Four more offences have been identified in a string of knife-point robberies along the River Lea.
Hackney Police said eight incidents have occurred since last week, with four of the attacks taking place in under an hour.
The areas around the river are popular places for locals to walk and cycle.
Paul Harris, 45, who keeps his boat at the Springfield Marina, said he’s not confident police will be able to prevent attacks without the suspects being caught. “I’m down here every weekend, it’s not good. Police have stepped up their presence but these things happen so quickly.”
Another resident , who did not want to be named, said she felt unsafe cycling alone: “I feel really vulnerable. What am I meant to do if a group of men approach me?”
Detective Inspector Paul Ridley said the suspects often “use unnecessary threats and violence” and “attack victims after they had handed over property.”
On Thursday night a 32-year-old man had his mountain bike stolen after a group of men knocked him from his bike and pulled him into the undergrowth along the River Lea canal towpath to demand his property.
Minutes later a 30-year-old man was assaulted just before crossing the bridge over the river towards Spring Hill, Clapton. The victim escaped and hid in an undergrowth to avoid his attackers. They made off with his iPhone, debit card and wallet.
He described the suspects as a group of black male teenagers, all were wearing balaclavas.
Around midnight on Friday, a man and woman in their twenties were robbed by Yarmouth Crescent in Tottenham. Police nearby heard the victims’ screams and ran to investigate. The attackers had fled and were cycling away towards Hackney.
The final offence occurred on Saturday when a 28-year old man was targeted by the suspects whilst he was walking along the canal towpath by Craven Walk in Clapton. The victim told the robbers he did not have anything to steal and the men then fled empty-handed.
“There have been increased patrols in the affected boroughs and activity has taken place to reassure the community, including warning local residents, many who have boats moored on the river. Officers in the affected boroughs have been briefed and will immediately respond to information received,” Ridley added.
“I cannot discount that there may be other victims who have yet to contact police – I would urge them to come forward and provide us with any information they have; this may prove vital to our investigation.”
One of the suspects is described as a white male in his late twenties at 5ft 10in tall with a stocky build, others were described as black male teenagers.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Hackney CID via 101 or via Twitter @MetCC quoting operation name ‘Glanford’.