The Metropolitan Police Service has stepped up patrols in Richmond Park following a spate of thefts of bikes by muggers on mopeds, with two victims threatened with machetes as their bikes were stolen, with one victim saying he thought he would be “decapitated in the street.”
The most recent incident happened next to a school just outside the park’s Roehampton Gate on Monday afternoon, with the cyclist who was robbed of his bike saying he feared he would be decapitated as one of the thieves brandished a machete.
The first robbery happened at around 7pm last Wednesday, 6 October, 19:00hrs on Wednesday, 6 October, with the victim, a man in his 20s, sustaining minor injuries when he was pushed from his bike on Sawyers Hill by two men on electric scooters.
The following day, Thursday 7 October, Alpecin-Fenix professional cyclist Alexandar Richardson was threatened with a machete as he was robbed of his bike by four men on two mopeds.
In Monday’s incident, which happened at around the victim was 37-year-old Mike Radville from Lewisham, who told Mail Online that he thought he was going to be “decapitated in the street.”
He said: “They then pulled up alongside me and one of them showed me a machete – he only pulled it out slightly but showed it to me.
“At that moment I change gear and go for it, trying to get away as fast as I can. Then he pulls it out completely and it looked like he was going to go for me.
“I went up onto the pavement to avoid them, but then I'm running out of pavement so I went back onto the road and that's when they rammed into me, just outside the school.
“The guy got off the moped and was still waving his machete about as he didn't want anyone to get near him. He picked up my bike and jumped onto the back of the moped with my bike over his shoulder.
“One minute I was cycling along, and the next minute I thought I was going to be decapitated in the street,” he added. “It was terrifying.”
Police said they are also investigating a report of a man in his 50s being pushed off his bike in Roehampton Lane at around the same time, with two men on a moped again involved.
Chief Superintendent Elisabeth Chapple, who is the officer responsible for local policing in south-west London, said: “Many people in the area would have seen these reports on social media and will understandably be concerned. I can reassure you that we are doing everything we can to track down those responsible for these terrible crimes.
“Everyone should be able to feel safe when using Richmond Park and that's why I have arranged for additional officers to be in the area over the comings days.
“They will work alongside our dedicated Royal Parks officers and I would encourage anyone with concerns to approach them, or to call 999 in an emergency,” she added.
Detective Inspector Gavin Collins, from Operation Venice, the Met's response to moped enabled crime, said: “These incidents would have been incredibly frightening for those involved and I would like to reassure the victims and the public that we are doing everything we can to track down these dangerous individuals.
“I would ask anyone who was in or around the park at the time of any of the incidents to check for any dashcam or cycle helmet footage. This could be key to helping us track down those responsible.”
To date, no arrests have been made in connection with any of the incidents.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.