A policeman was left with a broken ankle after he was run over by a motorcyclist on a stolen bike.

Sutton Inspector Stuart Hinks was sent flying in the air after he was struck by the motorcyclist during an anti-gang operation.

Insp Stuart Hinks, said it was the first time he had feared for his life while in the line of duty - despite being in numerous dangerous situations on the front line during the August riots in Tottenham.

He said: "He struck me pretty much head on. I felt the crash, a huge bang and my feet being whipped from under me. I landed on the roadway."

"I can honestly say that this was the closest that I have felt that my life was in real danger."

Insp Hinks, with 33 years experience in the police, was part of a team of 21 officers in Southwark in an operation to combat gang on gang crime and catch robbers in that area using motorbikes and scooters to evade arrest by police.

The officers had started their return journey to Sutton in a police van at about 1.20am on Saturday, March 3.

While travelling through Lambeth they became suspicious of a lone motorcyclist riding ahead of the police vehicle.

The bike had no registration plates and its rider was constantly looking back to check if he was still being followed.

Insp Hinks believed the rider would complete a circuit of the same roads again to try and lose the police tail.

He asked to be let out of the carrier vehicle, which continued to follow the motorcyclist.

Sure enough, Insp Hinks saw the suspect motorcyclist return into view and ride towards him.

Insp Hinks indicated to the rider to stop - giving the rider plenty of time to come to a halt or change direction.

Instead, the rider accelerated, smashing into him and coming off his bike.

The rider ran off as officers in the police carrier arrived to help and pursue the suspect.

Insp Hinks was hospitalised with a fractured ankle and injuries to his knee and wrist.

A man has been arrested for GBH with intent and bailed to return later this month.