London Assembly members at City Hall heard about a spate of shocking crimes which had been committed in Emerson Park, Havering. 

Residents had been “stripped naked and abducted and abandoned in fields”, assembly member Keith Prince said last week. 

He wanted to know what London mayor Sadiq Khan was going to do about this series of “aggressive burglaries and robberies”. 

“It is a real grave concern to the locals,” he said. “There’s some terrible abductions.” 

But this claim has now been denied by the Metropolitan Police.  

According to the East Area Borough Command Unit, no abductions have been reported and reports to the contrary “seem to be unfounded”. 

Yet hundreds of residents are attending public meetings under the impression that Emerson Park is experiencing a crimewave. 


A few weeks ago, said Mr Prince, he went to an Emerson Park and Ardleigh Green Residents’ Association meeting. 

“Normally a dozen people show up,” he said, but “there were virtually 100 people in the room.” 

"All these people turned up almost screaming and shouting about all these burglaries and car thefts,” said Mr Prince. 

Among the incidents highlighted was the alleged abduction of a couple, described by a man in the crowd.  

Emerson Park councillor Dave Godwin was also present and heard the man describe the alleged incident. 

“He said that they broke into a house, couldn’t find anything, so they took the people out and took their clothes off in fields and tied them to trees,” he recounted. 

He thought the story was odd even at the time. 

“We haven’t got any fields in Emerson Park,” said Cllr Godwin. 

Nonetheless, said Mr Prince, residents were highly concerned. 

“I said, ‘I’m your GLA member, so I’ll do what I can to help you’,” he told the Recorder. 

City Hall 

Mr Prince contacted local police and organised a community meeting. 

Then he tabled a question for Mr Khan at City Hall. 

Answering it on November 17, Mr Khan appeared to downplay the issue. 

“I have been in touch with the Met Police Service, who are aware that two burglaries took place in September and caused some alarm amongst residents,” said Mr Khan. 

“The police are aware of the concerns that you’ve raised and the distress it causes the victims... I will go away and speak to my team about what we can do to assist you in the public meeting.” 

When that meeting was held a few days later, said Cllr Godwin, “about 220 people turned up." 

The Data 

But have burglaries and car crimes really shot up in Emerson Park?  

According to crime data published by City Hall, the answer is no. 

In 2021, there were 16 domestic burglaries in Emerson Park. Between January and October this year, there were eight. 

Three of those were in May. Every other month saw one or zero. 

There were three non-domestic burglaries between January and October, compared to two in all of 2021. 

Thus far, 2022 has seen three robberies – the same figure as 2021. 

Vehicle thefts are slightly down – 29 between January and October 2022, compared to 40 in all of 2021. 

Theft from motor vehicles is slightly up, though, with 32 offences since January, compared to 27 in all of 2021. 

The Met 

There is also no evidence of any abductions, said the Met. 

That does not prove none have occurred, as the victims may have simply not reported them – but Cllr Godwin felt that was “unlikely”. 

He suspected the man who reported it had heard about an incident somewhere else and misunderstood. 

Last year, the Recorder reported how Havering dog owners had been left “petrified” by online claims of a surge in dog thefts, when in fact only one dog had been stolen in two months. 

Romford Recorder: Inspector Zed Asghar, from Havering's Safer Neighbourhoods team, said Emerson Park had seen nine burglaries in eleven monthsInspector Zed Asghar, from Havering's Safer Neighbourhoods team, said Emerson Park had seen nine burglaries in eleven months (Image: Met Police)

Inspector Zed Asghar, of Havering’s Safer Neighbourhood, said that by November 24, the number of Emerson Park burglaries had risen from eight to nine. 

Across the year, there had also been three attempted burglaries. 

“No violence has been used or intimated,” he added.  

“In most cases, residents were not aware of the crime taking place until sometime after the event. 

“Earlier this month, officers from Havering Joint Taskforce on two separate occasions identified suspects driving stolen vehicles from the area which resulted in police pursuing the vehicles. 

“On both occasions, suspects were arrested for aggravated vehicle taking and dangerous driving respectively.” 

For all the latest crime news, follow our East London Crime Watch page on Facebook.