Police have been slammed for failing to take an armed bike-jacking seriously after it emerged they treated it as ordinary vehicle theft.
MCN recently revealed how a reader was forced to watch as five balaclava-wearing thugs stole his bike from a busy London street after one of them produced what he took to be a gun.
Despite the apparent seriousness of the offence, the victim was not interviewed by police and days later received a letter saying there was not enough evidence to investigate.
Now a force spokeswoman has said it was treated as a straightforward vehicle theft because the victim only saw what "resembled" a gun.
She said: "It wasn't an armed robbery. It was motor vehicle crime. He thought he saw something that resembled a weapon but he wasn't entirely sure, so it doesn't get registered as an armed robbery but as a theft of motor vehicle.”
She later said that, following MCN’s enquiry, “The robbery squad will be in touch with the victim within the next few days.”
Former Met officer and biker Peter Durham branded the police response “wholly inadequate”. He said: “This was a serious and pre-planned robbery. There is an obligation on police to investigate this type of crime.”
The thieves struck in September in the few minutes a KTM 625 SXC was left parked and chained to a railing in Greenwich, south London.
The owner, who asked not to be identified, returned to find the thieves cutting the chain but was forced to stand back when one of them shouted threats and lifted his jacket to reveal what looked like the handle of a gun poking out of the top of his trousers.
Read more in MCN, on sale today.