A SHOPKEEPER has spoken of his astonishment after stopping a police officer in the street to ask for help in catching two thieves, only to be told: "Ring the police".
Graham Taylor, 50, chased two teenagers from his newsagents after they stole two bottles of spirits before spotting the officer in a marked car.
Mr Taylor had followed the shoplifters on foot before running back, locking up his store and jumping in his car as the youths made off into a nearby cemetery.
As he circled the perimeter of the graveyard in Hessle, East Yorkshire, Mr Taylor asked for assistance from the Pc.
"I couldn't believe what he said when I asked for help," he said.
"First he asked if I had reported it to the police, then asked if I had rung the police. He was the police, was I not reporting it there and then? Why do I need to ring the police to tell them when I told a police officer?"
Mr Taylor said he then called 999 and was assured patrols had been sent out.
But it turned out the officers in question, who were working from Peeler House police station in the town, missed the radio call as they were celebrating a colleague's retirement.
Mr Taylor said when he went to the station in Ferriby Road he was met with a car adorned with pink balloons. He also heard shouts and cheers inside.
Mr Taylor rang the buzzer hoping to finally get help, but was greeted by a community support officer who told him he was unaware of the theft from his shop.
The shopkeeper has made an official complaint and said he was told by an inspector that "mistakes have been made".
Mr Taylor, who runs Westbourne Stores, a corner shop and general store in Westbourne Grove, said the episode was comical, but felt let down.
Mr Taylor, who keeps a copy of the Humberside "Police Pledge" in his shop, said: "The whole thing just became more and more farcical as we went on, it was like a scene from Carry on Constable."
He added: "I have been raised to respect the police and the work they do. It is a really hard job and I appreciate that, but I was miserably let down when I needed them."
A spokeswoman for Humberside Police confirmed an investigation was being conducted by the Professional Standards Branch.
She said that it would be inappropriate to comment until the inquiry had been completed.