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Moped crimes ‘up 25%’ in Westminster as police crackdown ‘moves offenders across borough borders’

It is feared that moped thieves could have come over from Camden and Islington

26 May, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya

Detectives in Westminster issued an appeal this week for information about the theft of a Piaggio scooter

MOPED crime in Westminster has risen by roughly a quarter on last year in Westminster, according to a new report.

It is feared that criminals who use these vehicles to commit thefts and other offences, could have come over to Westminster from Camden and Islington following a targeted police crackdown in those two boroughs, known as Operation Attrition.

A council report to cabinet member for public protection and licensing Cllr Antonia Cox, released earlier this month, said: “The police have made us aware that Westminster is seeing an increase in moped-enabled offending. The increase, when compared to last year, is in the region of 20 to 25 per cent.

“A number of offenders are from the Islington area and have been displaced following successes under Operation Attrition in Camden and Islington.”

Westminster did not have the resources from Attrition on a full-time basis, the report added.

Superintendent Mark Payne said that the London-wide Operation Venice has now replaced Operation Attrition as the crime spread across the capital. He said: “There was a small problem in a small part of London, which was mainly Camden and Islington, that’s grown out now and this crime has become more prevalent and we are seeing it in other boroughs as well.

“What we are seeing is bikes being stolen on the outer boroughs and being brought in to use for crime.”

He said that police could not “arrest their way out” of the problem and, instead, said a heavy responsibility lay with members of the public, who must take more steps to prevent their motorbikes and mopeds getting into the hands of criminals by using a chain to lock the rear wheel.

He said: “They are fast, capable machines and are difficult to deal with. What we have got to do is take these bikes away from the criminals and put them back on their feet like they used to be.”

Detectives in Westminster issued an appeal this week for information about the theft of a Piaggio scooter. The scooter was stolen after the owner left it parked in Shouldham Street, Marylebone on February 9.

Police said CCTV caught the moment two scooters, one with a pillion passenger pulled up next to the scooter, and one of the drivers cut the locks of the vehicle with a portable cutter.

A Westminster Council spokesman said: “We are aware of this issue and are working in partnership with the Metropolitan Police to share intelligence and to raise awareness. We would advise the public to be vigilant.”

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