This vigilante courier is trying to reclaim the streets of London from violent moped thieves and he’s not alone.
Bikers across the country have come together in response to near epidemic levels of moped crime.
Dozens of groups exist online with the purpose of gathering intelligence on criminals, organising street patrols and actually recovering stolen bikes.
Omar Marjan, 23, joined the vigilante biker community after getting stabbed in the hand while delivering parcels as a courier.
He was getting attacked so much it started getting ‘unbelievable’ so he decided to buy a stab-proof vest and a camera for his helmet and begin filming his shifts just in case something happened.
‘I mentally went out every time on my bike as if I was going to war,’ he told metro.co.uk.
‘I was totally clued on, totally alert.’
The attacks kept coming and he started his YouTube channel ‘HandMuffWarrior’ in January.
His footage uncovered just a taste of what bikers are facing on the streets of London and across the UK.
However, the Metropolitan Police warned his videos and other vigilante bikers could ‘jeopardise’ ongoing police investigations and make them ‘liable to prosecution’.
Scotland Yard told metro.co.uk there has been a 36% reduction in moped thefts since they started chasing and knocking them off their bikes last year.
But considering how moped crime jumped from 827 offences in 2012 to more than 23,000 in 2017, Omar believes the Met’s apparent tougher stance is just ‘propaganda’.
He added: ‘Groups like ours are popping up all over the country. The problem is just going to get worse. Police are releasing videos of them taking tougher action but i feel like most of it is propaganda.
‘In terms of actual change there’s not a lot going on and you can see that when you’re out all the time and you see stolen bikes everywhere.’
In one shocking video Omar filmed in Shepherd’s Bush, he caught the moment a would-be robber launched at him from a moped shouting ‘get off the bike’.
He kept fighting back, forcing the thug to jump back on the moped with his friend and flee.
In another he chases down a young moped rider he filmed allegedly knocking a pizza delivery driver to the floor.
He said: ‘As I kept recording what was going on my following was going up and up. It got to the point where I was like “there’s a lot of them I need back up”.
‘I joined a group called Biker Biker and I got back up from people who were also fed up.’
The group regularly patrols the streets together as a ‘show of force’ and carry out covert operations online to sniff out suspected moped thieves.
Thieves often sell stolen bikes on social media, so Omar and his fellow vigilantes set up fake accounts on Facebook and Instagram to monitor them.
‘We get inside that network and lay dormant picking up information,’ Omar said.
When they find the location of a stolen bike, Omar says ‘we all show up for our own safety’.
They will then call the police to get ‘permission’ to lift the bike away on a recovery truck.
He says it makes it all worth it when he sees the owner’s ‘happy’ face when they bring their bike back.
‘A lot of them have had debt collectors turn up at their house because they rely on their bike to get to work,’ he said.
‘Having a bike is such a big part of someone’s life and people don’t see the disruption it causes when it is stolen.’
Omar claims he’s helped police arrest two people as a result of his work, but he doesn’t know if they were ever convicted.
‘But exposing these criminals forces them underground,’ he said. ‘Even if they’re not arrested, it makes them change their ways.’
The Met’s statement on vigilante bikers
‘The Met does not support activities by individuals or groups who target suspected criminals. Those who seek to take the law into their own hands put themselves at risk and will be liable to prosecution.
‘This type of action could jeopardise or interfere with ongoing investigations, and our advice to anyone who has information about a suspect or witnesses a crime is to contact police as soon as possible so it can be investigated and, where possible, bring people to justice.
‘Revealing the identity of a potential suspect could give them the opportunity to destroy evidence before police become involved. Individuals or groups who target potentially violent criminals could be putting themselves at risk and we advise anyone who witnesses such crimes to call 999.
‘Under Operation Venice, our dedicated operation to tackle moped crime, all of our boroughs are mobilised to deal with these offences. Police use a range of overt and covert tactics in every borough to tackle offenders.
These include conducting investigations and operations on offenders using tactics such as DNA forensic tagging, automatic tyre deflation devices to bring thieves to a safe stop and pursuing offenders with slim-line motorbikes.
The Met also has a dedicated team of officers who work to link and investigate these crimes and can identity suspects, even if they are wearing helmets and face coverings.
‘However, the Met wants to prevent the theft of scooters, mopeds, motorbikes and bicycles in the first place so they can’t be used in the commission of crime and are doing so through a combination of approaches: making owners aware of what they can do about reducing the thefts.
‘Our ongoing patrols, and overt and covert intelligence-led operations target moped thieves in the areas they operate and where mopeds are stolen from.
‘As a result of intensive proactive policing and engagement, there have been reductions in moped crime across London.
‘Latest year-on-year figures show that in January 2017 to November 2017 there were 21,501 offences across London compared to January 2018 to November 2018 when there were 13,142 offences – a reduction of 38.9 per cent.
There have also been year-on-year reductions in theft of mopeds;
– Jan 2017 to Nov 2017: 13,220
– Jan 2018 to Nov 2018: 8,917
4,303 less offences – a reduction of 32.5 per cent
‘In the meantime, we would urge riders to take necessary precautions – be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you are leaving your vehicle unattended then make sure you have properly secured it – Lock, Chain and Cover.
‘We are keen to emphasise that riders should not matters into their own hands and in an emergency always dial 999.’