A RETIRED Gwent water polo player wrestled and sat on a suspected raider for more than 20 minutes while his pet dog raised the alarm.

Cwmcarn resident Phil Rees, 59, was taking his dog round the back of his house for a walk on Sunday, August 17 when he says he spotted a man in his neighbour’s back garden.

The man, who he believed climbed over the back wall at the house in Newport Road, Cwmcarn, was using bolt cutters to cut through the lock on the gate to come back out, he says.

Mr Rees, a former large goods vehicle driver who will turn 60 in February, said: “I knew my neighbour had gone camping for the weekend so I crept up there. I heard a man in the yard, snip snipping away with some cutters.

“As the gate opened I went in and it was as if it was slow motion. We tussled for about 10 minutes, he pushed me against the wall and all the plant pots flew off.

“Eventually I managed to lie on top of him and pin him to the floor. He was trying to wriggle out and giving me different excuses.”

It was one of Mr Rees’ two dogs, Shilo, who woke up wife Karen Rees by pawing, licking her and directing her to outside where Mr Rees had the alleged raider trapped face down on the floor.

Mrs Rees called the police at 6.17am and waited with her husband, who sat and talked with the man, for just over 20 minutes.

Steve Perkins, 50, who owns the house and garden where the man was discovered, is a lumberjack.

Mr Perkins, who has lived next door to Mr Rees for 26 years, said: “I only found out about what had happened when I returned from camping mid-morning on Sunday. I was most worried about my tools.”

Mr Perkins, who is known to residents in Cwmcarn as Ernie, gave Mr Rees a truckload of redwood timber for his log fire as a thank you for what happened.

l Gwent Police said they were called to a report of a burglary at the house on Newport Road.

A 48-year-old man from Bettws was arrested and has since been charged with criminal damage, use of a motor vehicle on a road without insurance and using a motor vehicle without a valid test certificate.

He has since been released on bail to appear at Caerphilly Magistrates Court on Thursday, September 4.