CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Met apologises for failing to act on stolen moped – yards from Kentish Town police station

'Little scrotes' tried to snatch my phone, says former council leader Sarah Hayward

13 July, 2017 — By William McLennan

Suspected thieves in Chalk Farm

SUSPECTED snatch thieves stored a stolen moped just metres from Kentish Town police station, a tracking device revealed.

Officers were told where the bike was, but failed to act before it is thought to have been used again in London’s epidemic of drive-by crime. The case has led to apologies from the Met, amid claims that it missed a chance to act right in front of their noses.

Police have repeatedly asked the public to help tackle the wave of snatches carried out on stolen mopeds by protecting their vehicles from theft. Neil Morgenstern’s scooter was stolen in West Hampstead but he tracked it to a property in Holmes Road – close to the police station – using an in-built GPS system.

He called police, but they had still not arrived an hour later when a man opened a gate and rode off on the vehicle. The following day Mr Morgenstern’s moped was photographed being ridden by two men as they attempted to steal another motorbike. In the alarming, broad-daylight attack the two suspects were reported to have waved a hammer at have-a-go heroes as they attempted to intervene.

Mr Morgenstern told the New Journal: “I’m not happy with the fact [the police] don’t seem to be taking it seriously enough. If they’d have caught them, not only would my bike have been returned, but it wouldn’t have been available to go out committing more crimes.”

The failings in the case were raised at City Hall when assistant police commissioner Craig Mackey said on Thursday: “I think we were quite clear we got that wrong… The reality is, with the volume of calls, we at times get things wrong.” He added that the Met has “seen about a 22 per cent rise in 999 volumes over the last two years, so there is quite a lot of stretch in the system”.

Sadiq Khan says police response to moped gang clue was not good enough

Labour Assembly member for Camden Andrew Dismore had asked: “How are we to deal with moped and motorcycle theft and moped and motorcycle-enabled crime and how are we to persuade people of the importance of tracking devices after such a poor response?”

A written response, on behalf of London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Met commissioner Cressida Dick, said: “The response Mr Morgenstern received was not as expected, when considering the location and the information. The MPS apologise for that and have made contact with Mr Morgenstern to reiterate that fact and are reminding staff of expectations when live tracking information is flagged to police.” It added that the Met’s anti-moped crime team, Operation Venice, had made “a number of successes of recovery and arrest in similar circumstances, which we advertise to the public”.

The statement added: “While a tracking device will help locate a motorcycle once stolen, the Met are recommending that owners consider locking both the front and back wheels of vehicles to prevent theft in the first place.” Mr Morgenstern said: “There was a lock on the back wheel which they clearly cut through using an angle grinder. I don’t think a second lock would have made any difference.”

l On Thursday, former council leader Sarah Hayward became the latest target for phone snatchers on mopeds as they tried to grab her handset near Kentish Town Road. She resisted and the thieves left without her phone but her hand was cut in the struggle. “Some little scrotes just tried to snatch my phone in Kentish Town,” she tweeted. “They got away with just a chunk of skin.”

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