Police have appealed for witnesses after shocking footage emerged of a cyclist being assaulted by two masked men in broad daylight who attempted – and ultimately failed – to steal his bike after forcing him off the road with a SUV in what appears to be a targeted bikejacking attack.
The attempted robbery took place yesterday morning, at around 9.30am, in the small Worcestershire village of Hopwood, just south of Birmingham. According to West Mercia Police, the cyclist was followed by the occupants of a dark-coloured SUV for around four miles along the A441, from Wast Hills to Hopwood.
As footage captured by a camera belonging to a house on the Birmingham Road, and obtained by B31 Voices, shows, the cyclist eventually pulls into a driveway, where he is cornered by the thieves after the SUV’s driver slams on the brakes, bringing the car to a screeching halt.
The balaclava-sporting thieves then push the cyclist to the ground, with one shouting “give me your bike”, and attempt to wrestle the bike from him, amidst a cacophony of blaring car horns from startled onlookers.
However, with the cyclist managing to keep hold of his bike during the struggle, the thieves eventually flee as the homeowner, brandishing a shovel, and another motorist begin to rush to the cyclist’s aid. The driver of the SUV then speeds off, overtaking another car and accelerating towards oncoming traffic in the process.
West Mercia Police say the cyclist did not suffer any serious injuries in the attack.
Anyone with information about the attempted theft is asked to contact West Mercia Police on 101 quoting crime number ‘1031023’. Alternatively, witnesses can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
The shocking attack in Worcestershire is the latest in an increasingly long line of bikejacking attempts by thieves targeting cyclists on UK roads.
In August, a Kent cyclist raised the alarm about bikejackings in the area, sharing video footage of two moped-riding attackers forcing him off the road in a frightening incident on a busy road.
Peter Roper sent road.cc the video of the attempted bikejacking which happened on the A25 in Brasted, while he was riding his Trek e-bike. The cyclist said he saw a moped pass in the opposite direction, shortly before the rider and passenger pulled alongside to threaten him with a knife and push him off the road.
Fortunately, Peter was able to mount the pavement due to the dropped kerb, ending the attack.
In the most high-profile bikejacking incident in recent years, in autumn 2021 professional cyclist Alexandar Richardson was knocked off his bike, dragged for 100 metres by muggers on motorbikes, and threatened with a machete during a shocking attack in Richmond Park.
In April, a teenager, aged 15 when Richardson was attacked, was jailed for 12 months for the bikejacking.
Another professional cyclist, former Scottish champion Jennifer George, said last year that she no longer rides alone after she was similarly attacked by two people on a motorbike during a long ride from her home in southeast London out to Surrey.
Last summer, a member of Penge Cycling Club narrowly escaped a robbery attempt near West Wickham, around five miles west of Orpington, during which the rider was told he would be stabbed if he did not give up his 2022 Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7.
Another incident saw a Trek Domane SL6 and Wilier GTR forcefully taken by a group, described as “youths on mopeds” by one victim and “four males on mopeds” by the other.
Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK, said he believes criminals are attracted towards stealing high-end bikes because the potential money to be made from selling them on far outweighs the chances of getting caught.
“It is possibly perceived as a low-risk crime if the numbers of people being caught are so low,” he explained. “It may be seen as a high-reward, low-risk crime.
“Somebody has posted on Strava what they are doing on their ride. The criminals will know it is someone on a £3,000 to £4,000 carbon fibre bike who has unwittingly signposted the fact that they are likely to be heading out to Kent or the Surrey Hills. It is on the police’s radar.”
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.