AS ALICE ROBERTS was playing tennis in Clissold Park, above, one chilly afternoon this week, three youths on hire bicycles caught her eye.
Something about them looked wrong and she heard a man shout: “You don’t want my crappy Nokia!”
The guy was correct about that: the teenagers cycled off and a few minutes later she saw them try to mug another adult.
Roberts told Loving Dalston: “He must have phoned the police because not long after a man later got out of a car parked by the Stoke Newington N16 9HJ courts and said to me, ‘I’m a plainclothes police officer. Can I borrow your bike?’
“Yeah, sure,” she replied, “and off he took. He looked genuine. — I wasn’t suspicious that he just wanted my bike,” she said with a chuckle. “It was a cheap Trek.”
Then two other officers came along on bicycles.
The bike borrower caught up with all the youths and identified himself as a police officer, grappled with one youth, before restraining him, then radioed colleagues about which direction the other teenagers were running. They were soon stopped.
The officer, who did not want to give his name to Loving Dalston, preferring to credit the Met’s Robbery Task Force, said: “No weapons were involved. However the suspects wanted the victim’s phone — there was a fear of violence.”
Had there been, the teenagers would not have fared well because in the event six plainclothes officers from RTF and four from Safer Transport were on the case.
Three young males have been bailed on condition not to enter the park.
Roberts said: “Eventually — it was quite a while — my bike was brought back.” The Clapton resident wants readers to know also that she won her Hackney City Tennis Club match 6-1, 6-1. Wimbledon must be next for her.
A police spokesman said: “We hope the angle of the story would reflect the great strives we are making to reduce robbery and theft-snatch offences with the creation of a dedicated unit of experienced cops, and how grateful we are that residents are so supportive of police.
“The police are the public and the public are the police personified.”
Got that? Thought not: it might have been simpler had he just praised the ride-on Stoke Newington attitude.
David Altheer 070220
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