Alleged hoverboard shoplifter
A man alleged stole a crate of Lucozade drinks from a Co-op in Mitcham, while riding on a hoverboardMet Police

A man accused of filching a crate of Lucozade while he zipped by on a hoverboard could make British legal history after he was charged with offences including riding on the pavement. Omaree Lindsay, 19, was allegedly filmed on CCTV riding one of the popular motorised scooters into a Co-op and out again with a box of energy drinks in September, after performing a neat three-point turn.

Lindsay, from Croydon in Surrey, is now due to appear on bail at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court on 30 December, charged with theft, failure to comply with a court order, and driving a self-balancing scooter on a pavement.

He is believed to be the first person charged under a new law that bans the two-wheeled devices from public roads and pavements.

Illegal, expensive toys

Made popular by celebrities like Justin Bieber and Usain Bolt, hoverboards – also known as Swegway scooters – are self-balancing, self-propelled two-wheeled scooters which are expected to be one of the must-have Christmas gifts this year, despite costing upwards of £200.

In October, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that riding "self-balancing scooters" on public land, such as pavements and shopping centres, is illegal, updating rules which already covered Segways to include hoverboards and single-wheeled electric scooters. They can now only be ridden on private land.

Safety watchdogs have warned that cheaper models made in China can be prone to overheating and catching fire. Trading standards officers have found that 85% of the models inspected to be defective – around 15,000 out of the 17,000 or so imported ahead of Christmas.

First hoverboard fatality

The first person to die in Britain while using one of the devices has been named as Nawaf Al-Tuwayan. The 15-year-old was crushed to death by a bus in north-west London while on an errand to the shops to buy milk for his mum.

He is said to have toppled off his hoverboard on Thursday evening, into the path of the 224 bus.

One eyewitness told The Sun that Nawaf had looked unsteady on two wheels, and had tumbled face-first into the road as the bus came around the corner. He was dragged 200m along the road before the driver realised what had happened.

A spokesman for Transport for London said: "Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of the 15-year-old boy who died after a collision."