A brazen thief, aiming to steal a bike belonging to a Labour MP in Herne Hill, fled the scene after being approached twice by staff working at a nearby restaurant.
Helen Hayes, the MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, had locked her bike to a rack outside the Peachy Goat restaurant, just over half a mile from the Herne Hill Velodrome, on Wednesday evening.
However, at around 8pm, a man was spotted trying to saw through the lock using a portable angle grinder, an increasingly common method for bike thieves.
A second man, wearing a hi-vis jacket, was also seen lurking in the area at the time of the attempted theft.
With sparks flying from the lock, Margy Newens – a Labour councillor for Dulwich Village – photographed the perpetrator, while a manager at Peachy Goat told Southwark News that members of staff twice approached the thief and stood outside to “give a bit of presence”, eventually causing him to flee without the MP’s bike.
With the lock almost fully broken, the restaurant’s staff then attempted to move the bike inside but couldn’t free it from the rack.
The morning after the incident, Labour MP Hayes tweeted: “This is someone trying to steal my bike with a power tool in Herne Hill yesterday evening.
“Grateful to Margey Newens for the photo and to staff at Peachy Goat who twice deterred him from finishing the task.
“Bike owners please be vigilant. Please do get in touch if you have any info.”
Newens also tweeted that the attempted theft marked “a slightly dramatic start to an evening out in Herne Hill… Sparks flying in broad daylight.”
The councillor also noted that she had learned two valuable lessons from the experience: “criminals don’t like being photographed in the act”, and “make sure you invest in a good bike lock”.
> Video: “That’s not their bike” – London bicycle thieves filmed using angle grinder
Bike thieves in London and beyond are increasingly equipping themselves with portable angle grinders, which nowadays can be small and relatively inexpensive, to cut through locks. And despite the blatantly obvious nature of this method, they often seem unbothered about carrying out their task in busy areas and in broad daylight.
For instance, a gang of mask-wearing thieves were filmed in March sawing through a bike lock on a busy Saturday afternoon in the centre of Greenwich, as drivers beeped their horns at them and passers-by commented on their actions.
> “Possible ID” on member of Surrey Quays angle-grinder bike theft gang passed on to police
In November last year we reported on another case in southeast London where a gang was filmed using an angle grinder to steal an e-bike outside a shopping centre.
That theft took place outside the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre in Rotherhithe, with the footage shot by road.cc reader Martin Pelant, who passed it onto police and, when he returned, the bike’s owner.
One of the thieves’ faces was clearly caught on camera, and the owner of the bike subsequently passed on a “possible ID” of one of the suspects to police.
> Thieves attempting to steal bike using angle grinder thwarted by passing locals
Like this week’s incident in Herne Hill, in February thieves attempting to steal a bike on Leith Walk in Edinburgh, once again by cutting the lock with an angle grinder, fled when they were challenged by passers-by.
After the thieves scarpered, the people who had thwarted them waited by the bike for an hour to safeguard it until its owner, a nurse, returned.
I'm entirely sorry for the pain and suffering of the victim. I would've put up one hell of a fight had it been my own souped up roller skate....
Yup, 1080p. Latest firmware too. Whilst I can see some difference there, that's likely down to screengrab software. Certainly it's not like my...
Dogma from 2013. Maybe these are like Porsches, all look the same but some are more classic than others?
Ah the old Bradley Terry model. An improvement to the Bradley Wiggins one. I'm not sure I really follow the methodology or if it is reliable.
He writes as if driving into someone isn't that bad as long as the result isn't serious injury. ...
Isn't that to show how rugged and manly the devices are though?
What about Miguel Indurain?
Wow! I dream of getting 6,000km out of a chain! My bike has only just cleared 5,000km...
Maybe we need to take a note out of the drivists playbook and label the lack of secure bike storage as discriminatory against the disabled
Well, I passed this lot yesterday and they seemed to be enjoying the ride... (apparently it was the national chopper convention or something!).