Flashback: Motorcycle stunts, an ‘estate of fear’ and Redbridge’s Pc of the year

Pc Mohammed Mahroof with the Somalian refugees he worked closely with.

Pc Mohammed Mahroof with the Somalian refugees he worked closely with. - Credit: Archant

A look back at the biggest local stories from this week 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

1956: A traffic policeman from Barkingside shocked passersby with a daredevil stunt at a motorcycle show.

Jack Meldrum, of Richmond Road, Ilford, jumped blindfolded on a motorbike through a wall of fire at the Chigwell Hall Gymkhana, causing some onlookers to hide their faces for fear of what they might see.

Coming in at £400, Jack’s German DMW bike was the most expensive on display.

However, poor weather meant that attendance was down 3,000 on the year before, and the Bow Police Garage motor club were left fearing they may have lost money hosting the event.


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1976: A storm of protests was unleashed after a pensioner was attacked by youths he had caught vandalising a toilet on Woodford Green’s “estate of fear”.

Residents on Broadmead estate were threatening to stop paying their rent unless immediate action was taken to crack down on yobs making life a misery.

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They also revealed they were drawing up plans for night-time vigilante patrols to guard the estate.

Redbridge council had already resorted to using security guards with dogs to make random checks of the area.

The final straw came when Wilfried Heathcote, 69, chased four youths he witnessed flood a downstairs lavatory, only to be attacked and injured in the leg when he cornered them in a supermarket.

The police would only confirm that four children had been seen for causing a breach of the peace and referred to the juvenile bureau.

1996: One of Redbridge’s most popular bobbies on the beat was thrilled to be named runner-up in the 1996 community constable of the year competition.

Ilford-based Pc Mohammad Mahroof, 26, went through years of bullying as a child that he believed left him with a burning desire to try and help others in need.

The father-of-three spent 18 months forging a link between the residents of Ilford south and the Somali refugee community that had recently sprung up in the area.

“I just believe that by breaking down barriers and understanding different cultures, languages and religions crime can be prevented,” he said.

“Many of these people have been through terrible experiences and they need to find someone they can trust and depend on.”

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