Huge rise seen in London crime involving mopeds

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The number of London crimes involving mopeds has risen by 600 per cent in the past two years.

BBC London has obtained Metropolitan police figures, which show that there have been 7,668 offences, including attacks, robberies and thefts to date – that's an average of 22 per day.

Already, this is 1,053 more than the whole of 2014, and a rise of 4,647 on 2015's total.

While admitting that this rise is a 'huge concern', the Met denied that the problem is out of control.

Moped-related crimes aren't exclusive to the capital, with other big cities reporting similar issues. However, due to the number of tourists and high-end shops, it is particularly prevalent in London. In an attempt to tackle the problem, Operation Venice was set up two years ago.

Supt Mark Payne, who runs the operation, told the BBC: "I think it's a huge concern because it is a change in criminal behaviour.

"The fact of the matter is it's much more difficult to deal with people on mopeds than it was people who were committing those sorts of crimes before on foot or on bicycles."

Scotland Yard has a 200-strong list of suspects in moped-related crimes, but a lack of evidence means that many escape prosecution.

Police also refrain from pursuing helmet-less suspects, due to concerns for their safety.

However, the Met denied that this may give criminals the impression they can get away with the crimes if they aren't wearing a helmet, adding that officers are currently striking the right balance when it comes to weighing up the risks of pursuing a suspect at speed.

It added that it was using an 'Achilles heel' style approach to stop repeat offenders, by pursuing them for lesser crimes and driving offences, including having no insurance or licence.