River Lea muggings: 120 towpath users form human chain in show of solidarity after spate of attacks

About 120 boaters, cyclists, rowers and anglers formed a human chain to "reclaim the towpath" after

About 120 boaters, cyclists, rowers and anglers formed a human chain to "reclaim the towpath" after a spate of crime along there. Picture: Ludovic Enwick - Credit: Ludovic Enwick

More than 100 boaters, cyclists, rowers and anglers formed a human chain along the Lee Navigation on Sunday to show solidarity after a spate of violent muggings there over the summer.

The police, Hackney Council’s crime chief Cllr Caroline Selman, and the Canal and River Trust London Waterways manager Jon Guest joined a meeting on the Village Butty boat afterwards, to discuss how to eradicate crime hotspots on the towpath.

Organiser Mike Doherty, who has lived on a boat for 14 years, told the Gazette: “We are often quite a transient community, because we have to move around the system – so you might have different neighbours every week.

“But it’s events like this that bring us together and hopefully make us all feel safer.”

A survey of 500 towpath users, conducted by some of the boaters, revealed that just over half have been avoiding the towpath because of the fear of crime.