Moped gangs cause havoc in Havering, leaving residents to call for action
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Moped gangs are terrorising the borough’s streets day and night, leaving frightened families to lock themselves away, too scared to walk outside their own front doors - but enough is enough.
For the past few months, fearful residents have been looking over their shoulders, with stories from friends and family of masked thugs robbing mopeds, causing havoc on the roads and stealing from pedestrians at the back of their minds.
The Recorder has spoken to just a few of those who have been affected by what has been happening.
After failing to mug an 18-year-old woman in the early hours of the morning in Hornchurch on June 26, a youth driven moped ploughed into her before speeding off - luckily, she only suffered some bruising.
In another incident, four school children were robbed on June 29 outside KFC in Cherry Tree Lane, Rainham, after 6pm by around 10 people on mopeds, threatening them with knives.
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As well as these, residents have posted on the Recorder Facebook page as well as community groups of people being harassed while driving, having their belongings taken in areas including Harrow Lodge Park, Hornchurch, and speeding down residential roads.
Father-of-four Ben, 42, of Hornchurch, was heading home on his red moped last Thursday on Rainham Road, Rainham, just before 6pm, when suddenly he was surrounded by a gang of eight, all but one masked on five mopeds, riding alongside him, screaming abuse.
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At 60mph, Ben’s moped was being rammed from behind, the gang making u-turns in front of him and doing anything to get him off the road.
After some time trying to get away, Ben’s moped hit the pavement, leaving him cornered.
“They were all shouting for me to hand over my keys, threatening me and I just thought it wasn’t worth it because I was outnumbered, so I handed them over and they left”, he said.
“I was scared - I didn’t know what they were going to do but the adrenalin kicked in when they were trying to drive me off the road and I tried to get away.
“My children aren’t really young but they don’t want to go outside anymore, they’re too frightened.
“Action needs to be taken to get them off our streets.”
It has now also come to the Recorder’s attention that mopeds stolen by youths are being sold on various Instagram on accounts.
Ben’s moped was advertised on one of these accounts but was later found dumped in the middle of a road in Dagenham.
But the real question is: what is being done to tackle this crime increase?
A meeting with police has been organised to take place on July 15 at 2pm at the Elm Park Baptist Church, Ambleside Avenue, Elm Park, to discuss residents’ concerns and a Barking resident has set up a petition which has been signed by thousands, asking for police to be reinstated with powers to chase those on mopeds.
Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Dockerill, Romford MP Andrew Rosindell and Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas have either met or are planning to meet with police tri-borough commander Jason Gwillim to talk about their concerns.
Mr Rosindell said: “We must stamp out this gang culture which is encroaching from inner London as soon as possible.
“There is no place for it in Romford, Havering or anywhere else!”
Miss Dockerill and Mr Cruddas said they both have the intention of raising the issue in parliament.
He said: “Our streets belong to our communities and we demand the right to walk, drive or bike around them without the fear that currently pervades.
“I am resolute that together, with the police fully on our side, we can defeat these criminal gangs and will reclaim our streets.”