Machete-wielding moped gang terrorising cyclists in Richmond

·3-min read
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

A machete-wielding gang is terrorising cyclists as they ride through Richmond Park in a string of violent robberies.

Two moped riders were caught on camera carrying off a recently stolen bike as they sped away from the scene, the latest of four attacks in six days.

Police were called to the scene after cyclists reported they had been rammed off their bikes and threatened with a machete.

One witness said: “The gang stealing bikes by force attacked a cyclist causing injury to them and resulting in the bike being stolen and carried off on a moped. Photographs have been taken but they were wearing balaclavas. They rammed the cyclist. Be careful.”

The latest attack took place in broad daylight in Roehampton High Street close to the entrance to Richmond Park.

A Met spoksman said: “Police were called at 17:09hrs on 11/10/21 to high Street, SW15 in @MPSWandsworth after a man was reported to have been assaulted by two males, who then stole his bicycle. One of the suspects was reported to be in possession of a machete and so armed officers responded.

“An area search was conducted, however the suspects could not be traced. The victim was taken to hospital as a precaution but was not seriously injured.”

It comes after a professional cyclist was ambushed as he was training in the park.

Alexandar Richardson, 31, said he won’t return to Richmond Park after he was chased by four attackers on two motorcycles who were trying to force him to hand over his bicycle on Thursday afternoon.

He rode off at speed to try to escape but the robbers caught up with him and he came off.

Mr Richardson desperately clung onto his £10,000 bike and was dragged up to 100 metres by one of the motorcycles. One of the robbers then threatened him with a 15 inch machete at which point he handed over his cycle.

On Wednesday another cyclist was robbed of his expensive red Cannondale racing bike by two men on e-scooters. Police said one of the thugs pushed the cyclist to the floor before taking his bike and making off towards Richmond Gate.

Police are urging cyclists to be vigilant and have increased patrols. There have been no arrests.

Chief Superintendent Elisabeth Chapple, responsible for local policing in south-west London, said: "Many people in the area would have seen these reports on social media and will understandably be concerned. I can reassure you that we are doing everything we can to track down those responsible for these terrible crimes.

"Everyone should be able to feel safe when using Richmond Park and that’s why I have arranged for additional officers to be in the area over the comings days. They will work alongside our dedicated Royal Parks officers and I would encourage anyone with concerns to approach them, or to call 999 in an emergency."

Detective Inspector Gavin Collins, from Operation Venice, the Met’s response to moped enabled crime, said: “These incidents would have been incredibly frightening for those involved and I would like to reassure the victims and the public that we are doing everything we can to track down these dangerous individuals.

“I would ask anyone who was in or around the park at the time of any of the incidents to check for any dashcam or cycle helmet footage. This could be key to helping us track down those responsible”.

Any witnesses to call police on 101 and quote ref CAD 5688/11Oct (2/2). Information can also be provided giving the reference 5103/07OCT.

Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers, anonymously, by calling 0800 555 111.

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