A cyclist in Ashford, Kent, has spoken of how he was forced to sprint away from knife-wielding muggers whom he believes wanted to steal his bike.
The victim of the attempted robbery, Oliver Hamilton, aged 19, told Kent Online that he was cycling through Victoria Park when he saw two men ahead of him close to Gasworks Lane last Monday.
Each had a glass bottle, and one of them threw the one he had been holding to the ground, smashing it, in what Mr Hamilton believes was an attempt to make him puncture.
He was able to avoid the broken glass, but found a third man in his way close to the junction with Sackville Terrace.
Mr Hamilton, who works as a gardener, said: “Maybe 20 metres away there was another man and he started running at me.
“As he got closer he pulled a knife out of his pocket and started sprinting at me so I just pedalled as fast as I could around him.
“I don't doubt they would have taken my bike, my bag and my wallet if they had the chance.”
He is warning others who ride through the park or go there on foot to take care.
“I always cycle that way and I don't really think much of it but when that happened it shook me up a little bit,” he said.
“I know kids cycle that way on their way home from school, and mums with small kids walk by, and it was around school finish time so I want people to be careful.
“I got super lucky because I was able to get away but I'm worried there won't be people as lucky as me next time,” he added.
“Even if I could stop one or two people from going down there, I’ll be happy.”
Kent Police have asked anyone who has information about the incident to contact them on 01843 222289, quoting reference 46/243629/21 or to call the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
During the past couple of months we have reported on a number of robberies and thefts of bikes across the country, often happening in daylight hours and with witnesses present.
In October, the Metropolitan Police arrested a youth following a string of bikejackings by robbers on mopeds in Richmond Park, southwest London, in some cases threatening the victims with machetes.
Meanwhile, in Birmingham, West Midlands Police have increased their patrols on canals in the city following a number of cases of cyclists being mugged for their bikes as they rode on towpaths.
We reported on two particularly brazen bike thefts earlier this month, one in south London, the other in Edinburgh.
The former saw thieves at Surrey Quays shopping centre in Rotherhithe use an angle grinder to cut through a lock to steal an e-bike, with a bystander who filmed the theft sharing footage with the bike’s owner and the police to try and help them track down the gang.
And a fortnight ago, footage shot from a house in Edinburgh showed thieves jumping over a fence to make their getaway after breaking into a bike storage unit and making off with two bicycles after cutting the locks.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.