A persistent thief pinched plants from Custom House Quay even after being caught on camera.

Ferry skippers caught the man green-handed pulling up plants and making off with them in a plastic bag.

CCTV footage shows him approaching a planter box at around 6am and looking cautiously over each shoulder before uprooting two plants and stashing them in a bag.

Richie Warwicker, who skippers May Queen, said ferry crews decided to stick printouts of the culprit's face to the planters with the message: "Smile plant thief, you're on camera."

The warning worked for a few weeks, but then plants started going missing again.

Another skipper, who did not want to be named, camped out in the early hours of Monday morning to confront the sticky-fingered stranger.

Like clockwork, the man showed up soon afterwards and was confronted by the waiting ferryman who told him to "stop pinching our plants".

The man denied having anything to do with it, but still offered the skipper £10 to replace the missing greenery.

Richie said: "It's not a question of the money, it's just the principle of it really. We're trying to make the place look a bit nicer for visitors."

After he was confronted, the man promised not to come back to the quay again.