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Call for police bike squads to halt moped mugging crime spree

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 February 2015

Thieves on mopeds are targeting streets in Hampstead  Picture: PA Wire/Metropolitan Police.

Thieves on mopeds are targeting streets in Hampstead Picture: PA Wire/Metropolitan Police.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Terrified residents have urged police chiefs to bring a motorbike squad to patrol Hampstead after a spree of moped muggings.

At a meeting of the Frognal and Fitzjohns Safer Neighbourhood Panel, officers reported they were investigating three robberies in the area in the last month.

Sgt Martin Evans, told the meeting that in the most recent incident thieves riding a moped mounted the pavement and attempted to snatch the mobile phone from a pedestrian in Belsize Lane, on January 28 at around 8:10pm

The pedestrian managed to keep hold of the phone and the muggers rode off.

Just five days earlier, at just after midnight, on January 23, a 31-year-old woman was thrown to the ground and attacked in Finchley Road, Hampstead,

A police spokesman said: “The victim was pushed to the ground and during the struggle, the suspect attempted to remove herwatch. The suspect continued to demand the watch from the victim, who eventually handed it to the suspect.”

He said the mugger, described as 5ft 8ins tall, of slim build wearing a puffa jacket, then escaped on a silver moped being driven by an accomplice.

He said: “As the moped made off, it was in collision with another vehicle and the moped failed to stop.”

These attacks follow another on January 7 at around 1pm in Hampstead High Street when a pedestrian had her bag snatched by a thief on a moped.

Jessica Learmond-Criqui, chairman of the Frognal and Fitzjohns Safer Neighbourhood Panel, said: “Moped crimes are terrifying and life changing for the victims.

“The Met needs to have an effective means of chasing mopeds to give the community confidence that they can handle this type of crime.” They need to bring back the motor bike squad who were highly trained Met officers who patrolled the streets on motor bikes and who took on moped riders who attacked the public.

Shying away from using the squads leaves the public vulnerable and fearful. I call on the Met to set up their Motor Bike Squad once more”

Speaking at the meeting, Sgt Evans appealed for residents to look out for any abandoned mopeds. “We would ask members of the public to contact us whenever they come across a moped that looks like it is abandoned or in a side street.

“We need to find out where these suspects are abandoning and picking up the mopeds from.”

Jessica Learmond-Criqui said she was very concerned to see the spate of moped robberies starting up again in the area as there had not been any reports for a while.

As reported in the Ham & High, a spate of moped muggings took place in August last year with thieves carrying out seven attacks in one day.

Teenagers posing as potential buyers stole a scooter while on a test drive after meeting the owner through the Gumtree website and then went on to carry out a series of robberies in Hampstead village and South End Green.

Police appealed for anyone with information to call police in Camden on 101

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