Gangs mug teens in Harpenden park
PUBLISHED: 12:20 02 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:20 02 November 2017
A Harpenden mum is warning about the dangers of gangs after a spate of muggings targeting young teenage boys
Claire Clarke, 44, told the Herts Ad how her 14-year-old son and his friends were in Rothamsted Park on Saturday, October 28, when they were approached by a group of older boys.
Her son, who attends Sir John Lawes School, handed over his orange Trek Marlin bike, which he had only been given two weeks before.
She said: “They approached the boys and my son and his friends rode away but then went back to the park.
“They were approached again by the gang who said ‘hand over your bikes’.
“One of his friends also had his mobile taken.
“They held a lighter to the boy’s face and asked for the password to his mobile phone.
“What we have found since we put it on Facebook is the amount of parents who have all said similar things happened.
“We want a message sent to these people saying we are going to put more CCTV out on the street because it’s not making Harpenden a very safe place.”
Claire, who lives in the Crabtree area, has been in touch with Harpenden MP Bim Afolami to talk about the problem with gangs in Harpenden.
She said: “[My son] is absolutely distraught and was in bits on Saturday night but in a way it’s a life lesson.
“We are really proud of the fact that he handed it over and he didn’t try to fight.
“We didn’t know what other weapons they would have had.
“Having a lighter to your face is bad enough.”
According to Herts Police, two thefts and an attempted theft took place in Harpenden over the weekend.
On Saturday, between 4pm and 5pm, an 11-year-old boy was approached in Rothamsted Park by two males who asked him if he had a mobile phone or money on him.
When he said no the suspects went away.
Claire’s son and his friends were then approached in the park at 5.50pm by a group of five males who took their bikes and the mobile phone.
On Sunday at 5pm, a 13-year-old boy was approached by two males in Station Road, who demanded he hand over his phone.
A member of the public sounded their car horn and the muggers ran off.
The suspects are described as a black boy aged 16 to 17, wearing a dark tracksuit, and a boy aged 16 to 17 of Asian, middle eastern or Mediterranean appearance with long brown Afro hair.
PC Pete Austin, from the Harpenden Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “We are linking these incidents and are investigating them thoroughly.
“We are reviewing local CCTV and are working closely with British Transport Police and Bedfordshire Police to identify the suspects.
“I’d reassure people that we have also increased patrols in the area to deter further incidents from happening.
“I would urge anyone who is approached in this way to contact police immediately via 999.”
Anyone who may have witnessed these incidents or has information that could assist the investigation is asked to call Herts Police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference F2/17/2062 or report information online at www.herts.police.uk/Report/Report-Shared/Report-a-crime.aspx