A 16-year-old boy with autism was beaten up and mugged at knifepoint with thieves taking his money he had received for Christmas and his birthday.
The attack was one of five park robberies reported in just three days where a group, all around 18-years-old, have used knives to threaten victims and steal cash, electronics and a mountain bike.
Harry was walking through Parr Fold Park at 6pm in Walkden, Salford, when two men approached him , one smacked him in the face and the other punched him.
They threatened him with a kitchen knife and demanded the £350 that he had in his rucksack from Christmas and his birthday.
He had to wait until he was home to tell his family about the attack as he did not have his phone on him.
His mum, Lisa, told the Manchester Evening News the attack on January 5 left her ‘heartbroken’ and worried about the knife.
She said: ‘It just hurts me. Your stomach flips like nothing I’ve ever felt before.
‘If they stabbed him, he had no phone and it was dark. He could have been left there to die.
‘They could have stabbed him… and over what? A bit of money? His life is priceless.’
One of the attackers was wearing a grey hoodie, the other was wearing a black hoodie and both were wearing black face masks.
Just over an hour before Harry was mugged a different teenager was assaulted on the cycle path and his headphones were taken.
The next day a group with the same description pulled a knife on 17-year-old Matthew Bennett and a friend at about 4.30pm.
The thieves made the boys empty their pockets and took Matthew’s wallet which had £300 of Christmas money in it.
His mum Mary Bennett said the Bolton College pupil had not left the house since the attack.
She said: ‘He’s 17-years-old, I think it’s hurt his pride more than anything.
‘He’s shaken up saying “I should have done this, I should have done that”.
Two of the group were wearing black tracksuits and black masks while one wore a grey tracksuit and had a shaved head.
Just last night thieves stole a 33-year-old woman’s blue mountain bike from her while she was in the park.
The thieves arrived on a moped and a bike and then ran away towards Walkden Road.
Greater Manchester Police’s Inspector Katie Allen urged the public not to make plans to patrol the park themselves.
She said: ‘These incidents are extremely distressing for those involved and local officers are carrying out a number of enquiries.
‘It’s extremely disappointing to receive these reports in a time where people are simply trying to enjoy the fresh air in a local park during a nationwide lockdown.
‘We’re aware that local residents are planning to attend the park to conduct their own patrols and though we appreciate their concerns and it’s with the best intentions, I would strongly advise against this for the sake of our on-going investigation and their safety.
‘An investigation into these robberies is on-going and I would ask anyone with information to get in touch as any information may assist with our enquiries.’
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