The officer was in the paint aisle at Homebase on Mansfield Road in Arnold, at around 3.30pm on Tuesday, June 28 when he heard a disturbance at the tills.
After speaking with staff, he detained and searched a suspect accused of stealing goods.
Wayne Lee, aged 52, has been charged with two counts of theft – the second of which relates to an unrelated incident at a supermarket in Hucknall on June 5.
Lee, of Chatsworth Drive, Hucknall, appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, June 29 and was bailed to appear again on August 2
Sergeant Rob Palethorpe, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Shoplifting offences can have a significant impact on local businesses and are taken very seriously by Nottinghamshire Police.
“As was demonstrated by person involved in this case, police officers may be off-duty but they are always ready to spring into action if and when they need to.”