CATFORD residents have been praised for their "outstanding" work catching a crook red-handed as he prepared to loot their homes.

A group of neighbours from Penerley Road tussled with Godwin Wilson, who confessed he had burgled the area before and was found with tools to break in on September 30.

They called police and he later admitted a string of crimes across Lewisham including two burglaries at flats in Penerley Road, one at Blackheath Grove and one theft at Francemary Road.

Unemployed Godwin, aged 43, of Thomas Lane, Catford, was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on November 13 to two years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to three burglaries and one count of theft.

Following crime-prevention tips from a Catford South Safer Neighbourhoods PCSO, his captors snared him after not believing his claim that he was visiting a friend.

Afterwards, they thanked PCSO Guleser Cater for stressing the importance of knowing their neighbours, encouraging them to install mortice locks and getting CCTV installed by their landlord.

They also called for her to receive a police commendation for being a "credit" to the Met.

Lewisham Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Russell Nyman said: "This was an outstanding contribution made by members of the public who acted with great public spirit in deterring and detaining this burglary offender until police arrived.

"My officers then gathered the evidence and put this before the courts resulting in this conviction."

He went on to stress the importance of home security particularly at this time of year when burglary rates often increase.

PCSO Cater added: "Whilst we would not advocate people putting themselves in a situation that will cause them to be in danger, there are simple crime prevention measure that can be followed.

"Crime prevention is not the sole obligation of the police and we must all work together to reduce crime in our neighbourhoods."

Lewisham’s Street A Week programme sees Safer Neighbourhood teams visit households at risk from burglaries to provide them with safety advice.