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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 12:53 GMT
S African thief's getaway spiked
Mthandani Nqetho with his foot impaled on a fence (Copyright: Independent newspapers, Durban)
Mr Nqetho was found by people going to church
A South African suspected thief who impaled his feet on a fence while running away from guards will appear in court once he can walk, police say.

Mthandani Nqetho pierced his feet on steel spikes as he was trying to jump the fence on Friday night in Durban.

He managed to free one of them, but was unable to release the other and had to hang on until morning when church goers saw him and called the rescue services.

Police say it will be about a week before he can face the magistrate.

Police public relations officer Michael Reed told the BBC that Mr Nqetho is under guard in hospital and has been charged with robbery.

Stuck on roofs

Captain Greg Bevan, who was part of the rescue team, said Mr Nqetho was in a bad way when he was found.

His wrists were swollen from clinging on to the railings for so long.

"People in the crowd gave him a cigarette and grapes until the rescue services arrived," he told the BBC.

The BBC's Alice Lander in Durban says bystanders believe he may have been there for about 12 hours.

Capt Bevan said officers have previously been called in to rescue thieves - especially those on rooftops.

But they had never dealt with an incident like this, he said.

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