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Cyclist fights off moped gang bike thieves armed with angle grinder

"I thought I was in danger": The 70-year-old managed to keep hold of his £2,500 Brompton while surrounded by "angle grinder-wielding rustlers"...

A London cyclist, confronted by four blacked-out bike thieves armed with an angle grinder who attempted to steal his Brompton outside a cafe in broad daylight, has told of how "depressing" the brazen attack was, advising others who are targeted to "make lots of noise and take loads of pictures".

Ben Derbyshire, an architect who is the former president of the Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA), told the Evening Standard he had been left "shaken" by the incident, which happened on Friday morning as he ate with his son and daughter at El Ganso cafe in Hackney.

Mr Derbyshire reported hearing "commotion down the street" as the two moped riders, each with a passenger on the back, came along "making a racket, revving and basically being as intimidating as possible".

They were all dressed in black and used an angle grinder to begin cutting through the D-lock on his daughter's bike in an attempt to get at his £2,500 Brompton, also locked to the rack outside the cafe.

Having run out to confront the gang, Mr Derbyshire quickly felt "in danger", ending up "rather pinned into position with a lot of bikes in front of me and people behind", meaning he "wasn't in a position to run away" if necessary.

Holding on to his bike, one of the thieves threatened him with the angle grinder, raising it towards his face, before the cafe's owner and Mr Derbyshire's son ran out to help as passers by filmed the incident.

Angle grinder bike thieves (Ben Derbyshire/Twitter)
Angle grinder bike thieves (Ben Derbyshire/Twitter)

"I think what happened was, from their point of view, it all got a bit too complicated so they chickened out," he said. "The proprietor of the restaurant came out immediately and was very supportive and very concerned and took our bikes in afterwards so we could finish our meals.

"I just think that's depressing and that they should be so aggressive about it. I mean, trying to intimidate me by, by pushing an angle, grinder into my face. That is not on."

Metropolitan Police attended the scene quickly, the cyclist reported, confirming that he was uninjured and able to cycle home. The police said there have not been any arrests, with witnesses who are yet to give information asked to call 101, ref 2586/12may.

Thieves wielding angle grinders and cutting through locks is far from a new problem, with footage of similar incidents sadly becoming all too common in UK cities. Last June, Labour MP Helen Hayes' bike was saved by a local councillor and staff working at a nearby restaurant after they spotted a thief cutting through the lock.

Thief attempts to steal MP's bike (credit - Margy Newens)

Just months earlier, a masked gang appeared unfazed by large crowds watching outside Surrey Quays shopping centre as they stole a Trek e-bike.

> Thieves use angle grinder to steal Trek bike locked outside busy shopping centre 

In February, thieves stole a cargo bike parked next to a bikehangar in East Dulwich, a member of the council replying to a social media post about the issue to report he had suffered two electric cargo bikes stolen within the last year.

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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