A 27-year-old Rover SD1 was pressed into action yesterday when police officers found themselves without a current squad car to answer an emergency call.

The classic car – in full police livery – was being used at a community event in Hillingdon Borough, West London when officers received a call advising them that two suspects had escaped on foot from an attempted burglary.

In a scene reminiscent of the BBC's Ashes to Ashes series, two quick-thinking officers dived into the Rover and caught up with the men and successfully made two arrests.

A witness to the event admitted to The Sun that the hit show was the first thing that occurred to him when he saw the British Leyland fastback arrive at the scene.

"I did honestly think they were filming a new series until the cops got out and grabbed these guys," he said.

The two men and a suspected accomplice were later released on bail.