Vigilantes aim to tackle motorcycle crime
Vigilante groups appear to be forming in London to combat the recent rise in motorcycle crimes, with ads being posted on social media and handed out to motorcyclists in the capital.
A printed advert appeared on the notice board at the Ace Cafe stating: "Had your bike stolen recently? Want to catch these f*ckers? Sort ‘em? Come Tmax hunting with Jack Th’ Lad". The advert didn't stay there for long, with the Ace Cafe telling the Huffington Post UK it's "not something we support".
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A blog post on Biker and Bike also noted the advert had been handed out to visitors at the cafe. Biker and Bike also state they have been approached directly by motorcyclists offering to form vigilante groups.
Despite the introduction of Operation Venice in April 2015, 11,389 crimes involving moped were committed in London last year, and the Metropolitan Police estimate the value of theft in 2014 at £28 million.
Superintendent Mark Payne of Operation Venice, a police team set-up to target moped-assisted crime, told Huffpost UK: "The Met does not support activities by individuals or groups who target suspected criminals."
He added: "This type of action could jeopardise or interfere with ongoing investigations, and our advice to anyone who has information about a suspect or witnesses a crime is to contact police as soon as possible so it can be investigated and, where possible, bring people to justice."
It's unknown how many people have responded to the advert, although there have so far been no reports of any vigilante attacks. Speaking to MCN, Met Police spokesperson Mark Ottowell had this advice for those who witness a motorcycle theft: "If the public see any suspicious activity of have any information about who is committing these crimes please call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. All crime reports made by members of the public are passed on to the Operation Venice officers who will seek out offenders, based on information provided.
"Information is key and members of the public are urged to pass on any information they may have around suspicious activity around mopeds and stolen phones to police, but would also urge that members of the public do not put themselves in danger."
In December 2016 members of the public who tried to intervene during the attempted robbery of a Ducati Panigale 1199S were threatened with an angle grinder and hammer.
MCN has contacted the poster of the advert and is awaiting comment.