South Woodford police in robbery crack down

POLICE have sent out a warning to muggers who are targeting school children in South Woodford telling them: “We are on to you.”

In November a spate of robberies were reported involving youngsters who had got off the W13 bus by Waitrose in High Road.

Gangs are waiting for pupils as they walk home in nearby cut-throughs – Roanna’s and Willow paths, which lead along the A406 – and demanding their valuables.

Sgt David Somerville, of Church End Safer Neighbourhood Team, explained the problem was unusual and urged people to stick to main roads while action is taken.

He said: “These are nasty little unlit cut-throughs which thugs have identified as a prime stomping ground.

“I have received a number of complaints and unfortunately some children have been attacked.

“These people strike in the day and look to engage in conversation before doing anything.”

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Mr Somerville has altered shift patterns in a bid to combat the problem and there are now more high visibility patrols in operation which monitor the area when children are on their way home.

“I would like to reassure residents that we have a full team dedicated to catching these people,” he said.

“We have been able to obtain some descriptions and now have a good idea of who the culprits are.

“Being robbed is a traumatic experience and we are doing everything in our power to prevent further incidents.”

He added: “To anyone thinking about committing this type of crime, there is a very good CCTV system in this area and we have an excellent record for prosecuting offenders.”