A PUBLIC safety officer at the Brandon Shopping Centre in Motherwell has received a bravery award after tracking down a pair of shoplifters last summer.
Gary John McDade, who began working for Axis Security at the centre last January, was in Merry Street on July 24 when he received a call saying a lady had been the victim of a thief in Clinton Cards.
Gary said: “She was quite an old lady and wasn’t very sure what had been taken, there was no description so I started heading towards the shop and passed two people, a man and woman, I thought they looked dodgy.
“After receiving a quick description I realised it was them and rushed back seeing them nip into McDonald’s.”
Going upstairs he found the woman outside the toilets and as Gary entered met the man coming the other way.
He said: “I dived into the cubicle he’d been in and there was a purse crammed down the side and cards on the floor.
“I asked a member of cleaning staff to keep it guarded while I tried to sort it out.”
Gary kept in contact with North Lanarkshire CCTV, they lost the pair coming out of McDonald’s, but Gary soon caught up with them again at a bus stop on Merry Street.
He said: “They were just about to get on a bus, but I was told the police were en route so I kept an eye on them and then a cop car showed up and stopped the bus.”
Gary admits he and colleague Andy Brown aren’t employed to stop shoplifters but said on Monday, as he received a Divisional Commander’s Commendation from Chief Superintendent Nelson Telfer, that they’re happy to help.
He said: “Myself and Andy are really there to protect the premises rather than stock or each individual store, but we try to go above and beyond every day to make the town centre better.
“I’ve worked in security for 12 years and you have to take a stand as it’s the same people robbing the centre every day, which is frustrating at times but when you get a good result it makes it a bit better.
“Initially I hadn’t told anyone about the commendation I just thought it would be something good to put on my CV, but I’m really quite pleased with myself.”
Chief Superintendent Telfer added: “What Gary has done is beyond the call of duty in his job as a security guard at the centre and what’s important is he did it safely and with a great deal of common sense.”
William Gear, director of Brandon Centre owner Chester Properties, was delighted by Gary’s award.
He said: “We are very proud of Gary and his commitment to ensuring the safety and security of our shoppers.
“Incidents of this kind are extremely rare, but it’s reassuring to know that our staff are so professional in dealing with any problems that might arise.”