A Gravesend man who tried to steal an off-duty police sergeant's bike at Abbey Wood station before assaulting the officer, has been jailed for 18 months.

Javid Ahmadzai, 19, of Havengore Avenue, Gravesend, attacked the officer just after midnight on August 4 last year - and could have seriously injured him if passengers had not intervened.

Sergeant Brian Washbourn, a 42-year-old based in Greenwich,  was off-duty and travelling home from work at the time of the attack.

Detective Constable Mark Agrippa, of British Transport Police’s (BTP) robbery squad, said: "The victim boarded the train at Woolwich Arsenal station and placed his bike close to doors.

"When the train arrived at Abbey Wood, Ahmadzai and a group of men got off the adjacent carriage and, while walking past the open doors, attempted to grab the cycle.

"The victim intervened and was assaulted while trying to prevent Ahmadzai from stealing his bike. Thanks to the efforts of fellow passengers on the train, Ahmadzai left the scene empty handed."

Ahmadzai was arrested after detectives circulated CCTV footage from the train to police officers across the area.  He later pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit robbery.

DC Agrippa added: "This was a completely unacceptable assault. Members of the public have the right to travel on the rail network without the fear of violence."

Speaking after the May 20 sentencing at Blackfriars Crown Court, Sergeant Washbourn said: "I'm pleased that my colleagues in BTP were rewarded for their hard work in securing this conviction.

"I was quite shaken by the incident and if it hadn’t been for the intervention of other passengers I fear I would have been seriously assaulted."