Police are appealing to Hackney’s boating community for information about a string of armed robberies on a canal towpath.
Six people were attacked last week by knife-wielding thugs near the Lea Valley Marina. Scotland Yard said the robbers appear to be targeting cyclists.
A 31-year-old man was approached last Tuesday night by four men on mountain bikes with their faces covered by scarves and hoods. The men repeatedly punched the victim in the face, threatened to stab him and demanded his bank card and PIN number. They stole his phone and wallet.
Minutes later, a 39-year-old man was set upon by a group of men as he rode his bicycle near the river path. The suspects knocked him to the ground before punching and kicking him and fleeing the scene with his bank card, watch, and house keys.
The following night three men in their early 20s were walking near the Springfield Marina when they were assaulted by a group of men and had their banks cards and phones stolen. One of the victims had a large kitchen knife held to his throat.
The last offence occurred on Friday night as the victim was cycling close to the Crescent Rowing Club. A group of masked men chased him but fled empty-handed.
The suspects have been described as black and between the ages of 18 and 23.
Detective Inspector Paul Ridley urged residents near the canal towpath to “remain vigilant” and officers are now appealing to locals in the River Lea area for information about the attacks.
“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,” Ridley added.
“The robbers appear to be targeting canal path users which provides rapid access and escape routes, particularly when using a cycle.”
“If you have been the victim at the hands of these men and have not already informed us, please come forward. I would also like to appeal to the boating community in the area to inform my investigation team if they have any information.
“I would like to reassure residents that patrols have been stepped up and officers are on alert.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Hackney CID via 101 or via Twitter @MetCC quoting operation name ‘Glanford’.