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Knifepoint robbers target six men in four days on canal towpath near Lea Valley Marina in Clapton

PUBLISHED: 18:27 04 August 2017 | UPDATED: 13:33 07 August 2017

The attacks happened near the Lee Valley Marina by Springfield Park. Picture: Google StreetView

The attacks happened near the Lee Valley Marina by Springfield Park. Picture: Google StreetView

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Knifepoint robbers have targeted six men in a terrifying crime spree on the towpath by the River Lea since Tuesday.

A file image of the River Lea, near the towpath where a gang has targeted six people in days. Picture: Dan Atrill/Flickr/Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0 A file image of the River Lea, near the towpath where a gang has targeted six people in days. Picture: Dan Atrill/Flickr/Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0

Three of the victims were riding bikes and three were on foot. All but one had items stolen and were beaten up.

The crime spree is happening in Clapton near the Lea Valley Marina, close to the Waltham Forest border.

Detectives were this evening appealing for information about the attacks, all of which are thought to have been carried out by the same group.

The first terrifying incident happened at 10.15pm on Tuesday, when a man, 31, cycled on to the towpath outside the Crescent Rowing Club in Spring Hill.

He was approached by four men on mountain bikes described as black and aged 18 to 23. They had their faces covered with scarves and had their hoods up. They blocked his path and threatened him before rifling through his pockets and repeatedly punching him in the face. They stole his phone and wallet.

The men demanded the PIN for their victim’s bank card and threatened to stab him before riding north. The victim called for help at the nearby Anchor and Hope pub.

Victim Ben Goodwin called for help after being attacked yards from the Anchor and Hope. Picture: Matthew Black/Flickr/Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 2.0 Victim Ben Goodwin called for help after being attacked yards from the Anchor and Hope. Picture: Matthew Black/Flickr/Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Just minutes later, a second man, 39, was approached by a group of men as he cycled near the High Hill Ferry. The attackers pushed him off his bike before punching and kicking him as he lay on the ground, and stealing a bank card, watch, silver crucifix necklace and his house keys.

The victim, who sustained a leg injury, flagged down a passer-by who called cops. The attackers are described as black men.

Then on Wednesday at 11.30pm, three men in their early 20s were walking near the Springfield Marina when they were approached by three men in their late teens to early 20s, again on bikes and described as black.

The victims were all assaulted and robbed for their phones and bank cards. One had a large, black handled kitchen knife held to his throat.

The fourth attack happened at 12.10am today when a man, 39, was cycling near the Lea Rowing Club.

He was approached by a group of men, again on bikes, who chased him after initially letting him pass. But they made off empty-handed.

"Please remain vigilant and if you see any individuals of concern, call police immediately. Do not attempt to challenge the robbers – there is a distinct possibility they will be armed"

Det Insp Paul Ridley

Det Insp Paul Ridley said: “The brutality the robbers have used is very concerning, holding a knife to the throat of one of the terrified victims and subjecting others to violent attacks.

“The robbers appear to be targeting canal path users which provides rapid access and escape routes, particularly when using a cycle.

“The canal towpath is likely to be busy, especially over the course of the weekend. Please remain vigilant and if you see any individuals of concern, call police immediately. Do not attempt to challenge the robbers – there is a distinct possibility they will be armed.

“If you have been the victim at the hands of these men and have not already informed us, please come forward. I would also like to appeal to the boating community in the area to inform my investigation team if they have any information.

“I would like to reassure residents that patrols have been stepped up and officers are on alert.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Hackney police on 101 or tweet @MetCC quoting operation name Glanford.

To give information anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.

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