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'Victims of moped thefts or attempted thefts spending hundreds on repairs' dealership claims as Hounslow crime figures rocket

With motorcycle crime on the rise in Hounslow, getwestlondon speaks to the borough's police force and a moped dealership

More than 15,000 scooters, motorcycles and mopeds were stolen in London in the last year - more than half of all stolen vehicles in the capital, according to the Metropolitan Police.

Police believe the perpetrators are often repeat offenders and in some cases are using the stolen mopeds to commit other crimes.

As part of Operation Venice, officers are working to tackle this and have been urging moped users to take action by protecting their bikes from thieves.

Superintendent Mark Payne from Hounslow Police explained how motorcycle crime is on the rise in the borough and urged moped owners to be vigilant and secure their bikes.

Owner of Cooperized Motorcycle Centre in Feltham, Ken Cooper, revealed to getwestlondon that on average he has around three customers a week coming in requesting a repair following an attempted theft, or the recovery of a stolen moped.

He said he has seen a 400-500% increase in the amount of moped crime victims coming to him for repairs, just this year.

Police advise owners to use covers on their bikes(Image: Metropolitan Police)

He said: "What we do get is a lot of stolen recovered [bikes] or attempted thefts, so people come here, the wirings have been cut, or the ignitions have been broken and so they come here to get the bikes repaired."

He added: "They are spending sort of three, four, £500 per attempted theft."

One person who is only too familiar with moped theft is Brentford resident Marcus Alexander.

Late at night on May 23, he ran out of his home onto the street completely naked in pursuit of individuals who were trying to steal his moped.

The campaign is in support of Operation Venice(Image: Metropolitan Police)

He confronted them and in a video he created following his experience, he explains: "I'm so vexed, so angry, I'm trying to pull him off their bike, the best way I can do it is grabbing the driver by the helmet and trying to yank him off.

"But at the same time, his wing man with the angle grinders is trying to cut me."

Despite sustaining a number of cuts from the angle grinders and a substantial repair bill, Marcus managed to return to his house, moped in hand, but he believes there needs to be more education surrounding bike theft and more consequences to avoid attempted thefts like this one.

Injuries sustained by Marcus(Image: Marcus Alexander)

He said "Hounslow has been hideous", explaining how easy it is for someone to steal a moped: "If they go and steal a bike they can break the steering column in 10 seconds, have it off, down the street and in a different borough in 180 seconds, what they have done in less than 10 minutes work, will have cost someone three months hard labour."

When asked how he thinks it can be tackled, he said: "Definitely more education and more consequences because the reason why these guys will go out is there are no consequences, the police aren't allowed to chase them."

On tackling the issue, superintendent Mark Payne said: "We've got a list of people who we know are involved in moped crime, and we actively target those with proactive operations, but the real way to prevent this is to take the mopeds away from the thieves in the first place and that means making sure they are secured."

He believes the solution in the long run may lie with the moped manufacturers.

"At the moment, mopeds are too easy to steal and they're too easy to use in crime and they're too easy to dispose of," he added.

Marcus was left with a repair bill following the incident(Image: Marcus Alexander)

"I've spoken to the major manufacturers for mopeds, Honda, Piaggio, we've met with those at a Met Police level and they are looking at designing solutions to make mopeds much more difficult to steal, but they say to use, those sorts of solutions are four, five years away."

In the meantime, police are stressing the importance of layering up mopeds with security, including using a bike cover, a decent chain around the back wheel and fitting bikes to a ground anchor.

Click here for more from our chat with Hounslow Police or watch the video below.

In response to the rise in moped crimes, Suzuki is currently offering customers who purchase one of their bikes up to 400cc a security bonus of up to £200, providing things like locks and chains, free of charge to customers who live inside the M25.

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