Police are going undercover as takeaway drivers to smash moped gangs

Police officers are going undercover by posing as takeaway delivery drivers in bid to smash the moped gangs terrorising London

  • Police are posing as delivery drivers following a 25-fold increase in moped crime 
  • Food delivery drivers are often victims of moped-gangs that a ravaging London
  • In July, an Uber Eats driver was attacked with acid in east London while on a job
  • On Tuesday a 14-year-old boy was charged with murder over the death of a 41-year-old thought to be working as a delivery driver

Metropolitan police officers are going undercover as takeaway drivers in a bid to catch gangs of moped-riders in the capital.

The number of moped-enabled crimes in London has increased more than 25-fold in the last five years, from fewer than 900 in 2012 to upwards of 23,000 in 2017. 

Police officers will not actually be delivering food to members of the public, but posing as drivers as part of a wide range of measures to tackle the surge in theft and violent crime which has seen delivery drivers targeted.

The scene of one of the attack in east London shows a police cordon and food delivery drivers who rushed to the aid of a victim who was attacked by a moped gang

Last July, an Uber Eats driver was attacked with acid in east London while on a job. 

Hundreds of drivers gathered outside parliament following the assault on Jabed Hussain, leading to an increased police operation tacking moped gangs and protecting drivers.

This week, one of Britain’s most beloved stars Michael McIntyre was attacked by a man on a moped.  

The comedian, 42, who is worth £38million, was waiting outside a school in north London when a gang of masked moped riders armed with hammers smashed the driver’s window of his £120,000 Range Rover and ripped the £15,000 Rolex from his wrist in front of his terrified son.

Just last night, a 14-year-old boy was charged in connection with seven moped robberies in north London.

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The teenager, who was thought to be a pillion passenger on a moped, was found with 13 mobile phones in his possession.     

It is thought some delivery drivers are refusing to work in some parts of London for fear of their own safety. 

On Tuesday, another 14-year-old boy was charged with murder over the death of a Mark Fontaine, who was thought to be working as a delivery driver. 

Mr Fonataine was fatally stabbed in upper-class Kensington, west London on May 30.

On Friday, two teenagers were arrested on suspicion of a robbery on an attack that left a 24-year-old woman in critical condition.

A 17-year-old and an 18-year-old were arrested after the woman was punched as two men on a moped stole her phone and bag.

Jabed Hussain, 32, said he was on his way home in East London when the moped rider pulled up next to him at the traffic lights and doused him with acid

Since the attack on Mr Hussian last year, moped-enabled crime has fallen by 55 percent in the capital.

The crimes peaked in July 2017, when there were 2,593 in a month, more than 80 a day.  

May 2018 saw the lowest number of moped crimes in the capital in 18-months. The Met recorded 1,154 crimes of the type, meaning there are still hundreds of attacks every week. 

Food delivery companies have also seen a fall in attacks on their drivers, but say many still see fear an intimidation in London as a daily issue.

They’ve also seen attacks on parts of Birmingham where there have been more than 80 moped-enabled crimes have been committed. 

Both Uber Eats and Deliveroo are coordinating with the Home Office and Met Police to help tackle moped gangs. 

Deliveroo has even hired 50 staff dedicated to improving rider safety.

Drivers have also been asked to be vigilant in protecting their mopeds.

Last year, more than 15,000 scooters and motorbikes were stolen in the city, accounting for about half of all vehicle crime.

A Met spokesperson was unable to confirm if the existence of such an operation as they cannot discuss covert policing methods or tactics.

‘We are using a range of tactics, both overt and covert, and every borough is mobilised to tackle offenders using local knowledge to tailor the policing required for their area, which may include automatic number plate reader deployments, conducting proactive investigations and operations which focus on high-volume offenders, and DNA capture’ they told the Guardian.   

The policing minister, Nick Hurd, said: ‘The Metropolitan police is working hard to tackle moped crime, which has been falling virtually month on month in the capital since its peak in July last year.

‘We are determined to support the police in their fight against crime and that is why we are consulting to change the law to give officers greater confidence to chase suspects on the roads.’ 

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