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River Lea towpath robberies: Police investigate four more attacks

PUBLISHED: 08:36 08 August 2017 | UPDATED: 08:12 09 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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Detectives investigating a series of knife-point robberies along the River Lea last week believe the same gang carried out another four attacks.

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

As reported by the Gazette, four men were victims of late-night muggings or attempted muggings between Tuesday and Friday. And cops now believe the same masked gang carried out four more attacks.

Det Insp Paul Ridley of Hackney CID said patrols had been stepped up and urged any other victims to speak up.

He said: “Four of the crimes occurred in under an hour, in a spree spanning Hackney, Tottenham and Waltham Forest, demonstrating the brazen nature of these robbers.

“In some offences, the suspects have used unnecessary threats and violence, attacking victims after they had handed over property.”

Ben Goodwin's injuries are healing but days later he still has a cut and some bruising around his eye. Picture: Ben Goodwin Ben Goodwin's injuries are healing but days later he still has a cut and some bruising around his eye. Picture: Ben Goodwin

“There have been increased patrols in the affected boroughs and activity has taken place to reassure the community, including warning local residents, many who have boats moored on the river. Officers in the affected boroughs have been briefed and will immediately respond to information received.

“I cannot discount that there may be other victims who have yet to contact police - I would urge them to come forward and provide us with any information they have; this may prove vital to our investigation.”

Young dad Ben Goodwin was the first to be attacked outside of the Lea Rowing Club as he cycled home from work at 10.15pm on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old was punched to the ground and beaten before the gang, who were on mountain bikes and in their late teens or early 20s, demanded his PIN before stealing his phone, £30 cash and bike lock and key.

He told the Gazette yesterday: “I was really terrified. I’ve got a baby daughter and, you know, I was just totally shaken up.”

Minutes later another man, 39, was pushed off his bike and had his bank card, house keys and jewellery stolen. He flagged down a passer-by who called the police.

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.

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 next day, at 11.40pm, a 32-year-old man was cycling towards Yarmouth Crescent in Tottenham when he was pulled off his bike by five males on bikes, again described as between 16 and 20.

They pulled him into undergrowth and demanded his property before running off with his AA BSA Voodoo Bizango mountain bike after he began shouting.

Half-an-hour later a 39-year-old was cycling past the Lea Rowing Club at 12.10am when a group of black men on bikes chased him after initially letting him pass. He was able to escape but ten minutes later a 30-year-old man was walking along Coppermill Lane into a park by the bridge over the river when he noticed a black male hiding behind a park bench. He then tried to grab his phone but the victim threw it into the undergrowth. A second man then grabbed it while a third man assaulted him and a fourth stole his wallet.

The man was able to escape and hid from the attackers, who made off with his iPhone, debit card and wallet.

He described them as black, aged 16 to 19 and between 5ft 11in and 6ft 2in – all were wearing balaclavas. One had a fur hood and another escaped on an orange mountain bike.

Five minutes later a 26-year-old man and 25-year-old woman were walking along the canal towpath near to Yarmouth Crescent when they were confronted by three men.

The man urged the woman to run away and she managed to take cover in the undergrowth while he was punched in the face and pushed to the floor. The attackers stole his phone and wallet before police heard screams and ran to investigate.

On Saturday night at 10.25pm a 28-year-old was confronted by three males on bikes near Craven Walk, Stamford Hill. They demanded his possessions but rode off empty handed.

One of the males was white, 5ft 10in and in his late 20s. He was wearing dark clothing and was stocky with a face mask.

Anyone with information can contact Hackney CID via 101 or via Twitter @MetCC quoting operation name Glanford. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.

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