Jacob Smyth chased three youths out of his hardware shop in Penzance, Cornwall, when he was set upon. When he was kicked in the groin by one of the hooded youths who had stolen cans of spray paint Mr Smyth hit back.
Police issued fixed penalty tickets to the shoplifters but charged Mr Smyth and a colleague with assault.
Yesterday he pleaded guilty to assault at Truro Magistrates’ Court. He claimed after the hearing that he had been advised to plead guilty because otherwise he could have faced a six month prison sentence.
The court was told that Mr Smyth, a father of three, caught the youths stealing the spray cans in October last year. Two of them turned on him and he was kicked in his groin just weeks after a vasectomy operation. He retaliated and punched 18-year-old Craig Spiller to the ground.
Speaking outside court, Mr Smyth said: “I did nothing wrong. I was getting a good beating from this lad. I had no choice but to defend myself.
“We get shoplifters all the time - one after the other. We call the police but nothing is ever done. We called them on this occasion and ran after the lads to try and get my property back but then they turned on us. “Am I not allowed to protect my stock and premises from thieves?”
The answer is "NO", not now in England.