West Midlands Police have told cyclists to be vigilant when riding on towpaths after a cyclist was pushed into a canal in Wolverhampton by a gang who stole their bike, and say it is the latest in a series of similar incidents in the area.
In response, officers have now increased their patrols on towpaths in the Black Country city and are urging people to report suspicious behaviour, says Birmingham Live.
In a message sent to users of the force’s online alert system, PCSO Shaun Evans said: “It is with regret that we must make you all aware of consecutive incidents of robbery that have been perpetrated by opportunist criminals on and around our local canal network and canal paths.
“One incident which has occurred involved the victim being pushed into the canal and then having their bicycle stolen by their antagonists.
“Subsequent similar incidents have been reported to have occurred in the Mammoth Drive, Science Park, vicinity of the city, with a similar crime being perpetrated in the Wednesfield area.
“A similar crime has also been reported to us which occurred on the Marsh Lane canal path.
“Whilst we are all keen to return to some degree of normality following the easing of lockdown restrictions, with our stepping out to enjoy local green spaces and our local network of canals, we would encourage you all to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
“Please be assured that the team are currently giving the local canal network and canal paths their best attention by conducting high visibility patrols,” PCSO Evans added.
“If you have any concerns, or if you observe any suspicious activity then please do not hesitate to contact us at your earliest convenience.”
Anyone who has information concerning the incidents is requested to contact officers via Live Chat at www.west-midlands.police.uk or call the non-emergency number 101.
Last month we reported who elsewhere in the area policed by the force, a gang of between eight and ten teenage boys had targeted women riding on a path alongside a canal there.
After cyclist Sophie Watson tweeted about being pushed into the Worcester and Birmingham Canal by the group, she heard from a number of other woman who had suffered similar experiences and said she believed there were at least five other attacks that night.
She also said that when she got back on her bike after getting out of the canal, “I cycled a little further along towards town and two men were helping another woman that had also been pushed in.
“The group of 8-10 teenage boys had gone past a couple of men between us, but had only pushed us women in,” added Ms Watson, who sustained bruising as a result of the attack.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said at the time: “Officers in the neighbourhood teams will be linking in with partnership agencies including Canal Watch to offer support and reassurance to those using the city’s canal networks.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.