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Seven arrested as police target gang robbing schoolchildren at knifepoint across London

Seven males as young as 15 have been arrested over a spate of knifepoint robberies on school children (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Archive)
Seven males as young as 15 have been arrested over a spate of knifepoint robberies on school children (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Archive)

Seven males as young as 15 have been arrested over a spate of knifepoint robberies on school children using buses, rail and the Tube network.

Victims were threatened with violence and suspects brandished blades at them if they did not hand over their mobile phones, cash or designer clothes.

Metropolitan Police detectives detained the men in raids on several addresses across London and Essex on Thursday.

The group, largely made up of teenagers, targeted school-aged youths on or near public transport hubs in Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney. The oldest suspect detained was 34.

Officers from the East Area Proactive Team said the muggings took place between November 4, 2022 and January 25 this year.

Detective Superintendent Richard Vandenbergh, from the East Area Command Unit which covers Havering and Barking and Dagenham, said: “Today’s arrests will play a significant role in disrupting crime in these areas, and across London as a whole.”

He said the young people who were the victims of the robberies had been "targeted" for their belongings.

He said those carrying out such crimes "completely disregarded the impact their behaviour would have on their victims".

“While the robbery of items is inconvenient and troubling in itself, there is often a long lasting impact on the way a person lives their life day-to-day,” he added.

“We are incredibly pleased with today’s arrests and hope people across London notice a positive impact.

“We will continue to target criminals, remaining committed to investigating and stopping robbery and violent crime in our city.”