Boy, 14, charged over seven moped robberies

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A 14-year-old boy has been charged in connection with seven moped robberies in London.

The teenager, from Tottenham, is accused of having been a pillion passenger on a moped during a number of alleged robberies in north London within an hour on Thursday.

The rider of the moped escaped but the teenager was taken into custody.

Some 13 mobile phones were found in his possession, nine of which have already been returned to owners, Scotland Yard said.

The boy will appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Saturday facing seven robbery charges.

The news comes as Prime Minister Theresa May told reporters that she intended to give police greater protection against prosecution when chasing suspects if those suspects are hurt as a result of the pursuit.

Theresa May told reporters that she was confident that police “had the powers they needed to be able to chase moped-riding criminals”.

Mrs May said: “This issue of moped crime is one that is of concern for people.”

She said former home secretary Amber Rudd had spoken with police to ensure they had the powers needed to chase moped-riding criminals.

“They are able to pursue them and able to take the action we agree that they want to take,” Mrs May said.

Met Police release compile of scooter chases 0:35
Video: Caught on camera: Police chase suspects on mopeds

On Monday, two men riding a moped robbed comedian Michael McIntyre whilst he was waiting in his car outside his son’s school in north London.

Just a day later, a gang targeted a luxury watch store, Watches of Switzerland, in central London. Several thieves, armed with hammers and knives, rode scooters into the shop’s entrance before making away with a haul of expensive items. One man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of burglary.

The Metropolitan Police says that the introduction of a specialist moped crime unit, Operation Venice, earlier this year has helped reduce the incidence of moped-enabled crime in the capital.

The unit is mounted on slimmer-framed, more manoeuvrable motorbikes that are easier to navigate along narrow streets.

Officers also carry a DNA spray that can be used to tag, and then trace, escaping suspects.

But some legitimate motorbike users feel that the roads, especially in London, are not safe.

There were more than 22,000 moped-enabled crimes in London last year – more than double the number of the previous year.

Shane McDonald, a motorbike enthusiast, founded the Biker Biker group to raise awareness about criminals who steal motorbikes and mopeds, and then go onto to use them to commit crime.

His group of volunteer riders performs regular bike patrols in high-risk areas of London.

“What we’re doing is going on patrol in areas which are prolific with motorcycle theft,” Mr McDonald told Sky News.

“If we see anyone stealing a bike, or using a bike to commit a crime, what we’ll do is we’ll follow them.

“We then try and make as much noise as possible and let them know that they are being followed.”

The Metropolitan Police told Sky News it doesn’t support “activities by individuals or groups who target suspected criminals”.

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But Mr McDonald says his group is a deterrent in areas where he felt there was a lack of visible police presence.

“The young kids [that steal mopeds]are so brazen, and the police, well, they just seem over-stretched.”

From – SkyNews

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