Man criticizes "overzealous" police after being arrested for charging phone on London train

Smartphone owners are no strangers to the perils of being stuck with limited battery life while out and about - but it's worth remembering that you can't just plug your phone in anywhere to help yourself to some extra juice for your device.

That's a lesson that one London man learned the hard way, when he was arrested on suspicion of 'abstracting electricity' on a recent rail journey in the city.

Robin Lee was travelling on a London Overground service between Hackney Wick and Camden Road on Friday, during which he plugged his iPhone into a power socket on the train. He says he was approached onboard by a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) who told him that he was taking electricity illegally.

When he got off the train at Camden Road, he was greeted by several more police officers, and arrested. He was then handcuffed, put into a police van and taken to a British Transport Police (BTP) base before subsequently being de-arrested.

Speaking with the London Evening Standard, Lee said: "It was an overzealous community support officer. They should never have arrested me, they knew it was ridiculous. The whole thing was ridiculous."

A BTP spokesperson confirmed that "a 45-year-old man from Islington was arrested on suspicion of abstracting electricity, for which he was de-arrested shortly after." However, it seems that Lee's reaction to these events got him into further trouble - the spokesperson added that "he was further arrested for unacceptable behaviour" after "becoming aggressive". No decision has yet been made on whether to bring charges against him.

For what it's worth, Transport for London says that there are signs near the power sockets on its London Underground trains which clearly point out that they are for "cleaners' use only and not for public use". You have been warned.

Source: London Evening Standard via The Guardian
Image credits: Robin Lee image via London Evening Standard; train image via Transport for London

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