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Seven arrested after Halloween train ...

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Joined 04-03-2005
Posted on Thursday, 02 November, 2006 - 08:38 am:   

Full story can be read at
Extracts below:

British Transport Police have arrested seven people following a Halloween steaming incident onboard a train last night.

Police said the seven were arrested after boarding a train at Forest Hill wearing Halloween masks and scarves to obscure their identities and then steamed the carriage before exiting the train.

The incident happened at around 9.30pm [on October 31st].

Two people were robbed of cash and mobile phones and a third person was punched in the face.

Police are appealing to anyone who was onboard the train to contact the Witness Appeal Line on 0207 391 5275.

Transport police are also warning passengers to remain vigilant in the coming days as some members of the public may continue wearing Halloween costumes, while others may be armed with fireworks for the upcoming Guy Fawkes celebrations.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Thursday, 02 November, 2006 - 08:59 am:   

Further to the above a I believe a borough wide Section 60 order was agreed for 31st October - 1st November based on previous Halloween crime reports.

Under Section 60. Any police constable in uniform may:

- stop any pedestrian in that locality and search him or anything carried by him for offensive weapons or dangerous instruments

- stop any vehicle in that locality and search the vehicle, its driver and any passenger for offensive weapons or dangerous instruments

- seize any such offensive weapons or dangerous instruments.
Joined 13-02-2006
Posted on Thursday, 02 November, 2006 - 09:34 am:   

My mate was 'steamed' as he was pulling into East Croydon station on the weekend. Unfortunately for his 'steamers' they ran off the train and straight into the path of a visiting dignitary and about 20 police officers. D'oh!
Joined 01-12-2005
Posted on Thursday, 02 November, 2006 - 10:30 am:   

What's steaming, please.
Joined 20-02-2006
Posted on Thursday, 02 November, 2006 - 10:44 am:   

It's robbery "...where no weapon is used and minimum violence.

"The suspects basically rely on their sheer physical presence to intimidate the victim and get money from them.

"It is an old technique but more common on trains, particularly in London."

Found that in an 2003 newsletter article, The Argus.
Joined 04-03-2005
Posted on Thursday, 02 November, 2006 - 10:45 am:   

In Scotland this means you have had too much to drink.

In UDB this is what you do to 'cook' carrots.

On the streets it is a gang of people mugging a number of people in rapid succession. It is particularly nasty as it involves a number of criminals with a mob mentality.
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Thursday, 02 November, 2006 - 05:40 pm:   

I was on the train behind which had to go on to Sydenham without stopping at FH. I did wonder what had happened.
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Thursday, 02 November, 2006 - 05:42 pm:   

Steaming normally happens on tube trains, which is another reason we don't want to be connected
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Thursday, 02 November, 2006 - 10:12 pm:   

Slightly comforted by the no weapon and minimum violence, although a few years ago something similar happened between London Bridge and New Cross where the gang wielded machetes. Fortunately I wasn't on the train at the time.

Think I'll go back to the way I was when I first moved to London- carry a little cash to hand over if threatened but otherwise leave the cards and other valuables at home.

I still feel that London and especially Forest Hill is still much safer statistically than other parts of the UK. Maybe I'm just kidding myself....
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Thursday, 02 November, 2006 - 10:16 pm:   

I used to use the train from Charing Cross to Catford Bridge. I changed to the line to Forest Hill because I thought it was safer.
Joined 05-11-2006
Posted on Monday, 06 November, 2006 - 12:01 pm:   

I was on that train, and I called the police - who were incredibly unhelpful. Their first reaction seemed to be not to believe what I was saying, and when I expressed incredulity that I had been asked whether I meant Forest Hill BR or underground station (!!), I was told my attitude was not constructive. I eventually gave up trying to talk to them, and outside the station a police van happened to be passing so someone flagged them down and eventually got the police actually involved. The following morning I told one of the ticket sellers at the station that there had been trouble at the station the evening before (9.30pm) he told me that this could happen anywhere. When I said yes, of course, but the fact of the matter is it happened in this station, he told me well, that's what the CCTV cameras are for. But he did not seem to know there had been trouble at all, and his attitude of 'I don't care' signals that from Southern staff we are not going to get much help in terms of ensuring the safety of the station. The lessons this has taught me about FH station are: 1) CCTV is useless and if you are in trouble it'll take forever for someone to respond; 2) Southern are not interested in station safety; 3) the police are more interested in nabbing you as a crank phone caller than in listening to your information; and 4) this happened with teenagers, so what can we expect when we may have to deal with people intent on causing considerably more damage? The whole episode has had a very chilling effect on my previous enthusiasm for the area. Has anyone else had similar experiences in trying to convince the police and/or Southern that there are safety issues still to be addressed at FH station (and elsewhere, presumably)?
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Monday, 06 November, 2006 - 12:22 pm:   

On the positive side, the headline was "Seven ARRESTED..." so something has worked.

Of course, such things can and do happen anywhere and we shouldn't let the fact that it is generally quieter here than many other places convince us otherwise. It is not as if there is a fence round the place or anything to stop undesirables living in the area.
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Monday, 06 November, 2006 - 01:04 pm:   

Yes we know there was a positive outcome but I'd hate the slight tone of flippancy in some of the comments to detract from how frightening this episode must have been for those on that train.

Although I can see it's well-meaning, there is a tendency on these boards to play down anything unpleasant that happens locally. I've also had trouble summoning interest from the British Transport Police following another incident so these issues do need to be brought out in the open.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Monday, 06 November, 2006 - 01:19 pm:   

Yes, they were arrested, but not after considerable effort from the public, it would seem. Swimmer's story does not surprise me and I agree entirely with the experience with local police.

I called the police a few weeks ago when there was an altercation in Devonshire Road one morning on my way into work- I was walking past- two vehicles could not not pass each other and no one was prepared to give in, so both drivers got out and started punching each other. The traffic snarled up behind each car, and the South Circular was obstructed completely as cars had tried to turn in and had been obstructed. I was walking past and was only inches away from the ' fight'. I called the police.
' (Question 1)What is the ethnic origin of these two men.'
Answer' I don't really, know, both were pale complexioned. Whats that got to do with anything, you need to get someone here now'.
'Madam, I can't send anyone out if you do not give me full details including vehicle registation numbers.
Answer,' What full details do you need? I've just walked away as I did not want to get in the way of the fight, and cannot see the vehicle reg from here.However I can still see that these blokes are intent on doing some damage to each other'.

'Madam, we cannot assist in this matter if you are unwilling to assist us'.

Needless to say I hung up at that point. Enough said.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Monday, 06 November, 2006 - 01:54 pm:   

Well I had a very good experience on the one occassion I required their service.
Upon finding our house broken into by petty thieves my wife called the police scared that someone was still inside. She had to only provide the address and they arrived within 4 minutes and stayed with her until I was able to get back from town.
Very professional and courteous.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Monday, 06 November, 2006 - 06:28 pm:   

In council last week the Mayor was asked for an update on his 'Safer Stations' campaign.

There appears to be nothing relating to Southern railways, but there may be schemes already in place.

Last month British Transport Police opened a police station at Lewisham. The Mayor states their presence will improve their capacity to respond to crime and anti social behaviour on stations and the local rail network.

It is unclear from the answer if the BTP at Lewisham serve all stations in the borough.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Monday, 06 November, 2006 - 10:59 pm:   

I had a curious reacion from our police some years ago. When I called to report an assault and could tell them who did it, they said it was their policy to take no action in cases where the assailant was identified!
Obviously if I could not tell them who had done it, they would have told me that they were unable to take any action.

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