‘Hugger mugger’ appeal: Shocking CCTV footage shows attacker stealing £5,000 watch after immobilising student with sleeper hold

Police said the unprecedented method of the assault made it particularly concerning

Police have released CCTV footage of the shocking moment a mugger immobilised his victim in central London with a strangle hold before stealing his £5,000 Rolex watch.

Scotland Yard appealed for witnesses who might have seen what it described as the “hugger mugger”, and said the attack was especially concerning because of the method used.

The incident occurred near Regents Street at around 3.35am on Saturday 10 May, when police said the victim was heading home “a bit worse for wear” after a night out.

A smartly-dressed 24-year-old student, he was approached by a man asking for a cigarette and the two got into a conversation about martial arts.

Explaining that he wanted to demonstrate a restraint move, the man persuaded his victim to turn around and then clamped his arm around his throat.

The student (right) was walking towards Oxford Circus from Regents Street when he was attacked by the 'hugger mugger' (left) The student (right) was walking towards Oxford Circus from Regents Street when he was attacked by the 'hugger mugger' (left) The strangle hold caused the victim to briefly lose consciousness and fall to the ground – at which point the mugger took his watch, described as a £5,000 Rolex Submariner with a silver bracelet and black face, and ran off.

Investigating officer DC Michael Heaney said the victim was left “badly shaken”, but that the incident could have been much worse.

He said: “The suspect targeted his victim carefully, choosing someone who was a bit the worse for wear after a night out, alone and smartly dressed.

“The method he uses is not something we have seen before in this area and is a concern. Had the suspect applied more pressure the victim could have been far more seriously injured.”

Police appealed for anyone who may have seen the man, who told his victim he was Algerian, to come forward. 

He was described as being bald with stubble, 5ft 8ins and of muscular build, and wearing a dark baseball-type jacket, dark blue jeans and a black baseball cap.

The assault took place in a doorway opposite the Strawberry Moon bar in Heddon Street.

Anyone with information is urged to call police on 0207 321 7513 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there