The quick-thinking actions of a council worker helped police catch a bag thief in a busy high street. 

Redbridge council worker Phil Smith was on his lunch break in Ilford High Road on June 27 when he heard shouting and a saw a man run into a side street. 

Mr Smith had witnessed the unemployed 25-year-old discard the stolen handbag in a rubbish bin and called the police. 

He assisted by giving them a detailed description of the suspect and after arriving on the scene, helped them in a local area search.

Rick Ayres, of Mortlake Road in Ilford, pleaded guilty to theft and was handed a community order at Barkingside Magistrates Court on August 7. 

He has been ordered to pay £345 in costs and carry out 150 hours of unpaid work by August 2015.  

Redbridge borough commander Sue Williams said: "It is always good to see the public playing their part in crime reduction and assisting the police with vital information that has led to the identification and apprehending of the suspect.

"Phil Smith's prompt action ensured the victim of crime had satisfaction in knowing the suspect was caught and that her property was recovered promptly. We are grateful for his assistance."