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Video: Pimlico Plumbers appeal to catch cycling ‘criminal’ – but get accused of faking footage

Footage allegedly shows Santander Cycle user kicking founder Charlie Mullins' Bentley, but some believe the incident was staged...

Pimlico Plumbers has posted a video to Twitter calling for help in tracking down a cycling “criminal” who allegedly kicked out at a wing mirror on the company founder’s Bentley – but a number of users of the social media network have called out the footage as fake, with one accusing the firm of staging a “false flag” attack to whip up resentment against bike riders.

The tweet links to a blog post published on the company’s website on Friday, the Lambeth-based company said: “We are appealing for assistance in tracking down a criminal who attacked the private property of Pimlico’s Founder, Charlie Mullins, at 9:12am yesterday, Thursday 20th August.

“As can be seen in the footage below, the thug came round the corner before deliberately crossing over to the wrong side of the road. He coasted closely past Charlie’s Bentley which was parked directly outside our HQ on Sail Street, ignoring the 1 metre rule. The man then clearly raised his foot and attacked the wing mirror, causing significant damage.

“We are on the lookout for this person, and have already reported this unacceptable legal breach to the police. We have a zero tolerance policy for attacks on private property at Pimlico and are not taking this matter lightly.

“If anyone recognises this man, please contact Pimlico’s Head of Security, Steve Walker, by calling 0207 928 8888,” it added.

“Alternatively please contact the police and quote the crime reference no. 1222248/20.”

However, many Twitter users – including Mike van Erp, also known as Cycling Mikey, who earlier this month filmed one of the company’s drivers using a mobile phone at the wheel – suggested that the incident may have been staged, raising a number of concerns about the footage.

Apparently shot on three separate CCTV cameras, the footage – some of which has been slowed down, presumably for dramatic effect – shows a helmeted cyclist apparently kicking out at the Bentley as he passes it.

While, predictably, the Twitter post has attracted the usual anti-cyclist comments, many have questioned the veracity of the footage, with van Erp suggesting it may have been a publicity stunt by the firm.

Others pointed out that the wing mirror itself appeared undamaged after the cyclist had passed, while the lack of reaction from the man shown crossing the road in the video has also raised concerns about the veracity of the footage.

The way the vehicle was parked also sparked suspicions, as did the fact the cyclist is wearing a helmet – not unknown among users of Santander Cycles, but rare enough to raise doubts.

Another Twitter user suggested that the video had been staged to stoke up anti-cycling sentiment in response to the footage van Erp had captured of the company’s driver three weeks ago.

Finally, this Twitter user expressed surprised that there were no images of the damaged wing mirror itself.

Cycling Mikey’s footage of the Pimlico Plumbers driver using his phone while in his vehicle, by the way, was filmed just days after the company toned down a blog post written by its PR team, but purporting to come from Mullins himself, which spoke of “cycle fascists” together with a mocked up TfL image that accused cyclists of “taking f**king liberties.”

We have approached Pimlico Plumbers for their response to the concerns raised about the video.

Simon joined 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.

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