Actor Tom Hardy switched on his "superhero mode" when he saw thieves crash a stolen moped and flee from a crime scene on 23 April. The Dark Knight Rises star chased thieves through gardens and across a building site in Richmond, London, and even leaped over walls, before making a citizen's arrest.

"It was mental – like he'd switched to superhero mode in an action movie. Two boys on the nicked moped had jumped a red light and smashed into a car," eyewitness Arun Pullen told The Sun.

"Tom must have been walking down the road. He went off like a shot in pursuit and looked furious. If the kid had been dumb enough to resist, I reckon Tom would have given him a good hiding."

The 39-year-old actor nabbed one of the thieves and announced: "I caught the c***".

Hardy then grabbed the thief by the scruff of the neck, led him into a bus stop and patted him down for concealed weapons.

"The kid looked wrecked and in shock," the eyewitness said. "Tom Hardy's clearly not a man you'd mess with. I think he even checked the kid's ID before cops took over."

"I asked Tom what happened and he told me he chased him through my back garden and caught him around the block – but the route was like an assault course," the eyewitness said. "I'm a big Tom Hardy fan and there was no mistaking him. He looked as mad as he does on telly."

"This little s**t nicked something and now he's got himself a ­broken leg," Hardy told another onlooker.

The stolen moped crashed into a £50,000 Mercedes at a busy road junction and two suspects are facing theft charges.