A schoolboy with a footwear fetish who robbed victims of their shoes has been caught after an on-the-ball police officer spotted him in a hairdressers shop.

The 15-year-old from Streatham was being hunted by police for a spate of bizarre attacks in the area.

Between January 22 and February 6, five women were grabbed from behind, pulled to the ground and ordered to hand over their shoes.

The teen stole all kinds of footwear, including knee-high boots, flip-flops, yellow kitten heels, pink wedges and pumps, from his terrified victims.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector for Streatham police, Sarah Allison, said the boy followed his victims from Streatham Common, Streatham and Tulse Hill railway stations on the evenings of January 22 and 26 and February 3, 5 and 6, before they were attacked.

Police were so worried about the strange stealing spree that they set up a special intelligence unit and task force.

Officers spent hours watching CCTV footage of the incidents to try and catch the robber.

And their hard work paid off as, when one eagle-eyed officer saw the boy walk into nearby Mario's for a haircut, he recognised him as the culprit and arrested him.

Police discovered 16 women's shoes in the boy's bedroom, some of which were in pairs. After three victims identified them as their footwear and the boy admitted the offences.

He pleaded guilty to four counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery at Balham Youth Court last Tuesday.

He was bailed, tagged and will have to follow a strict curfew until he is sentenced on March 5.

DCI Allison said more shoes were also found in the teen's bedroom but have yet to be accounted for.

"If other incidents have happened which victims have not reported we would like them to come forward," she added.