A man allegedly stealing from a restaurant in Barcelona had the misfortune of attempting the theft in front of a group of off-duty British police officers on a stag do, who ran after him and caught him after “instinct” kicked in.

Sergeant Eren Emin, 30, told the PA news agency he was on his stag do in the Spanish city with four other police officers when a man jumped over the restaurant counter and began grabbing electrical items.

The officers chased down the man before detaining him and waiting for Spanish police to arrive.

“I think policing is more of an instinct than anything else,” said Metropolitan Police Sergeant Emin, who is based in Enfield.

“I’m a police officer. It’s my job. Wherever we are, whether in Spain, it doesn’t matter, I have to do what’s right.”

He added: “We were in a restaurant on the main strip, waiting for food to come, and he made his way over to the bar area where the counters are and then he jumped over the counter and that’s when he caught our attention.

“He started to ransack the tills and take electrical goods such as the iPads and iPhones, whatever else was there, before he made his way around and then sprinted outside of the restaurant and instantly we stood up and gave chase.

“As soon as he saw me he started running and obviously I didn’t have a chance to think, ‘Oh, wait, I’m not a police officer, and I’m not in the UK, I’m in Spain’. I’m a nobody here, but to be honest, that didn’t even cross my mind.

Sergeant Eren Emin was one of the officers who chased the alleged thief (Eren Emin/PA)

“It was a case of just getting him stopped. It’s wrong. What’s wrong is wrong. Common sense has to apply here as well and that’s why we got him detained as quickly as possible.”

Sgt Emin said the off-duty officers chased the man around 50 metres down the road before they caught him.

The police recovered everything that was stolen and took the man back to the restaurant where they waited until Spanish police arrived.

“As soon as they arrived, one of my colleagues informed them that we were all police officers and then it was high fives all around, is how I would describe it,” he said.

Metropolitan and City of London police officers chased the alleged thief (Eren Emin/PA)

He said the restaurant staff were “really shocked because they didn’t expect the whole table of their customers to get up and get this chap and recover all their goods”.

He added: “I’m quite known within my organisation for arresting people off duty – here in the UK, wherever I go, I always end up attracting or coming across crime, which is really strange, so for me, it’s just another day.

“Some others might see it as, ‘You’re a lunatic, you’ve got no protective gear, what are you doing?’, but I’ve done it numerous times before.”

On whether he can ever switch off from his job, he said: “No, and it’s the same for my other colleagues as well.

“They’re really well-respected police officers and collectively that’s why we all get on so well. It’s because we’re all like-minded and committed.”