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Bike-jack cycle gang strikes again in latest robbery by Regent’s Canal

PUBLISHED: 15:24 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:45 04 December 2017

Jack Eaton's stolen blue Brompton bike, if you see it. Picture: Stolen Ride

Jack Eaton's stolen blue Brompton bike, if you see it. Picture: Stolen Ride

Stolen Ride

A gang of bike-jackers are being hunted by police after a cyclist was ambushed and robbed in Victoria Park.

A file image of the Regent's Canal towpath by Victoria Park, near where the bike-jacking happened. Picture: Mike BrookeA file image of the Regent's Canal towpath by Victoria Park, near where the bike-jacking happened. Picture: Mike Brooke

Jack Eaton was punched before his blue and green fold-up Brompton bike, bank debit card and mobile phone were stolen during the hold-up, next to the Regent’s Canal, on Friday.

“They had headscarves waiting for someone to come this way alone,” said Jack.

“They took the bike off me and shoved me, shouting to give them my bank card.

“Two were shoving me and digging through my pockets – the other had his hand as if to draw a weapon.”

A crime prevention roadshow in Victoria Park in 2016, fixing ID to a frame to help track owners if a bike is stolen and recovered. Picture: Mike BrookeA crime prevention roadshow in Victoria Park in 2016, fixing ID to a frame to help track owners if a bike is stolen and recovered. Picture: Mike Brooke

Jack had his phone snatched and was forced to reveal his bank card personal security number.

A passer-by came to his aid and let him use his mobile phone to cancel the bank card. The Good Samaritan took him to the nearby Approach Tavern in Bethnal Green, and paid for a cab to get him home to Leyton.

“It’s wonderful to think there are such kind people just out and about,” Jack added. “But I definitely won’t cycle through Victoria Park at night again.”

Richard Cantle, founder of the Stolen Ride campaign group that shared Jack’s story, is warning that gangs are targeting parks, quiet roads and canal paths at night.

A unique ID number marked on a bike frame. Police in Victoria Park run a campaign to mark and register people's cycles on a Met database every summer. Picture: Mike BrookeA unique ID number marked on a bike frame. Police in Victoria Park run a campaign to mark and register people's cycles on a Met database every summer. Picture: Mike Brooke

He said: “It’s bad enough having to worry about your bike when you leave it locked up, but it’s another level to have to worry about the risk of bike-jacking.”

Scotland Yard confirmed they are looking for three suspects after Friday’s robbery.

A spate of towpath robberies at knifepoint broke out along the River Lea in August when eight pedestrians and cyclists were ambushed in less than a week.

Police have also been carrying out a bike marking campaign in Victoria Park each summer so owners can be traced if their property is recovered. Unique codes on the Met Police database match markings fixed with indelible numbers onto the bike frame.

“I think it would be fair to say I loved this bike to bits,” Jack added. “I even gave it a stupid nickname: Doodle.”

Sadly, it’s the second time Jack has been a victim of bike theft: his ride was stolen in Oxford once, too.

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