WILTSHIRE Police Chief Constable Pat Geenty found himself back on the beat when he took after a suspected shoplifter in Chippenham yesterday.

The off-duty police chief spied the suspect fleeing from a store on the High Street and old instincts kicked in as he began the pursuit.

The former secondary school teacher was forced to admit he lacks his old speed as the culprit managed to evade his grasp, but the stolen goods were recovered and the alleged offender has been logged.

Shortly after the event, Mr Geenty took to Twitter to receive some gentle ribbing from colleagues.

He tweeted: “Just chased a shoplifter up Chippenham high street (off duty). Goods recovered, crime recorded but he outpaced me, must be getting slow!!!”

Mr Geenty has had recent success on the frontline after making his last arrest eight months ago on the streets of Devizes.

When teased by colleagues, he said: “Sadly he was too quick for me. I think it was the 30 year age gap, but still, he will come again.”