call was made to Humberside Police at 11.42am reporting a shoplifter having made off from Sports Direct, Kingswood Retail Park, in Hull.
"The man then jumped into some water behind Hollywood Bowl and emergency services made attempts to assist with getting him out of the water.
"Police, fire, ambulance and coastguard all were all involved. However, the 35-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene."
Six fire crews were called to pull the man out of the river and at least one boat was also used.
Police officers were not on the scene when the man jumped but his death is not being treated as suspicious.
A file is now being prepared for the coroner.
Thieves at Kingswood Retail Park were targeted in a policing drive over Christmas.
Officers from the North Carr policing team carried out 440 extra hours on patrol around Kingswood and North Point Shopping Centre, as part of Operation Yuletide.
A Shop Watch scheme was also launched at the park in January last year.
It encourages retailers to share information about known offenders.
Staff use a radio system to warn each other when prolific shoplifters are on the site and alert each other when thefts have occurred.