POLICE are investigating a spate of scooter robberies, in which riders have been surrounded and forced off their bikes.

There were three such incidents across south-west London last week, including one in which a 17-year old mechanic was threatened with a ball hammer.

The victim was targeted on June 23 at 4.45pm as he rode along Fulham Palace Road towards Putney Bridge. He saw another scooter heading towards him, which did a U-turn and began to follow him. They pulled up beside him and while both mopeds were moving, the pillion passenger attempted to make conversation. Then he told him to get off his moped but he refused and kept riding.

As he drove along Richmond Road the other bike caught up with him. The pillion rider threatened him with a ball hammer that he produced from his top.

When they turned into Queen's Ride the passenger twice leaned over and tried to grab his keys, but failed.

The victim managed to pull onto the driveway at 4 Queen's Ride and ran up to the house, but there was no one in.

The driver of the other bike approached him and threatened him with the hammer, demanding his helmet and scooter. He did as they said and was left stranded as they rode away towards Putney Bridge.

There were two similar incidents near Hospital Bridge Road last week. On June 20 at 4.30pm an 18 year old was surrounded by three other mopeds and was told to get off his scooter as he sat at traffic lights on the A316. He felt threatened and drove away from the group, travelling the wrong way around a major roundabout.

They caught up with him and again surrounded him until he got off and they escaped with his bike.

A friend of his also had his moped stolen by the same group shortly afterwards. The youths were all aged about 17 and white, one was wearing a silver Simpsons helmet.

Two days later at 10.50am, police were called to the junction with Percy Road following reports of men on scooters fighting. A 25-year-old male on a blue and white Yamaha was set upon by two men on scooters as he waited at traffic lights. They pushed him from his bike as the two men fought with him for his keys.

The victim's friend stepped in to help. But one of the males managed to get hold of the keys and they ran off towards the A316.