HE is a have-a-go-hero who risked his safety to foil a youth breaking into his mother’s car.

But now the plucky young footballer has slammed police for their leniency towards the thief he caught red-handed outside his Southampton home.

Former AFC Bournemouth youth team striker Clive Makoni restrained an 18-year-old he caught searching through his family’s blue Mercedes outside their home in Burgess Road.

Clive, 19, who was watching TV when he spotted the intruder, pinned the youth against the vehicle before ordering him back inside the car and guarding it until police arrived.

The youth – who is believed to have broken in using a pair of scissors – broke the front seat and pulled out magnetic reels from cassette tapes in a frantic search for cash and the family claim he stole a pair of jump leads.

But officers decided the incident required only a caution rather than more serious charges.

Clive said: “I can’t believe it – it sends out completely the wrong message. People will think that if they steal someone’s car and get away with it they profit, but if they get caught they won’t get punished that much.

“He’s gone through the car and stolen something. They should treat it more seriously.”

His mother Marvellous Chibisa, a law graduate, said: “I was fuming – it seems they have got more protection for the criminal rather than the victim.”

But a police spokeswoman stressed the youth was a student of previous good character with no previous convictions.

She said: “He did not take other valuable items from the car and was extremely apologetic.

The caution was the appropriate action to take and it will give him a criminal record.

“This case should be a lesson for car owners that if you leave a vehicle insecure with valuables in view, don’t be surprised if someone helps themselves.”