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Masked London robbers steal Australian TV crew’s camera and threaten to shoot them

'I’ve got a gun, don’t make a scene, it’s pointed at you'

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Thursday 07 June 2018 12:39 BST
Moment armed men steal TV camera from Australian news crew

An Australian journalist has raised concern over London’s “crazy” crime rate after masked robbers forced her crew to hand over a television camera as they were recording.

Laurel Irving was reporting for Channel Seven from Exmouth Market in Islington when two men approached on bicycles, wearing balaclavas.

Cameraman Jimmy Cannon said he saw one of the man reach into his trousers and transfer something to his jacket, before he said: “I’ve got a gun, don’t make a scene, it’s pointed at you – unclip the camera and give it to me.”

Ms Irving was delivering a piece to camera during the altercation but did not hear the threat and tried to intervene.

“All of a sudden Jimmy took the camera off the tripod and that's when I stepped in and said, 'Hey, what's going on here?’” she told 3AW radio.

Footage of the incident showed her trying to grab the $25,000 (£14,000) camera back before her colleague shouted “No, no – he’s got a gun.’”

“The thing about this was how brazen it was – we were in an upmarket area surrounded by people,” Ms Irving told the Sunrise programme.

Laurel Irving photographed one of the thieves cycling away following the robbery (Laurel Irving)

“Police were here in a couple of minutes and we were really impressed with the way they handled it.

“But clearly the issue is not how police handle it after the crime, it’s the fact the crime is happening.

“There is clearly an issue with police resources in London at the moment and that is why these people believe they can get away with it.”

Ms Irving, who is based in London for Channel Seven’s Europe correspondent, thanked well-wishers after receiving a tide of support on social media.

“Thanks everyone for the love. We’re all good,” she added, praising Mr Cannon’s reaction as “fantastic”. “The London crime rate though is crazy.”

The journalist said she had seen "ridiculously racist comments" about the attack on social media, writing on Twitter: "Not that it matters, but our attackers were white with British accents. Criminals exist in every community. Please don’t use us as pawns in your point-scoring games."

She managed to take photos of the thieves as they cycled away and Metropolitan Police are investigating.

Mr Cannon said he hopes the publicity around the incident “can encourage politicians to take actions that will help curb the surging crime & violence in this wonderful city”.

It comes amid a nationwide surge in violent crime and several disturbing incidents in London, where a 24-year-old woman was heard begging for mercy before being left in a critical condition in a moped mugging earlier on Monday, in Edgware.

The attack took place hours after comedian Michael McIntyre was robbed by hammer-wielding moped thieves outside his son’s school for his £15,000 Rolex.

Metropolitan Police figures show a 5 per cent rise in violent crime in the year to May, including a 30 per cent increase in muggings and a 50 per cent rise in robbery using mopeds, to an average rate of 60 a day.

There were also 35 youth homicides in the period – an increase of a quarter, and knife crime was up 18 per cent.

Scotland Yard insisted there has been a “steady fall” in moped-enabled crime in London over the past six months, following new tactics such as the use of off-road bikes in pursuits and DNA marker sprays.

Last week, gang crime chief Commander Jim Stokley, said the force was deploying a range of prevention tactics including intelligence-led stop and search and raids.

“We are absolutely committed to reducing the level of violence on the streets of London and are using new and existing policing tools that we believe are relevant and proportionate,” he added.

“The policing response to violent crime also needs to be carried out with the support of the communities we serve.

“Police action is part of the answer to the problem of violent crime, but can never be the entire solution.”

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