Readers' Letters

Editor’s comment: If you know canal robbers, speak up now

PUBLISHED: 09:00 12 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


Someone out there – perhaps someone reading this – knows who is behind the terrifying robbery spree on the River Lea.

Having heard first-hand what victim Ben Goodwin went through, I’m very relieved that he wasn’t more badly hurt. He was beaten up, knocked to the ground and threatened with a knife that, fortunately, was never produced. It could have ended differently; I’m in little doubt that Ben is haunted by that thought, too.

Ben is one of 11 victims these people targeted in just a few days. They preyed on individuals and small groups who were simply cycling or walking down the canal. In at least one case the knife was actually pulled out and held to a man’s throat. It’s nasty stuff.

That bit of the canal is a route I used to take every day on my bike – often after dark – because I lived just the other side of the marshes. My late shifts at the Evening Standard usually meant I would be crossing the bridge by the marina at about midnight. People were forever telling me to avoid the area at night but I never paid any attention. I got no trouble and it was a lot of fun speeding down Spring Hill in the dark. Now it feels like a lucky escape.

If these people aren’t caught soon, I fear something worse might happen. And while the responsibility for what they do is theirs, someone right now has the power to stop others coming to serious harm. Serial armed robbers are not people who should just be allowed to get on with it in the hope they get bored. Sooner or later stakes will be raised: someone will fight back, or something will happen in the heat of the moment that could not only change a victim’s life – or end it – but could turn these young men from robbers into murderers.

Their friends and family can stop that happening. But time is ticking.

Latest Hackney Stories

Yesterday, 22:23

Gareth Southgate’s men capped a promising display with a deserved victory as an experimental England side secured victory thanks to Jesse Lingard’s first international goal.

Yesterday, 21:51

A paedophile who tried to broker a swap for a 12-year-old girl to rape and torture in exchange for providing crystal meth has been jailed for nine years.

Yesterday, 15:40

Arsenal fans can celebrate after midfielder Leah Williamson signed a long-term contract with the club.

Yesterday, 14:53

International breaks are rarely welcomed with open arms by fans who miss their Arsenal fix – but for football lovers this week is serving up some tasty ties with 14 players from the club set to be amongst the action. Find out more with Rosie Tudball’s comprehensive round-up.

Per Mertesacker has given a number of young fans with Down’s syndrome a day to remember as part of Arsenal in the Community’s excellent work.

Yesterday, 13:00

Leyton Orient face a crucial game at home to Woking in the National League with safety still not secured.

Yesterday, 17:18

A mental health charity off Mare Street is appealing for runners to take on the Hackney Half in the wake of government cuts.

Yesterday, 17:44

Matt Smith is training the Gazette running team for the Hackney Half. He will be giving readers regular fitness tips to help in their own preparation or just inspire them to get off the sofa. This week, he tackles the phenomenon of over-training.


To celebrate LGBT history month, Hackney resident Amanda talks about her journey to becoming a foster carer, with the council’s support and training.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists