A JEWELLERY shop manager has been hailed a hero after chasing a thief.

Nicola Keoghan sprung into action after a man ran out of Neil & Barkers in Widnes with a £7,000 watch.

He walked into the store in Greenoaks Shopping Centre posing as a customer.

Mike Aldridge, owner of Neil & Barker was in the shop when the incident happened, at 11am on Tuesday, January 7.

He said: “This guy came in and asked to look at a watch. One of our ladies knelt down to get the watch out of a display. He leaned over the top of her, grabbed the watch and ran.

“Nicola chased after him. Fortunately a couple of passers-by tried to give her some assistance. They managed to get the last three digits of the registration number of a waiting car. There was a woman in the driving seat and a baby in the back.”

The car sped off but the police managed to apprehend the offender at Rainhill Stoops roundabout at the M62.

Paul Kirk, aged 33, of Norris Green, Liverpool, was arrested and charged. He appeared at North Cheshire Magistrates Court on January 8. He admitted the burglary and was jailed for six months.

A woman was arrrested and released without charge.

Nicola, aged 24, said: “I didn’t even think about it. I just ran.”

Mike added: “Luckily because of the speed of thought of Nicola and the fast action of the girls here who pressed the panic button, the police came really quickly. They were absolutely fantastic. I would like to thank them. Their support was first class.

“They didn’t know which way the thief had driven but fortunately, there was a police car at the M62 junction.”

The Rolex gents blue face two-tone submariner watch with a gold and silver bracelet is still missing.

Mike added: “There will be a sting in the tail as the day it needs to be serviced and goes back to Rolex, they will hold onto it.”