Shock Rise in Railway Crime as Violent Gangs Target Passengers

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Byline: DICK MURRAY;JUSTIN DAVENPORT

VIOLENT robberies at London railway stations and on trains are showing an alarming increase, with too few police to prevent them, it is revealed today.

Gangs of muggers, as young as 14 and often armed with knives, are increasingly targeting lone, well-dressed commuters who are thought likely to be carrying mobile phones, cash and other valuables.

The majority of offences - more than 100 a month - are taking place in south and south-east London with the number rising as schools finish for the afternoon.

The British Transport Police annual report - for the year ending this month and due to be published in the early summer - will show that the number of robberies has risen over the previous 12 months. The figures increase fears over safety on the railways following the death on Monday of costume designer Liz Sherlock after she gave chase when muggers snatched her handbag at Euston station.

At the same time, Scotland Yard has revealed that the number of street crimes in London last year passed 50,000 for the first time, with an 18 per cent rise in robberies and bag snatches, a 12 per cent rise in possession of offensive weapons and a two per cent rise in violent crime. …