Watch: Man ‘shaken’ after fending off power-tool wielding bike thieves in east London

A man has been left shaken after he was threatened with an angle grinder by a moped driver attempting to steal his £2,500 Brompton bicycle in east London.

Ben Derbyshire was enjoying brunch with his son and daughter at a restaurant in Broadway Market, Hackney, on Friday morning when the moped driver started using the angle grinder to access Mr Derbyshire’s bike locked up outside.

“We heard commotion down the street and then suddenly, up Broadway Market come these two mopeds riding on the pavement, making a racket, revving and basically being as intimidating as possible, all dressed in black with obscure glass full-face helmets,” the chairperson of architecture firm HTA Design LLP told the Standard.

“They took an angle grinder first of all to the D lock on [my daughter] Millie’s bike, which was locked to mine because they were obviously after the Brompton.”

Seeing the commotion through the glass windows of the restaurant, Mr Derbyshire ran outside and started yelling at and photographing the moped driver, who had accessed his bike. Other bystanders captured the incident on video.

 (Ben Derbyshire)
(Ben Derbyshire)

Mr Derbyshire then grabbed hold of his Brompton bike in an attempt to take it back from the thief.

“I thought I was in danger. Especially at one point I was rather pinned into position with a lot of bikes in front of me and people behind me and I wasn’t in a position to run away if I wanted to,” Mr Derbyshire explained.

At this point Mr Derbyshire said he was threatened with an angle grinder, which a moped driver had put to his face.

Despite being pulled by the sheer force of the moped driver trying to snatch the Brompton bike back, Mr Derbyshire held on and eventually the swarm of moped drivers fled.

“I think what happened was, from their point of view, it all got a bit too complicated so they chickened out,” he said.

 (Ben Darbyshire)
(Ben Darbyshire)

He cycled home without injury after the incident. Metropolitan Police responded quickly to the incident, Mr Derbyshire said.

He also thanked the owner of the restaurant for stepping in to help.

“The proprietor of the restaurant came out immediately and was very supportive and very concerned and took our bikes in afterwards so we could finish our meals.”

Mr Derbyshire said the near-theft has left him shaken and depressed.

“I just think that’s depressing and that they should be so aggressive about it. I mean, trying to intimidate me by, by pushing an angle, grinder into my face. That is not on.”

Metropolitan Police said it is investigating the attempted theft of a bicycle around 10.55am on Friday in Broadway Market, E8.

There has been no arrest at this stage. Any witnesses who are yet to speak with police are asked to all 101, ref 2586/12may.

In statistics published in November, just 1 per cent of the more than 18,800 bike thefts in London in a year saw thieves charged or cautioned, according to police statistics.

According to the Metropolitan Police figures, which were collated and analysed by London criminal defence solicitors Lawtons, there were only 206 sanctions recorded between November 2021 and October 2022 despite the huge number of thefts.

The boroughs of Hackney, Southwark and Tower Hamlets recorded the most thefts though the total amount of bikes reported stolen was actually down 18% throughout the capital as a whole compared to the previous year.