Cyclist beaten and Brompton bike stolen as police warn of spate of attacks targeting the model

The bikes are lightweight, hold their value and fold to be easily carried - properties which have made Bromptons attract the attention of violent criminals

A cyclist ambushed in a busy London park by a gang of bike thieves has described the horrifying moment he was attacked in front of people having picnics.

The man, so shaken he does not want to be named, was left battered, bruised and needing stitches after his folding Brompton bike was stolen in the daylight attack in Hackney, east London.

He said the gang appeared to be highly organised and were probably waiting for someone with an expensive bike to cycle through the park.

"There were lots of people in the park having picnics and I was on a cycle route," he told ITV News London.

"Suddenly behind me I heard the rumble of electric dirt bikes, I didn’t really have any time to react. 

"They came up behind me and ambushed me, attacked me physically and I was on the ground and they were still attacking me. 

"I came away with bad bruising and swelling on one side of my face, and they took my Brompton bike," the cyclist explained.

Signs hung in an east London park to warn other cyclists

The victim also requested the location of the park was withheld for his safety following the incident.

Lightweight Brompton bikes are a London-made engineering success story.

But the bikes can cost thousands of pounds even second-hand - and it's that market online which cyclists fear is fuelling the rise in robberies.

"It’s left me very shaken. [The thefts] are due to the high resale value of the bikes," the cyclist said. 

"It’s a shame because there is so much freedom with a folding bike plus the security that you’re not leaving it outside.

"You never consider a gang of five men will come and take your bike away," he explained.

He has put signs up warning other cyclists of the danger of violent gangs potentially targeting them too - but for some it's already too late.

The cyclist added: "I’ve been on social media to get the message out to other Brompton riders. 

"I’ve been contacted by around ten others in the last week that this has happened to, men and women violently attacked."

Police said there had been a recent spate of robberies in Hackney and extra officers put on patrol.

Police added: "As part of our commitment to tackle a recent spate of robberies in Hackney, officers from Operation Venice arrested a 21-year-old man on Wednesday, 6 April in connection with a number of robberies in the area where Brompton bikes, as well as other property, were stolen. He has been taken to an east London police station. Enquiries continue."

The arrest is not linked to the attack on the cyclist.