KIND-HEARTED police officers took pity on a thief after catching them stealing to feed their family at Christmas.

Hampshire Constabulary detective inspector Chris Taylor described himself as “so proud” of the gesture made by officers, which reportedly left the family member shaking with happiness.

The incident happened in Romsey and the thief was discovered trying to take groceries from outside a home.

But instead of prosecuting, PC Claire Browne and PCSO Louise Allen from Romsey Neighbourhood Team donated food, home essentials and toys to the desperate person.

The culprit stole food from outside a residential property following a shopping delivery in early December.

The theft was resolved by the two officers and the thief was described to be openly remorseful and said it was done out of desperation.

DI Taylor said: “This was a case where we were able to make excellent use of a community resolution.

“The victim was consulted and was very happy with a letter of apology and putting the person involved in contact with Romsey Food Bank.

“PC Claire Browne and PCSO Louise Allen from Romsey Neighbourhood Team could clearly see this family were struggling, and had very little for Christmas.

“[Home essentials] have now been delivered to the family by the officers. They described the recipient as shaking with happiness when they were handed over.

“We would encourage anyone who is in a similar position to make use of the fantastic network of food banks. I am so proud of our officers, this is compassionate community policing at its best and it was humbling to help a family in need at Christmas.”

Jo Topley, manager at Romsey Food Bank said: “The main reason that people are reporting needing help from the foodbank is changes in their benefits and having periods of time to wait for this to be resolved.”