Matthew Lawson, 37, a Lance Sergeant in the Scots Guards, was hailed as a ‘legend’ by police officers after sticking out his leg and tripping the suspect, leading to his arrest.
Lawson had been out for an early Valentine’s Day meal with his wife when the incident took place in Kingston on Saturday evening.
Lawson told the Evening Standard: ““I heard a shout, ‘Stop! Police!’ and immediately my military training just kicked in.
“I saw the policemen chasing a guy and I thought, ‘He’s a bit of a whippet, they’ll never catch him’, so I reckoned I’d buy them a few seconds and just stuck my leg out to trip him up.”
The 6ft 2in former rugby player is a euphonium player in the Band of the Scots Guards based at Buckingham Palace.
Police appealed on Twitter for the mystery man who helped arrest the assailant to come forward.
Caught on CCTV, the video has become an internet sensation.