Gang of 16 rob Finsbury Park gym users after threatening to stab them
PUBLISHED: 15:58 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:02 18 September 2019
A gang of thugs robbed burly gym-goers walking through Finsbury Park - threatening to stab them if they didn't hand over their phones.
Six of the "biggest athletes" from the sports academy were walking home together at 8.20pm on Monday when they were accosted by a group of about 16 males near the Stroud Green Road gate.
Firms from the Finsbury Park Sports Partnership, which use the park for training, are now calling on the authorities to install better lighting near the Seven Sisters Road gate and to beef up the police presence in the park to keep people safe.
Dynamic Sports Academy coach Adrian Klemens said: "They were being tailed by one of them on a bike. Then there were 16 of them. They circled them and picked one off to the side and said: 'Give me your phone or I will stab you - put in your Apple Pay password.'
"Out of our group three were white and three were black and they said to the black guys: 'You're good,' and just attacked the white guys."
Adrian said the victim they took to the side kept putting his password in wrong because it was his mum's account, prompting one assailant to tell him: 'If you get this wrong again you're dead.'
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The trainer said his client "grabbed his phone and ran". Two others had their phones stolen. The victims are aged 17 to 22.
Adrian added: "The kid who ran over off said he's scared to come now - they threatened to stab him. It seems like they've been scouting for a while now so who knows if a gang of 16 guys wants to come out to the stadium when we are training - it's very scary.
"We need a physical presence in the park. I've been running that sports academy for 13 years and I've never seen police."
There have been no arrests but police are investigating.
Ruth Miller of London Heathside, which runs athletics classes for youngsters at the Finsbury Park track, added: "I take kids out for a run and I don't get an impression of any park police or security. We need a presence. This is worrying, awful."
aringey Council employed two park rangers in April in an effort to drive out criminals, though their enforcement powers are limited.
A tri borough policing operation between Islington, Haringey and Hackney - all of which share territory in the park - is meeting monthly but last month Insp Thomas Ashley, who runs Islington's Safer Neighbourhoods teams, said work needed to be done around joint patrols and dispersal orders.
On Christmas Eve in 2017, Iuliana Tudos, 22, was murdered by Kasim Lewis while walking home through the park.