Hampstead ‘fund your own police’ drive tops £210,000 after series of violent robberies

Borough Commander Jason Gwillim say the increase in the number of offences in police stations in Hav

Borough Commander Jason Gwillim say the increase in the number of offences in police stations in Havering is "troubling" but "not a reason for wider concern" - Credit: Archant

A crowdfunding drive from Hampstead residents to pay for their own police has reached £210,000.

The campaign has been stepped up following a spate of violent robberies in the neighbourhood in the past few months.

In the most recent attack on December 23, a masked gang violently robbed a woman in her own driveway in Redington Road.

Six weeks earlier a mother was mugged on her doorstep by masked men who threatened her young son in Hollycroft Avenue on November 10.

It also follows revelations by police that burglars struck in the same neighbourhood five times in a week at the beginning of November, forcing their way into homes in Frognal and Oakhill Park.

As reported in the Ham&High, residents launched a crowdfunding drive in October to raise £200,000 a year over three years to pay for their own dedicated officers to patrol Hampstead.

Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who is spearheading the crowdfunding drive and chairs the Frognal and Fitzjohns Safer Neighbourhood Panel, said the total pledged now stood at £210,000. “The situation is becoming desperate and it cannot continue. We have to do something urgently,” she said.

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In the latest incident at 7pm on December 23, a woman described how she was attacked by two masked men who snatched her wedding ring.

The gang fled after a “hero” neighbour, who heard her screams, came running out of his house and chased them off.

The terrified victim, who was “hoarse from screaming” described in an email to neighbours: “A parked car and two guys in black masks and gloves came at me as I exited our garage and had just started to walk up our garden path to my house.

“One held my arm out yelling ‘take the ring’ while the other guy ripped off my wedding ring, which I’ve had for 47 yrs.”

She told how they then tried to pull her watch from her wrist, causing a graze to her arm.

She screamed repeatedly alerting her “hero” neighbour who lives opposite. “Bravely, he came running, they fled, He chased them to their car which was not far from us,” she said.

She warned: “Please be careful and do look around you before you walk into your homes. If you happen to see a car parked in a local neighbourhood from 6pm onwards and you see two men sitting in it, please don’t be afraid to dial 101 and report it.

“Based on the current spate of these muggings, it seems to be the same two guys. Please do not approach them yourself.”