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Teenage boys are a target for muggers in Hampstead

PUBLISHED: 10:27 08 August 2011

Friends, 15, have all been mugged near tube stationsn in Camden in the past two months.

Friends, 15, have all been mugged near tube stationsn in Camden in the past two months.

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

»Parents and teenagers in Hampstead have raised concerns about the safety of youngsters after six friends were robbed in frightening attacks.

The boys met at Lyndhurst House Prep School in Hampstead when they were seven. Now 15, they have all been mugged, four of them since January.

This has sparked fears among their peers and families about the safety of young men, particularly in Camden.

Two of the boys were walking along Mill Lane, West Hampstead, on July 13, when they were mugged for their mobile phones.

The experience has left them shaken and was an unpleasant reminder of how easy it is for teenagers to become a victim of street crime.

One victim, from Hampstead, said: “It was strange because I’d never been in contact with someone in the street in that way. It was scary and confusing.”

Another friend, who did not wish to be identified, was robbed in Lancaster Road, as he walked home from the 02 Centre in Finchley Road on July 2. His mother said: “He was very frightened and, for several days, he did not want to leave the house.

“The police were very good and I wrote a letter to the superintendent to say how good they were. But it’s worrying because I don’t want my child to be psychologically damaged.”

In another nasty attack, a boy from the same group was held up at knife-point in the O2 Centre in January at 7.30pm on a Saturday.

His mother said: “He was traumatised for a while and couldn’t sleep. He kept asking me what would have happened if the boy had used the knife.”

Another parent of one of the victims is concerned that teenage boys in Hampstead are a walking target for robbers.

“If they’re out walking on their own, or with their friends, they’re a walking cash point because they all have mobile phones and a small of amount of cash on them,” she said.

DI Iain Maddison, of Camden’s robbery squad, said: “We are committed to keeping young people safe, tackling knife crime and reducing robbery. These continue to remain our priorities until we drive the crimes down and bring offenders to justice.”

A Camden Police spokeswoman said residents should take precautions to reduce their chances of being targeted. This includes being aware of your surroundings, especially when using a cash point or mobile phone and not openly using or showing your valuables. If young people are travelling by bus, they should sit near the driver.

n Three boys have been arrested in connection with the Mill Lane robbery on July 3. Two are aged 13 and one is 18. They have been bailed to return on a later date.

n No arrests have been made and enquiries continue in relation to the alleged robbery on Finchley Road on January 22. Anyone with information is asked to call Camden Police on 101 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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