Barkingside vigilante runs sting operation in South Woodford to snare laptop thieves
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:41 27 April 2017
A trainee pilot pursued laptop thieves down the A406 after using a burner phone to lure them to a fake meeting.
Self-proclaimed vigilante Joseph Hayat, 23, of Barkingside, decided to take the law into his own hands, when he saw his stolen computer appear on eBay.
Armed with a burner phone, car and his wife, Salma, the father-of-one donned a metaphorical cape and arranged a meet.
“I wanted justice,” he said.
“They need to step up and be accountable. We don’t need people like that in society.”
Joseph gave an old address in South Woodford for the meet and got there early with Salma to survey the scene.
Two muscular men arrived and the husband and wife called the police.
Salma said she recognised one of the sellers from CCTV footage the Recorder published about a seemingly unrelated car theft and from a picture on a shopping site.
She said that in the sellers’ photo on their online page, which offers computers, car parts and glasses, she saw a reflection of the man’s face in ski goggles.
The couple were on the phone to police when the sellers left and as no officers could not be dispatched at that time, the couple decided to track them.
“We put ourselves at risk but vigilantism was the only option given that the Met have done nothing to catch these criminals who had the cheek to steal from us,” added Joseph
“We do not fear these vile cockroaches (the criminals), we fear only the judgement day.”
The men drove to Woodford Food & Wine, High Road, South Woodford, and are allegedly captured on CCTV entering the shop before speeding off down the A406. Joseph lost the car on the A12 as it was travelling at high speeds.
The couple have a huge file of evidence including screen shots of the laptops and CCTV that they claim can link the gang to other car thefts that have happened in the borough.
Salma said: “Why should any of us allow criminals to thrive in our society?
“When we had the ability to catch them, we should have been supported.
“We’ve done all the groundwork for the police, all they have to do is arrest them.”
A spokeswoman for Met Police said an investigation was conducted which aimed to establish any CCTV or forensic opportunities and none have been found.
“He was advised against (meeting up) and police would advise members of the public to report information to police and not confront those they believe to have committed an offence,” she said.
“There have been no arrests, inquiries are ongoing.”