An audacious thief led cops on a dramatic boat chase across London after stealing a 100ft Thames clipper river bus early this morning.
The joyrider jumped over a security gate at around 3am, before untying the giant catamaran, which can carry 200 passengers.
River police were quickly alerted to the stolen boat and a fleet of vessels with blue flashing lights chased the clipper for four miles.
Eventually, officers boarded the stolen catamaran in a boat-to-boat leap undertaken at 30 knots – around 35mph. Having been taken from Poplar’s Trinity Buoy Wharf, the Clipper was then moved to Canary Wharf dock, where Metropolitan Police arrested a man.
22-year-old Joseph Hawridge from Chatham, Kent has been charged with taking a conveyance without the owner’s consent in connection with the incident, a Metropolitan spokesperson said.
Hawkridge will appear in custody at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 31 August.
The clipper is operated as a high-speed river bus between Putney in West London and Woolwich in the East, carrying 10,000 passengers daily.
A source told Mail Online: ‘The clipper was taken from Thames Buoy Quay opposite the O2 Arena where it was moored overnight.
‘They are fast boats, the police had to go full pelt to keep up.
‘One officer said afterwards it was surreal.
‘Incredibly, the boat was not damaged.’
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ‘Marine support units were called to reports that a man jumped over a security gate and stole a Thames Clipper.
‘They intercepted the Clipper with the blue lights illuminated.
‘The vessel slowed but did not come to a stop.’
He continued: ‘Marine officers boarded and took control of the vessel and it was taken to Canary Wharf dock.
‘They were joined by local units who arrested the man.’
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