The man fell into the sea at Sutton Harbour while being chased by police

A suspected thief has

died in Sutton Harbour in Plymouth after becoming trapped between a harbour

wall and an old fishing vessel.

The man, who was

fleeing the police, fell into the water at around 6am on Sunday morning after

climbing aboard a boat.

Officers spent time

trying to save the man but unfortunately they were unable to rescue him.

Witnesses nearby

report seeing the man jump onto a rotting fishing boat as he tried to hide from

authorities, but slipped, falling into the water and becoming trapped.

He remained conscious

and was communicating with officers as Navy divers, police and coastguard crews

tried to free him.

A yachtsman in the

harbour described to The Telegraph how the man was “shouting and screaming” as

rescue teams tried to save him, while another witness said she could hear the

man saying that he couldn’t swim.

Despite their efforts,

the man died and his body was later recovered from the water, along with a blue

bike that he was alleged to have stolen.

A spokesman for Devon

and Cornwall Police said: “Police were called to reports of a theft of a

bicycle from Citadel Road East in Plymouth around 6.10am.

“A man was located by police but he made off and was followed by

officers into Sutton Wharf. 

“The man was seen by members of the public to enter the water close to

The China House pub around 6.30am. He became trapped between a disused fishing

vessel and the harbour wall.

“Two lifeboats and the fire service water rescue team were deployed but

were unable to reach the man due to his location.

“The Royal Navy dive team was deployed and has recovered the body of the

man.

“Police enquiries continue to establish the identity of the man and the

scene has been cordoned off.”

The Independent Police

Complaints Commission has now launched an investigation into the incident.