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Two arrested as plainclothes police rush to aid of woman being mugged for bike at knifepoint

Officers had been investigating another attempted robbery in Walthamstow Marshes when they intervened

Plainclothes police officers have made two arrests after coming to the help of a woman who was targeted by muggers at knifepoint in east London as they attempted to steal her bike.

The incident happened on Hackney Marshes on Saturday as the woman was cycling home to Hackney from Walthamstow where she had been visiting friends, one of whom wrote an account of what had happened that was posted on Twitter by user Walthamstow Marshes & E17 Wetlands.

The post said: “Be careful on Hackney Marshes! Yesterday a friend visited us in Walthamstow and rode back to Hackney across the marshes at 4pm. Three young men on bikes, one brandishing a large kitchen knife, caught up with her and pushed her off her bike.

“As she lay on the ground, trying to hold onto the bike, two plain clothes policemen appeared out of nowhere and arrested two of the attackers, including the one with the knife.

“My friend is naturally quite shaken by the incident but thankfully she's unharmed and didn't lose her bike. Good to see that police are taking action. They were in the area following an earlier attempted attack.”

In its tweet, Walthamstow Marsh & E17 Wetlands said that they “appreciate the targeted approach keeping us safe along Coppermill [Lane] and the Marshes.”

The tweet was copied to Waltham Forest Labour councillor Sebastian Salek, who said: “Thanks for sharing. Glad to see the police taking successful action.”

Walthamstow Marshes is bordered to the west by the River Lea, which has a towpath that is popular with cyclists running alongside it, and there is another cycle route on the eastern side of the marshes.

The routes provide connections to Tottenham or Walthamstow to the north, and to Hackney Marshes and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the south but given their relative isolation have regularly seen cyclists targeted by muggers for their bikes.

 We have reported on a number of such incidents in the area over the years on, but despite regular action by the police the problem persists.

In April 2015, three men were arrested by police investigating a number of bike-jackings in the area, one of those robberies happening at knifepoint.

> Three arrested after gang attacks on cyclists in North London

In 2017, a cyclist riding home from work to Walthamstow was mugged on the River Lea towpath and said afterwards that he subsequently decided to take a longer route home because he considered the path along the river too dangerous to use.

> East London towpath cycle route becoming a no-go zone for bike riders says victim of masked muggers

And in August that year, police issued an appeal for information after four people were mugged for their bikes in as many days while riding along the River Lea.

> Met Police seek information after spate of brutal towpath attacks

Detective Inspector Paul Ridley of Hackney CID said at the time: “The brutality the robbers have used is very concerning, holding a knife to the throat of one of the terrified victims and subjecting others to violent attacks.

“The robbers appear to be targeting canal path users which provides rapid access and escape routes, particularly when using a cycle.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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