Birmingham canal muggers preying on cyclists, says victim of Yardley attack

Children's eye doctor John Ainsworth describes how youths broke his nose in an attack on a Birmingham towpath in an attempt to steal his bike

The victim of an attack on a Birmingham canal path claims muggers are targeting cyclists after having his nose broken by youths trying to take his bike.

John Ainsworth, a doctor at a children's hospital, says he had his nose broken after he refused to give up his bike on the Ackers Trust basin path on September 30, just days after a female cyclist required hospital treatment after being pushed into the same canal.

>>> Police hunt London teens who pushed cyclist into canal

Mr Ainsworth told the Birmingham Mail that the towpath was becoming a no-go area for cyclists, described how the youths carry out their attack.

“The lads who attacked me had a particular technique," he said. "It involves two youths, one standing either side of the path where the canal is, to make you cycle between them. Then one guy runs from the side and pushes you hard into the canal. Another guy then tries to run off with the bike. Others hide close by.

“I managed to cycle on but there is a barrier along the canal, where I had to get off my bike. They caught up with me and started hitting me in the face, demanding money and the bike. I just held on to the bike and was punched maybe five or six times in the face. It broke my nose."

>>> Birmingham canal drained to make way for cycle improvement works

Detective Inspector Jon Ashman, of West Midlands Police, told the Mail: “These were really nasty attacks and we are following several lines of enquiry as part of the criminal investigation.

“We have been working closely with the victims since this was first reported to ensure they are kept updated as our case progresses. This kind of behaviour is dangerous and will not be tolerated; we are working around the clock to bring those responsible to justice.

“Local officers have also stepped up patrols in the area at the relevant times to ensure that cyclists can continue to use the towpath safely.

>>>Work starts on cycle-friendly Manchester canal path

“In the longer term we will be considering other powers, such as a dispersal order, to reduce offending and anti-social behaviour in the area.

“We would ask anyone with information about these offences to come forward and contact us. Similarly if you have been a victim, please call as soon as possible.”

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