A Croydon Olympian who was fined for shoplifting has said it was all a big misunderstanding.
Norbury-born Blake Aldridge was given an £80 on-the-spot fine after allegedly stealing some copper plumbing fittings from a B&Q store in Nursling, Southampton.
The diver had actually worked in the store, who used to sponsor the 26-year-old, where he was stopped by the security guards, who recognised his face and detained him in the office until 1.30pm yesterday (Thursday).
Statements were taken from security guards and staff at the store while officers questioned Aldridge, who went to Stanley Technical High School, before issuing him with a fixed penalty notice.
Mr Aldridge claimed before he had a chance to speak to the manager, the police arrived and he was told to either take the fine or be escorted in handcuffs out of the store to the police station.
He said: “I have spent thousands of pounds in B&Q over the years they sponsored me.
“For a matter of 40p for the police to be called when everyone knows who I am is ridiculous.
“It was a total innocent mistake.”
He claimed he had put the fittings, reported to be worth £4, in his pocket as he was carrying wood and could not hold them, and then forgot about them as he left the store.
Mr Aldridge added he was consulting his solicitor over a possible appeal of the fine.
Hampshire police yesterday refused to reveal details of the incident saying it was force policy.
Police have the option of giving out fixed penalties for minor crimes so cases do not have to go through the courts.
A suspect has to agree to receive the fine rather than be arrested but it is not an admission of guilt.
Aldridge sparked controversy during the Beijing Games when he fell out with fellow diver Tom Daley – Britain’s second youngest ever Olympian aged 14 – over a phone call to his mum in between crucial dives in the final of the 10 metre platform synchronised contest.
The pair finished a disappointing eighth, with Aldridge blaming Daley’s nerves for the performance.
The pair severed their ties in March this year.
In February Aldridge was forced to withdraw from the British Championships after he was left battered and bruised when he was knocked out while on a night out in Southampton.
He was attacked by three men in the Oceana nightclub.