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Archway suffers series of violent muggings – as neighbours bemoan police cuts

PUBLISHED: 13:43 22 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:39 22 February 2018

'Beware of thieves': A warning sign in Navigator Square, Archway, which has since been removed. Picture: submitted to Islington Gazette

'Beware of thieves': A warning sign in Navigator Square, Archway, which has since been removed. Picture: submitted to Islington Gazette

Archant

A masked gang has hit Archway with a series of terrifying muggings.

The muggings have been centred around Archway Tube station. Picture: Ian Wright/Flickr/Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 2.0The muggings have been centred around Archway Tube station. Picture: Ian Wright/Flickr/Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Neighbours this week said government cuts to the Met budget have caused the “awful” spate of violent robberies in the past couple of weeks.

The gang is said to be centred around Archway station. Neighbourhood officers think they know who the culprits are, but say it’s hard to identify them as they wear balaclavas.

On Sunday night, it was reported a gang of four hooded youths were surrounding a male in Pauntley Street. They are said to have run away when a have-a-go-hero ran to help the victim.

But at about 7.30pm on Monday night, another victim was not so lucky. He was mugged by about six males in Despard Road. They are said to have been wearing balaclavas, punched him repeatedly in the face and threatened to put him in the boot of their car.

And at 5.30pm on Tuesday, a boy was mugged at knifepoint in Hornsey Lane. He was on his way home from school.

Junction ward police officers held a “cuppa with a coppa” – genuinely spelt “coppa” – discussion forum in Archway’s Starbucks branch yesterday afternoon.

One mum said: “It started with the phone muggings on mopeds, and laptop snatches from cafés. But in the past two weeks there has been actual violence. It’s really scary at the moment.”

The officers told the Gazette: “There are a set few who we think are doing these crimes, but it’s hard to identify them as they are covering up with balaclavas, hoodies and wearing dark clothes.

“Robberies are happening all over Islington, but Archway is the highest hit at the moment. It’s also going across the border into Highgate and Haringey.

Archway: 'It's really scary at the moment'. Picture: David Howard/Flickr/CC BY 2.0Archway: 'It's really scary at the moment'. Picture: David Howard/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

“What we are saying to people, to help prevent this, is not advertising what they have in their possession – like phones.

“And they are spotting people leaving Archway Tube and following them into the quieter roads. Even if it makes your journey longer, stick to the main roads for as long as possible, where there are more people.”

The latest crime stats for Junction – the ward where Archway station lies – show there were 27 robberies in December last year. Only Finsbury Park, with 32, had a higher number of robberies. The third highest number was 13 in St Peter’s ward.

Another woman, who has lived in Archway for five years, said: “It’s a gang of older teens. They seem quite brazen and clearly know there is not any police out there.

“It’s frightening. I’ve got a handheld alarm that I’m ready to use when I get out of Archway station or off the bus. My husband has offered to meet me at the station and I got a cab home on Monday night.

“I first became aware of this happening around Christmas time. I’ve never seen anything like it here. I don’t blame the police whatsoever – what can they do when they haven’t got the resources? We need bobbies on the beat.”

Since 2010, the Met’s budget has been cut by £600million and a further £400million of savings have to be found by 2021. It led to the closure of Holloway police station at the end of last year.

Hillrise ward Cllr Dave Poyser, who is also on the committee of the Whitehall Park Reisdents’ Association, said this morning: “Police cuts are seriously beginning to bite and it’s making our community insecure.

“It’s reassuring for us all, and a deterrent to criminals, to see police in uniforms patrolling the area. I just wish the police had more funds.”

Cllr Dave Poyser: 'Our area is suffering at the moment'. Picture: Islington CouncilCllr Dave Poyser: 'Our area is suffering at the moment'. Picture: Islington Council

Of the situation in Archway, which neighbours his Hillrise ward, Cllr Poyser added: “It’s awful. Our area is suffering at the moment.

“But Whitehall Park has an excellent sense of community and we’re going to work together and tackle this in any way we can.”

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