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Gang on bikes robbing Lea River towpath cyclists at knife-point, police warn

PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 August 2017

Towpath along Lea River near where cycle robberies have taken place. Picture: Google

Towpath along Lea River near where cycle robberies have taken place. Picture: Google

Google

An armed gang are robbing cyclists and pedestrians at knife-point along the Lea River towpath and using bikes themselves to make their getaway.

Towpath at Hackney Wick. Picture: GoogleTowpath at Hackney Wick. Picture: Google

Police have stepped up patrols after eight attacks in less than a week between Hackney Wick, Clapton and Tottenham.

Some victims have been knocked off bikes, beaten up and robbed at knife-point.

The latest attack was at 10.25pm on Saturday, when three men tried to rob a 28-year old pedestrian.

The spate of violence began on August 1 when a 31-year-old bike-rider was robbed at 10.15pm by four hooded men with their faces covered by scarves.

L:ea River towbath bridge at Three Mills. Picture: GoogleL:ea River towbath bridge at Three Mills. Picture: Google

The gang threatened to stab him when they snatched his wallet and phone, then punched him and demanded his bank card PIN code.

A second cyclist, aged 39, was pushed to the ground a few minutes later and kicked while his bank card, wristwatch, silver crucifix and house-keys were stolen.

Three pedestrians were attacked last Wednesday. One had a kitchen knife held to his throat while their bank cards and phones were stolen.

“The gang are using bikes with rapid escape routes to target people on the towpath,” Det Insp Paul Ridley warned.

Canalside towpath near Three Mills. Picture: GoogleCanalside towpath near Three Mills. Picture: Google

“Their brutality is concerning. They held a knife to the throat of one terrified man and have used unnecessary violence after victims handed over their possessions.”

A 32-year-old cyclist had his distinctive yellow BSA Voodoo Bizango mountain bike stolen last Thursday.

The gang are described as black, aged between 18 and 23. But a suspect in one attack is white, in his late 20s, about 5ft 10ins tall.

Gang members were almost caught after a couple in their 20s were robbed by three men who punched the man to the ground. Police nearby heard the woman’s screams, but the gang fled towards Hackney after stealing a wallet and mobile phone.

Police have stepped up patrols along the Lea River and canal towpaths, asking cyclists to call them if they spot the gang—but not to challenge them as “they will be armed”.

Anyone with information is being urged to call 101 or use Twitter @MetCC, quoting ‘Glanford’, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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