Scooter-driving gangs armed with machetes and other weapons are plaguing upmarket parts of London, launching violent attacks on an indiscriminate basis.
One area which has seen a rise in these terrifying criminal incidents is yards from the $23,000 a year school which the third in line to the British throne, Prince George, will attend from September when he will be four years old.
Residents of Battersea, southwest London, have reported seeing men in balaclavas wielding weapons near the exclusive Thomas’s School, sometimes in daylight hours.
One resident too scared to be identified told the Times of London: “There are break-ins every night, residents are being terrorized every other day either by bikes riding on pavements or at people. When police are called, their response is ‘there’s nothing we can do’.”
The hoodlums are believed to live locally. They dress in black and often remove their helmets, taking advantage of a loophole in UK policing policy which says officers will not give chase to anyone on a scooter because of concerns the rider might fall and suffer injury or death. This could potentially lead to a lengthy court case against the police.
The Times stated that business website LondonLovesBusiness.com has recorded CCTV footage of one recent incident in which thieves on a scooter tried to kick someone off their bicycle before breaking into a car outside the school on Battersea High Street.
In other incidents, the thugs have targeted those sitting outside cafes and restaurants, intimidating them with weapons before fleeing with whatever they can take.
Inspector Guy Osborne, of the Battersea Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said that Wandsworth police were “very aware” of scooter crime and called the issue “a borough priority”. He said that incidents involving weapons had not been reported to the police.