Cartoon superhero Buzz Lightyear brought a UK shoplifter to justice after alerting police to his whereabouts, it emerged today.
Shaun Anthony Markey fled from Woolworth’s store in Hereford with a battery-operated model of the chisel-jawed character, who features in the animated film Toy Story.
The 27-year-old appeared to have evaded capture by hiding in the Great Western Way bridge on the south of the city.
But as officers and a police dog searched the area in vain, his cover was blown as the toy cried: “Buzz Lightyear. Permission to engage.”
Lightyear, a space ranger with the Universe Protection Unit, is normally assigned to protect the galaxy from the threat of invasion by the Evil Emperor Zurg, the sworn enemy of the Galactic Alliance.
His earthly counterpart, Sgt Tim Powell, of West Mercia Police, paid tribute to the “collar” (arrest), which he said came through the co-operation of officers and the retail radio network in place in Hereford city centre.
“We were having difficulty locating (Markey) so I called in assistance from a dog handler and the area was surrounded whilst the search continued,” he said.
“During the search, Buzz Lightyear’s voice shattered the silence. His voice was heard by several members of the search team, including the dog.”
Markey, of Old School Lane, Hereford, pleaded guilty at Hereford Magistrates’ Court last Friday to stealing the figure on November 8, West Mercia Police said in a statement.
He is due to reappear before the same court this Wednesday for sentencing.
Sgt Powell said: “This is a fine example of the retail radio network working with the police to detect crime.
“This time, however, we had the able assistance of an inter-galactic superhero.”