Woman, 86, faces down ‘motorcycle bandit’

An elderly female driver threatened by an extortionist dubbed “the motorcycle bandit” said yesterday that she had faced down the con artist.

Christine Farrington, 86, was targeted by the man, who demanded money after he claimed she had hit his bike two weeks ago, but stood her ground.

The retired schoolteacher said: “I wasn’t worried. I’m not the nervous type.”

Ms Farrington was driving in Smith’s when the motorcyclist “rode up alongside me and made me stop” on South Road, near the Harrington Hundreds supermarket.

She said: “He started shouting. He was very aggressive, saying, ‘I’m going to take you to court; you damaged my bike; you’d better give me money right now’. He was ranting and raving.

“I told him ‘I’ve never seen you, you’ll need to call the police and let them sort it out’.

“His attitude changed. He was waving his arms, telling me that he had my number and he was going to call me later.

“He said ‘You hit me and you’re giving me money’ and he had his hand out, but there was no way I was going to do that.”

Ms Farrington dismissed the incident, but reported it to police yesterday when she saw a report in The Royal Gazette on a spate of similar attacks.

The suspect, described as a man in his fifties on a white motorcycle, fitted the description of her would-be assailant.

Ms Farrington added: “If he is targeting anyone, he needs to be stopped, but especially if he is targeting seniors.”

A 76-year-old man, who asked not to be named, was threatened on Chaingate Hill in Devonshire after he left the nearby Lindo’s supermarket.

He said: “It goes back about six weeks. He followed me down Watlington Road. He was chasing after me, I was going at a reasonable speed. I pulled over on Chaingate Hill.

“He jumped off his bike and started shouting. He said I hit his bike and he had to go up on the pavement to avoid me, I kept listening because I knew there was no point arguing.

“This went on for a few minutes, he said he was going to the police and I told him to go ahead.

“I just kept calm. I knew I hadn’t hit his bike, I hadn’t heard anything.

“He said I’d damaged his bike, but he couldn’t show me anything.”

The man could not remember if the motorcyclist had demanded cash. He rode off after he was told to contact the police.

The victim said: “He must have been waiting outside the store for someone to go that way. When he drove off, it looked like there was another fellow who might have been helping him, who was on a bike as well, at the top of the hill.

“It seems strange that this is still going on. That was nearly two months ago.”

Last night, a police spokesman said similar incidents had happened on Par-la-Ville Road in Hamilton; in the car park of the A1 supermarket at Collectors Hill, Smith’s; on Cemetery Road, Pembroke; and on South Road, Smith’s, near St Mark’s Church.

Police warned the public about the fraudster, who they said had been sometimes successful in his demands for cash, on Tuesday.

Police said yesterday that a 47-year-old man had been arrested in connection with motorcycle-related offences and that he was expected to appear in court “in due course”.