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Hampstead Heath muggings: Patrols up as autumn attacks reported

PUBLISHED: 09:15 19 September 2019

Hampstead Heath. Picture: Ken Mears

Hampstead Heath. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

After reports of at least three muggings or attempted muggings on Hampstead Heath in the last fortnight, the City of London Corporation has confirmed it is working with police in order to reassure visitors.

The CoLC manages the Heath, whose Heath Constabulary patrol it runs in conjunction with the police.

A spokesperson confirmed: "We are working closely with the Met and the Heath Constabulary has increased patrols in the area."

Susan West, who chairs the Hampstead Town Safer Neighbourhoods Panel, told this newspaper she had been made aware of a pair of incidents on the Heath.

One was a mugging and attack on a man who was sitting on a park bench one evening. The man was approached and kicked by a group of young people.

He was approached by a group of teenagers at about 10.15pm, and they stole property and kicked him.

Susan said there had also been a case where hire bike users had stolen a Heath visitor's phone.

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And a woman claimed her husband had been confronted by a "group of teenagers" who demanded his phone while he was out running on Monday evening.

Susan has raised the issue with the local police and the City, and told the Ham&High she was particularly concerned about the use of bikes.

She said she was worried it was beginning of a trend.

"They are dumped anywhere and make it difficult for people, particularly blind and disabled, to use pavements safely," she said. "As if that wasn't bad enough I'm now hearing that hire bikes have been used in two recent robberies in Hampstead, both involving mobile phones."

She called for "urgent talks" between Transport for London (TfL), the police, local councils and hire bike operators in order "to stop this from turning into another moped crime spree".

When previously asked by the Ham&High about oversight of dockless bikes, TfL director of transport innovation at TfL Michael Hurwitz said: "It is vital dockless operators work closely with us and the boroughs to ensure their schemes are safely and responsibly managed."

Camden Council expects to see a London-wide byelaw brought in next year to give councils greater powers over bike parking.

Have you noticed an increase in crime on the Heath, or been a victim yourself? Contact Sam Volpe at sam.volpe@Archant.co.uk or by phoning 020 7433 0120.

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