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‘We need more police in Canada Water’: man who tackled phone thief to ground calls on officers to stamp out wave of robberies

A man who chased after a phone thief and tackled him to the ground by Canada Water tube station, holding him in place until the police arrived, has called for more officers in the area to “deal with the problem”.

Jack Peppiatt said he was coming out of the station just before 6pm last Friday (October 1) when he heard a woman screaming ‘stop him, stop him, he’s got my phone’. Mr Peppiatt could see a young boy running off away from the woman through the crowd of people coming home from work.

“Everyone around was saying ‘stop him’ but nobody was actually doing anything,” he said. “I was with my stepdad and he said ‘be careful because you don’t know what he could have on him’.”

But Mr Peppiatt decided to chase after him and managed to grab hold of the boy near the Canada Water Café on Surrey Quays Road about 100 metres from where the robbery took place. Mr Peppiatt said he got the phone off the boy and gave it to someone else to hand back to its owner while he held the suspect down.

“I wasn’t going to let him go. He was trying to pull himself off me, trying to push me but I just wouldn’t let go of him. He was saying ‘the phone’s been returned so why don’t you let me go?’ I said ‘does that make it alright then? Why should I let you go’ He was really angry and swearing at me.”

Mr Peppiatt said he asked the boy: “Is this the way you’ve been brought up, to rob women? You shouldn’t be robbing anyone but it’s even lower when it’s a woman. Why don’t you rob a grown man?”

Mr Peppiatt also said that a group of older boys gathered round him while he was holding the suspect down and telling him to let the boy go because he hadn’t done anything wrong.

“They were trying to free him up, crowding me and saying ‘let him go, let him go’. “I said ‘he can go once the police have dealt with him’.”

Another man called the police, who soon arrived to take the boy in.

A spokesperson said: “A 13-year-old boy was arrested at the scene and taken to a south London police station where he was further arrested on suspicion of another robbery committed on 3 September.

“The boy has been bailed to return on a date in late October pending further enquiries.”

Mr Peppiatt, who has lived in the area for nine years, said this kind of incident is depressingly common.

“It’s definitely not the first time – there’s been a few times where I’ve literally seen it. I’ve seen boys go past on pedal bikes and snatch phones. I’ve seen women robbed for handbags.”

He joined calls for a greater police presence in the area, suggesting that even some police community support officers could scare off would-be thieves.

“It should be so much easier. That woman was only on her phone to check the bus times. I know we say it’s not good to be on your phone the whole time and we should be more careful – but if people want to go on their phone, they shouldn’t be frightened.”

Godwin Perrot, the police sergeant for the Rotherhithe safer neighbourhood team told the News earlier this year: “We are aware of the issue and we are putting measures in place to try and stop it.”




  1. My God you deserve a medal as far as I’m concerned! More people need to do that. At my end…. Near London Bridge…. The M. O. its boys on bikes. It’s rife. And whilst being careful, I agree we shouldn’t be scared. This is getting out of hand. It’s all I hear about in my neighbourhood. Wtf is going on? No consequences clearly. Definitely MORE POLICE on streets is needed! What measures have they put in place because I haven’t seen any.

  2. Good on you Mr. Peppiatt. The reason more people don’t act is the concern that one of those other kids might have a weapon on them. Anyways, these kids will grow up in that hood and be bigger hoodlums and more asbo. The council and police need to act now because it’s escalated and leaving it to vigilantes will lead to future violence. Kids in these pre-gangs need to be separated. Parents should be given the option: either the kid gets prosecuted with a record or the whole family need to leave the council and don’t return.

  3. Well done! As a single woman I usually get the train or tube to Canada Water after a night out so that I can get a bus home from there, but the bus station feels quite creepy at night so sometimes I would text someone to let them know where I am and what time I’ll be home and the last thing you need is someone trying to grab your phone when you’re already feeling vulnerable!

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