20 people arrested and 34 stolen bikes recovered during police and council operation

Op scorpii 2

A joint police and council operation has seen 20 people arrested and 34 stolen bikes recovered from Brick Lane Market.

Operation Scorpii, an ongoing multiagency operation between police, Tower Hamlets Council enforcement officers, market authority and trading standards, targets illegal street traders in Brick Lane Market, including those selling stolen goods such as bikes, and those without licenses.

The operation was launched in November 2022, funded by Tower Hamlets Council, which allowed extra police to be allocated to the patrols.

The market runs every Sunday and over the year, the operation took place on more than half of these dates.

In its first year, police carried out 130 stop and searches in the market mainly for stolen property, articles used for stealing, and offences in relation to the misuse of drugs.

Over the course of the year this led to the recovery of 34 suspected stolen bicycles from the market, a significant quantity of tools used to commit burglaries and thefts, and issued 64 people antisocial behaviour warnings or Community Protection Notices which ban people from the market area.

There were also 20 arrests for offences such as burglary, theft of bicycles, handling stolen goods, going equipped to steal, recall to prison, possession of knives, assault, sexual offences, and court related offences.

Tower Hamlets Council officers also issued multiple fines for illegal street trading.

As well as enforcement, Operation Scorpii also aimed to help residents keep safe. More than 50 people had their bikes marked with invisible identity codes during bike marking events and hundreds of residents, tourists and traders have been given crime prevention advice.

Sergeant Alvaro Aracena-Fuentes said:

“The operation to date has been very positive and has helped to return the market to a state of safety and security, largely free of crime and ASB.

“This operation will continue to run in partnership with the local authority, and hopefully will assist in the market thriving for years to come.”

 Lutfur Rahman, Executive Mayor, said:

“The success of this operation is down to the excellent partnership work of the police and council.

“Brick Lane Market is a popular place for tourists and residents and so it is vital that we make sure that it is as safe as possible for everyone to enjoy.”

Posted on Friday 8th December 2023