A group of Pokemon Go players have been dubbed “heroes” by police after they helped catch burglars in Doncaster on Saturday night.
The friends had been playing the game – which requires players to “catch” Pokemon on their mobile phones at various locations – when they stumbled across “something suspicious” in a builder’s yard in the Wheatley area of the south Yorkshire city.
I never thought I would write this headline but #PokemonGo / #Pokemon has helped fight crime in #DoncasterTonight the…
At that point they aborted their pursuit of the monsters on their screens and turned their attention to some real-life trouble makers, calling police who arrived in time to catch the thieves.
A post on the South Yorkshire Police’s Facebook page read: “I never thought I would write this headline but #PokemonGo / #Pokemon has helped fight crime in #Doncaster. Tonight the team have been out in Doncaster when our control room took a call from a group of friends.
“These friends had been in the Wheatley area of Doncaster playing #PokemonGo, looking for those pesky little creatures on their app… they travelled down a side road into an industrial (site) and saw something suspicious in a builder’s yard. Dilemma… search for Pokemon or call the cops?
“Thankfully these budding search heroes called 999 to report what they had seen…”
Police arrived just as the burglars were abut to make their escape and, while they might be none-the-wiser as to what Pokemon Go is, they were full of praise for the gamers after they gave statements to complete the unlikely arrests.
“SYP Operational Support to the scene just in the nick of time… the offenders were just leaving the yard carrying their stolen goods. They were stealing decking, clearly wanting to enjoy the summer sunshine in luxury,” the Facebook post added.
“They had nowhere to go and had their collars felt. Two arrested for a commercial burglary and are currently staring at the cell walls in custody. They will be interviewed later.
“The group of friends have given their statements and we wish them well on their quest to find more #Pokemon things… yes I have no idea what a Pokemon is but I am sure someone will happily educate me!”
The story comes after reports of the dangers the game has posed to Pokemon Go players as they focus on their phones instead of their immediate surrounds.
Last week a group of players in Manchester had their phones stolen at knife point while in California two men fell off a cliff while playing the game.
A woman in the US discovered a body while out hunting for Pokemon, while a registered sex offender was arrested after being caught playing the game with a child near a courthouse in Indiana.
A host of police forces in the UK have issued warnings to players about staying aware of their surroundings while using the app, which has already broken download records and overtaken Tinder and Candy Crush Saga in terms of usage numbers and downloads.