Teenager charged with assault and drug possession after man pushed into canal for trying to protect swans

A man was shoved into the canal in Limehouse, east London, on 26 June. (@witzhappening/Twitter)

A teenager has been charged after a man was pushed into a canal for intervening to protect a pair of swans.

The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been charged by police after the incident in Limehouse, east London, on Friday, 26 June.

The man, a boat owner, was shoved into the water after trying to stop a group of youths from disturbing the animals.

The teenager, from Tower Hamlets, was charged with common assault and possession of cannabis.

The Metropolitan Police said he was bailed to attend Thames Magistrates’ Court on 1 September.

Read more: Drunk man saved twice from river after pubs reopened

The police and the RSPCA had previously called for information about the incident, in which the group tried to separate a pair of swans.

A video of the incident was posted on social media and appeared to show a woman kicking out at the animals.

Initial reports claimed the swans had been mating but witnesses said the animals were fighting and that passers-by had tried to separate them.

Boat owner Jeffrey Phillips, 55, approached the group and told them to leave the animals alone.

Witnesses said a group tried to separate a pair of fighting swans. (@witzhappening/Twitter)

Seconds later he was shoved into the canal by a figure in a baseball cap who left the scene on a scooter.

Phillips, originally from Canada, has lived on a houseboat on the canal for 12 years.

He told Mail Online: “Everybody was watching the swans and I was trying to tell families with young children to keep their kids away when these punks came round the corner throwing bottles, cans, anything they could find to try and separate the swans.

Read more: NHS workers ‘should be rewarded’ for coronavirus hardships

“It was when one dark curly-haired kid threw a nearly full litre bottle of Fanta orange and actually hit the aggressive swan that I said ‘You can't do this, these birds are a protected species’.

“The guy who pushed me was nothing but a coward, as are the rest of them.”

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “A 17-year-old from Tower Hamlets has been charged with common assault and possession of cannabis.

“He was bailed to attend Thames Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, 1 September.

“This follows an incident where a man was pushed into a canal in E14 on Friday, 26 June.”

Watch the video below

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting.