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Do not chase moped thieves, advise police

Warning issued following stabbing of 22-year-old

09 February, 2018 — By William McLennan

POLICE have warned victims not to pursue moped thieves after a young man was stabbed when he chased after suspects who had snatched his phone in Oxford Street.

The 22-year-old ran after the moped and grabbed hold of the pillion passenger and successfully recovered his phone, but was stabbed in the ensuing scuffle. Police said his injuries were “not life-threatening or life-changing”.

Trained drivers in high-powered cars and lightweight BMW motorbikes have been tackling the surge in offences in which stolen mopeds are used in other crimes, including phone snatches and smash-and-grab raids. Suspects have had tyres deflated using remotely controlled spikes and have been deliberately knocked off bikes, since the arrival of 24 officers from the Met police traffic unit.

Inspector James Fowler, part of the moped crime unit, known as Operation Venice, urged people not to chase after phone snatch suspects

“I understand that instinct kicks in, the reality is that the way iPhones are backed up, yes, it’s a pain but it certainly isn’t worth putting yourself in harm’s way,” he said.

Scotland Yard said: “The victim was walking along Oxford Street with his friend when his mobile phone was snatched out of his hand by a pillion passenger on a moped.”

“The victim pursued on foot, caught up with the moped and grabbed the pillion passenger.

“The two had an altercation and the victim was stabbed.

“Both the pillion passenger and the driver made off on the moped without the mobile phone in the direction of Great Portland Street.

They issued crime prevention advice, which included “be aware of your surroundings at all times and keep your personal property secure” and “don’t text while you’re walking as you won’t notice potential thieves approaching”.

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