These dramatic pictures show police officers arresting a vagrant who was begging in the fast lane of the A4 in Hammersmith.

The man was plucked to safety after kneeling down on the westbound Talgarth Road as it joined the Hammersmith Flyover last Saturday at about 11am, with officers using their car in the outside lane as a barrier before they saved him.

Retired fashion photographer Derek Luckham of Star Road, Fulham, who called the police and took these pictures as he watched the drama unfold, said: "Because he was kneeling down, he would have been difficult to see until you were almost on him.

"There is a bend in the road just before the flyover and people come away from the lights at Barons Court very fast. They must have only have seen him at the last moment and would have had just seconds to try and miss him.

"He is a regular and apparently he is doing this all the time. I have seen him around Hammersmith for around two years."

Since April, Timothy McCarthy, of no fixed abode, has appeared seven times at West London Magistrates' Court, in Talgarth Road, Hammersmith. He has been found guilty of begging in the middle of the A4 outside the court and in Hammersmith Broadway. On three occasions the court sentenced him to one day's detention.

A police spokesman said: "The man in question was arrested, charged and was due to West London Magistrates' Court. Charges were later dropped as he was sectioned under the mental health act."