Camden’s former Rock ‘n’ Roll mayor punched in ride-by iPhone robbery

Camden’s former “Rock ‘n’ Roll” mayor has been the latest victim to fall foul of snatch and grab thieves.

Cllr Jonathan Simpson, who was affectionately known as the Rock ‘n’ Roll mayor during his time in office in 2010 because of his love of music, was taking a business call when he was preyed on by the motorbike-riding thieves who punched him in the face before making off with his iPhone.

The Labour councillor, who represents King’s Cross and was the first openly gay mayor of the borough, did not suffer any lasting injuries but was left bruised and in shock after the attack at about 7am last Tuesday (July 17).

“It’s one of those things the police warn you about and to guard against, but then you suddenly become a victim,” said the 38-year-old, who has taken up the chains of office again this year serving as deputy mayor to Cllr Heather Johnson.

“I’m not exactly the smallest person, I’m quite broad shouldered – among other things – and being attacked in that way is obviously quite shocking.”

He was on his way to a business meeting in the City at the time of the mugging, which took place in Highbury and Islington.

Camden has been a happy hunting ground for the drive-by thieves in the past with a spike in crimes in the lead up to last Christmas.

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Thieves, on bicycles and mopeds, catch pedestrians unawares as they check for directions on smartphones and tablet devices outside Tube stations and bus stops.

The nature of the crime makes the thieves very difficult to trace as all forensic evidence speeds off with the victims’ phone.

A police spokesman encouraged people to register their phones with and keep a record of its serial number.

He added: “Don’t attract attention to your phone when you are carrying or using it in the street and don’t park in isolated or dark areas, don’t leave your phone in an unattended car – if you must, lock it out of sight.

“It only takes seconds for a thief to smash a window and steal your phone. By taking these simple precautions, you can protect your phone.”