Balaclava gang target cyclists on Hackney Marshes towpath

Princess of Wales pub in Lea Bridge Road, Hackney, near the towpath where Chris encountered the gang

Princess of Wales pub in Lea Bridge Road, Hackney, near the towpath where Chris encountered the gang. Picture: Ewan Munro CC BY-SA 2.0 - Credit: Archant

A cyclist who narrowly escaped being mugged by a gang of balaclava-clad teenagers is warning others to avoid Hackney Marshes after dark.

Chris Noyes, 36, was on his way home from work at 9pm on Thursday when he noticed a group of boys blocking the path ahead of him.

As he approached the pack he tried to swerve past but almost veered into the River Lea when one of the teenagers, the only one showing his face, tried to grab his arm.

“The one guy, he looked about 17, got hold of my arm and was saying ‘alright mate’ to me quite threateningly while trying to stop me,” explained Chris.

“I managed to get rid of his grip but I’m really worried now. I know people who go down there and I’ve told everyone not to now, especially all the girls I know. I think something has got to be done.”

Barclays worker Chris said the attempted assault took place between Hackney Wick and the Lea Bridge, near the Princess of Wales pub in Lea Bridge Road.

After stopping further down the path he spoke to another cyclist who had also encountered the gang.

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He phoned police, who had also received two other calls, at about the same time, about similar incidents in the area.

Officers arrived at the scene and arrested two 14-year-old boys on suspicion of handling stolen goods. Both have since been bailed until early April pending further enquiries.

Hackney officers continue to investigate the incident and inquiries continue.

A police spokesman said: “We received three separate calls by members of the public at around 9.20pm on Thursday to reports of a group of youths acting in an intimidating manner in the vicinity of the towpath by the River Lea.

“Anyone who has concerns or wishes to report an incident to police can do so via 101 or in an emergency dial 999.”