CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Pizza delivery drivers targeted by moped thieves

Takeaway managers say police are not doing enough to protect them

21 May, 2018 — By Emma Rosser

Mudassar Saleem, manager of Pizza Hut delivery in Tufnell Park, with one of the business’s motorbikes

FAST-food delivery drivers say they need more protection from gangs stealing their motorbikes. Pizza businesses in Tufnell Park spoke out after seeing motorbikes stolen and drivers chased through the streets.

The bikes may be used by thieves involved in drive-by mobile phone snatches. Camden experienced the second-highest number of motorcycle and moped thefts in London – 813 – last year, according to figures released by the police.

Mudassar Saleem, manager of Pizza Hut delivery in Tufnell Park, has had two motorbikes stolen. He said: “The worst thing is the police don’t do anything. I told the police, ‘they are riding in front of me’, and the police said they didn’t have available staff.”

Mr Saleem said thefts appeared to get worse during the warmer months and that police needed to respond this summer.

Pizza Hut area manager Syed Hussain said: “We find the bikes in a terrible state. The first thing they [criminals] do is remove the box, because they don’t want the logo of Pizza Hut. And they use them recklessly. By the time we find the bike it’s almost not usable, dumped somewhere in the bushes.”

Mr Hussain said that motorcycles from the outlet in Camden High Street have been vandalised on a daily basis, with mirrors broken, parts torn off or wires pulled away, forcing them to rent a garage in Euston for overnight storage.

Mohib Ahmad, manager of Tops Pizza in Fortess Road, said: “It’s not going down, it’s getting even worse.” He said when a bike was stolen in January, he was told by officers that “they couldn’t do anything about it”. A tracking device pinpointed where the motorcycle was, but Mr Ahmadi added: “When we got there, there was a group of people, more than 10 or 12 people, and so many bikes.”

Detective Superintendent Caroline Haines said: “Police are working hard to keep the public safe and make the streets hostile territory for criminals who steal scooters, mopeds, motorbikes and bicycles and then use them to snatch valuables from members of the public.”

She added: “Every borough is mobilised to tackle offenders using local knowledge to tailor the policing required for their area.” DS Haines said police use cameras with automatic number plate readers, DNA capture and are investigating known offenders. She said in 2017 police saw the highest levels of motorcycle thefts and incidents where a motorcycle was used in a crime. However, she added that new measures have since brought the level of crime down. “We are not complacent and we will continue to carry out operations throughout London to tackle offences,” she added.

Police say that members of the public who see any suspicious activity, or have any information about who is committing these crimes, should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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