Hundreds of crimes are committed on e-scooters, investigation reveals

Hundreds of crimes are committed on e-scooters, investigation reveals

E-scooter crimewave: Hundreds of crimes including robberies and assaults are committed by thugs on electric scooters, investigation reveals

  • Thugs are carrying out robberies and assaults on e-scooters, investigation finds
  • Pedestrians were run down by the contraptions being used on pavements 
  • Riders were also stopped using an e-scooter while drunk or high on drugs 

Robberies, assaults and even a drive-by shooting are among hundreds of crimes involving thugs on electric scooters, a Mail investigation reveals.

The crimewave has been disclosed by police in areas that have given the go-ahead to e-scooter pilot schemes.

Other reported offences include shoplifting, drug possession and suspects using them to escape arrest.

Zippy: E-scooter rider in London

Pedestrians were run down by the contraptions being illegally used on pavements, while in one shocking incident a scooter was seen towing a trailer on a 60mph-limit road. Riders were also stopped using an e-scooter while drunk or high on drugs.

It comes despite Transport Secretary Grant Shapps proclaiming e-scooters part of a ‘transport revolution’ involving greener and zero-emission forms of travel. Last spring he fast-tracked their legalisation for trials. The Mail sent freedom of information requests to police forces covering more than 20 cities and towns across Britain where the devices are on trial or about to be piloted.

Norfolk police recorded more than 120 incidents involving them last year, including an electric scooter seen pulling a small trailer on a main road and ‘swerving from side to side’.

In London, where e-scooters will go on trial in the coming months, Scotland Yard recorded more than 200 incidents last year, the highest of any force that responded. The Met said it seized more than 150 devices.

Fractured skull of boy, 6, hit by thug going at 24mph  

A boy who suffered a fractured skull after being hit by an e-scooter still has nightmares about it eight months later.

Jamie Smith, six, was sent flying by a teenage rider said to be travelling at about 24mph outside his home in Leicester as he went out with his father and younger sister.

Bloodied: Jamie Smith’s injuries after being knocked down last August

The boy’s sister Brooklyn, 21, said: ‘The ambulance and police initially thought Jamie wasn’t going to pull through.

‘He got knocked unconscious. It was a bad fracture. Jamie is having bad nightmares still and my little sister gets recurring nightmares that Jamie’s didn’t survive.’ Miss Smith said the rider was charged with causing injury by dangerous driving.

Merseyside police recorded more than 100 incidents involving e-scooters last year and has seized 94 this year alone.

One report of a gun crime described it as an ‘allegation of discharge by person on scooter’. Cleveland police recorded 81 incidents, Derbyshire recorded 27 while Staffordshire notched up a total of 23.

The findings prompted MPs to warn e-scooters are ‘unwanted’ even as the Government considers legalising them nationwide.

Campaigners last night called on ministers to toughen up the rules for private sales, as individuals can buy them from shops or online despite them being illegal on the roads.

Peter Bone, the Tory MP for Wellingborough, where e-scooters are available for hire in a government-backed trial, said: ‘The initial reaction from my constituents is that they’re unwanted. One candidate in the local elections told me that on the doorstep the number one priority was electric scooters.’

Retailers reported a boom in sales of e-scooters last year amid lockdown. They typically cost from £350, with high-end models running up to nearly £1,000. Their top speeds are capped at 15.5mph but they can be modified to go up to 70mph.

The vast majority of alleged crimes are thought to have involved privately-owned e-scooters rather than government-backed devices on trial.

Only the latter are legal to ride on roads and hirers must prove possession of a valid provisional or full UK driving licence. Ministers are not set to make a decision on whether to fully legalise their use until at least the end of the year.

David Davies, director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, said the lobby group had written to roads minister Rachel Maclean calling for tighter regulation such as age checks on private buyers.

He said: ‘We have an interim situation where the Department for Transport is monitoring trials, meanwhile people are buying them hand over fist in shops and clearly using them and we don’t feel retailers are necessarily being responsible.

‘The restrictions are not tough enough on sale as there’s no regulation at all.’

Of the Mail’s findings, he said: ‘What this shows is that they’re a bloody menace.’ Chris Theobald, of charity Guide Dogs, said: ‘People are increasingly encountering scooters on pedestrian pathways and blind people have to navigate using their hearing so it’s a huge problem for them.

‘With their power and speed people are scared and fearful of going out on the streets.’

The DfT said it was aware of ‘a minority of instances where e-scooters have been misused’ and that feedback from the trials will help ‘inform the need for any future regulation of them’.

Teenager, 14, ‘killed schoolboy for his ride’ 

By George Odling and Archie Mitchell 

A boy of 14 will appear in court today charged with murdering a schoolboy outside a pizzeria after allegedly snatching his scooter.

Aspiring engineer Fares Maatou, 14, died while still in his school uniform after being stabbed and struck over the head repeatedly with an iron bar on Friday afternoon.

Friends said his attackers made off with his electric scooter as Fares lay dying in the street outside Zzetta Soul Fired Pizza in Canning Town, east London.

Stabbed: Fares Maatou, 14

The schoolboy’s father is in hospital critically ill with coronavirus and only woke up from a coma six weeks before his son’s death, family friends said.

Fares’ mother was so distraught when she arrived at the blood-soaked crime scene that she fainted, witnesses told reporters.

Four teenagers have been arrested, including the youngster charged with murder and possession of an offensive weapon. He will appear at Stratford Youth Court today.

Two 15-year-olds have been released on bail and a third remains in custody.

Fares, whose family is originally from Algeria, has an older sister Amira and a brother.

Flowers left at the scene in Barking Road, East Ham, where a 14-year-old boy was knifed to death on Friday

Last night Amira, a Westminster Business School graduate, said the family was too upset to speak. A business owner who saw the attack said a FedEx delivery driver and one of Fares’ friends frantically tried to resuscitate him.

Another witness said: ‘They were just shouting at him ‘wake up, wake up, try to breathe’. Three or four of us were all shouting loudly ‘one, two, three’, so there was a rhythm for compression.’

Paramedics soon took over but Fares was declared dead at 4.30pm, just over half-an-hour after the attack.

Friends said he was fascinated with bikes and cars, and dreamed of becoming an engineer.

Floral tributes have been left at the scene spelling out LLF or ‘Long Live Fares’.

He is the 11th teenager to be knifed to death in the capital this year.

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