Officers  swarmed on a lake just off the Warringah Freeway near Artarmon when a suspected stolen Toyota Hi-Lux had been seen with the alleged thief fleeing the scene on foot.

Police jumped the guard rail and followed the man into the heavily wooded area on foot, deploying a number of police dogs to try and sniff out the suspect’s scent from amongst the darkness.

One of the dogs was followed by his handlers deep into a storm drain in the area where police came upon a young man and his mattress.

Barking and growling were then heard issuing down the drain, a long with the man’s agonised screams as the canine officer latched onto his posterior in an attempt to stop the suspect from escaping.

In the darkness the man was arrested and dragged by police from the drain only for them to find, upon getting him back up into the light that they’d got the wrong man.

Indeed it seems New South Wales Police Officers (and their dogs) had apprehended a far rarer species of beast than any garden variety car thief, indeed they had gotten their hands on a member of the fabled and shadowy guerrilla organisation the “Cave Clan”.

Police were still keen to question the young man (whose name has been suppressed) as to why he had smuggled a mattress into a storm drain, a question that was answered when the man’s girlfriend also emerged out of the gloom.

Needless to say in all of the excitement the man who had stolen the Hi-Lux escaped the clutches of the officers who had mobilised in such great numbers in an attempt to catch him.

The young man may have wound up with a “savaged buttock” but he can count himself lucky at least that he wasn’t tasered to death.

That seems to be the NSW Police force’s modus operandi these days.