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Police under fire over moped crime as pub boss warns: ‘It’s out of control’

'It’s called moped crime – that kind of downgrades it. No. What is happening is that people are being mugged in broad daylight on the streets of NW3'

21 September, 2017 — By Tom Foot

DCS Catherine Roper speaking at the meeting at St Stephen’s

A PUB manager tore into the one of the borough’s top police chiefs at an angry meeting about “out of control” moped crime.

Antonia Orpen, who runs the Washington, in Belsize Park, said scooter muggers were regularly mounting the pavement at an England’s Lane and Belsize Park Gardens “hotspot”.

A meeting held in St Stephen’s Church, Hampstead, on Thursday night, was told of horror stories about the phone-snatch phenomenon from several worried residents.

Ms Orpen told Detective Chief Superintendent Catherine Roper: “We have had numerous instances of moped crimes on England’s Lane and Belsize Park Gardens. On one Sunday, we had four people come into the pub and say phones were taken. Not one police officer came to the pub that day to look at CCTV. I have 11 cameras. “n England’s Lane people are frightened, they (moped riders) are mounting the pavement, going for people with pushchairs. It’s completely out of control.”

She added: “It’s called moped crime – that kind of downgrades it. No. What is happening is that people are being mugged in broad daylight on the streets of NW3. You need to co-ordinate your response to how frightened people are. I’ve been in pubs for 15 years, I’ve never seen anything like it – we need to know it’s at the top of your agenda.”


A DEMONSTRATION by Jonny Bucknell of how easy it is for thieves to steal a scooter backfired after his angle grinder’s battery failed.

The long-time Conservative councillor for Belsize ward had brought a moped and lock to the church meeting. He said: “I went to a local hardware shop and said, ‘Can you give me a chain they can’t get through?’ He said, ‘No, this is how they do it, with an angle grinder’, which… doesn’t work.”

Cllr Bucknell also brought some tools and a hammer to the meeting but his demonstration fell flat with the audience who were more interested in relaying their concerns to the police. “The meeting’s really not interested in this,” said one irate man.

“There are no regular repeat offenders that we know of, and are interested in currently, that live in Camden,” said DCS Roper. “They are coming from other parts of London, not least Islington. “Camden is different – other boroughs are breeding their own offenders. I’m sad to say that Camden is at the top of the league table when it comes to theft snatches.”

She said crime prevention ideas include trialling drones, a new DNA spray and not buying second-hand phones on the black market. Other suggestions included having portable spikes at hotspot junctions to stop quick getaways, while another man suggested: “You should be flooding the streets with cops armed with baseball bats.”

The meeting heard from one speaker who said that people should take more care and not flaunt their expensive phones in the streets, making them attractive to thieves. Claire-Louise Leyland, leader of the Camden Conservative party, and organiser of the meeting, suggested a follow-up session for residents after Christmas.

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