Hackney residents blow the whistle on crime

PUBLISHED: 13:00 12 February 2014

Regent's Canal Towpath

Regent's Canal Towpath


Hackney’s houseboat owners are blowing the whistle on canal crime with a community-led scheme to bring down burglaries on the waterway.

Boaters on Regent’s Canal are handing out whistles in an attempt to improve safety along their stretch of the towpath.

Barge owners are being urged to keep a whistle on their keys or around their neck and blow it if they see someone acting suspiciously, looking through windows or committing a crime.


Naseem Regragui, who is spearheading the initiative, said those he had spoken to on the towpath had been “overwhelmingly positive”.

He said: “Both the Canal and River Trust and the Metropolitan Police are on board and are ordering whistles. Some burglars have been caught recently.”

It is hoped Operation Whistleblower will reduce an increased number of thefts and vandalism of moored boats in recent months.

“A donation of 50p or £1 means that we can keep distributing whistles as boats arrive and leave so that there are always whistleblowers near,” he said.

Keith Brown, community organiser for the Regent’s Canal and River Lea, said together with residents he was trying to create a “standardised plan of action for whistling and responding”.

The scheme appears to be gaining momentum with houseboat owners from as far as Tottenham and Kensal Rise voicing their support for the campaign.

It has also inspired Hackney Wick residents, who have been recently affected by a spate of muggings along the River Lee.

Founder of community group Urban Village Network, Vilmar Pellisson, 39, of Roach Road, Hackney Wick, said: “I have sent out leaflets so people are aware they should take some precautions.

“Canal-facing residents have a whistle. We raise an alarm by blowing the whistles. It creates a more secure neighbourhood.

“People carry a torch at night while walking along White Post Lane and the footpath which leads to Roach Road.”

Latest Hackney Stories


In an article from our ‘Year in Sport’ pullout, the other teams in the Six Nations have their chances previewed


Police want to speak to this man after a woman was sexually assaulted while walking home from a night out in the Finsbury Park area.

Yesterday, 18:30

Everton have completed the signing of Theo Walcott from Arsenal in a deal worth £20 million on a three-and-a-half year contract.

Yesterday, 18:03

Shedding further light on illegal schools remains a chief priority for Hackney Council in the face of criticism from the Jewish community.

Yesterday, 15:31

When I gave up meat as a first-year student, I did so not just because of nascent first-world guilt about the environment and factory farming, but because it was cheaper.

Yesterday, 15:00

Spurs have won eight of their last 10 games in all competitions and suffered just one defeat during that period - at the Etihad last month

Yesterday, 14:30

The team at Newington Green’s popular Alma has opened a new pub, Be-Bop-A-Lula, in Green Lanes. It’s great. James Morris isn’t surprised.

Yesterday, 13:02

In an article from our ‘Year in Sport’ pull-out, we look back on Leyton Orient’s 2017 and explain why this year provides renewed hope

Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists