Moped knifepoint robberies rise 60 percent in London as thieves target luxury watches

Knifepoint watch robberies by moped gangs in London have risen 60 percent in the last month, the Metropolitan Police has said.

There were 108 violent watch robberies between 26 April and 27 June across Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham.

Between 26 April and 30 May there were 42 such watch robberies. In the following four weeks, 67 offences were recorded - an increase of more than 60 per cent.

A couple wearing luxury watches in Chelsea this week were threatened by a moped rider wielding a machete and forced to hand over their Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe timepieces.

A man in his 50s was knocked down by motorbike thieves in Chelsea earlier this month and had his £20,000 Rolex stolen as he lay on the ground.

Police have asked for mobile phone and doorbell footage from areas where robberies have occurred.

Rolex, Franck Muller, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe are among the high-value watch brands being targeted by thieves in London Credit: Met Police

Detective Chief Superintendent Owain Richards, in charge of policing for the Met's Central West area, said extra officers are patrolling commonly targeted areas.

"As well as asking people to report these robberies as soon as they happen, we know lots of these offences are recorded on mobile phones or doorbells and we are keen to see this footage," he said.

"Anything that helps us build up a picture of individuals carrying out these crimes could be crucial to us finding them and putting a stop to their abhorrent behaviour," he added.

Boxer Amir Khan was robbed at gunpoint for his £70,000 Franck Muller watch in Leyton in April.

He and his wife were being spied on in a restaurant before the thieves struck, a court heard last month.

In 2019 an Omani student, Mohammed Al-Araimi, was stabbed to death for his Rolex in Knightsbridge.

Recent offences in Chelsea include:

  • Boltons Conservation Area on Tuesday 12 July

A couple were followed by a moped rider who threatened them with a machete at 10:10am. They were forced to hand over their Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe watches.

  • Mallord Street on Monday 4 July

A woman was forced to give her watch and bracelet to two people on a motorbike who threatened her with a knife at around 9:54pm.

  • Oakley Street on Monday 4 July

A man in his 50s was knocked down by two people on a motorbike between 9pm and 10pm. As he lay on the ground, one of the thieves produced a knife and took his Rolex watch, believed to be worth around £20,000. His wedding ring was also stolen. He suffered no serious injuries.

Anyone who has footage or information about these cases – or any street robberies – is asked to call 101 quoting Operation Furbish.

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