Moped muggers put City police on high alert


Pedestrians have been urged to pocket their phones while out in public following a string of muggings by thugs on mopeds near the Barbican on Monday.

Police reported two phones snatched in the Silk Street and Chiswell Street area during the morning rush on 22 January, plus a further seven attempts by thieves on two wheels, though in these incidents victims managed to hold on to their mobile devices.

The spate follows two thefts near Bishopsgate at the weekend and a crime wave at the beginning of the year when a staggering 27 phones were stolen in the Square Mile during the first nine days of January.

Despite a busy few days, City Police has reported considerably fewer incidents over the last two weeks, which the force puts down to a combined effort with the Met Police to tackle moped-enabled crime in neighbouring boroughs.

Met Police has been running a series of targeted operations, which include registration checks for mopeds, increased patrols and intelligence-led investigations.

Last September, Scotland Yard introduced tough new tactics to help tackle rising levels of moped-enabled crime.

Officers were issued with faster, lighter motorbikes to pursue suspects, remote-controlled “pro-spikes” which shoot out rows of metal spikes to puncture tyres, and a new tagging spray to link suspects with their mopeds so they can be linked forensically to their crimes.

City detective inspector Mark Chapman said a collaborative approach is important for tackling what is a London-wide issue.

“We are aware people carrying out these types of offences come into the City from other parts of London and are therefore committed to working with our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police to identify and catch those who are responsible,” he explained.

“Recently, our joined-up working led to a decrease in phone snatches in the City, and we will be looking to build on this success in the future.”

Tips to avoid becoming a victim

  • Don’t text while you’re walking – you will be less aware of what is happening around you.
  • If you must use your phone in public, make it quick to minimise the chance of you becoming distracted by the conversation and a thief spotting your phone.
  • If you can, stand with your back against a wall when using your phone so nobody can come up behind you.