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Friday, 4 January, 2002, 19:33 GMT
Children mugged for mobile phones
Map locating the scene where the 40-strong gang attacked
A 10-year-old boy was held at gunpoint for a mobile phone and 25 in cash, police have revealed.

It has also emerged that ten other children were forced to hand over their phones by a 40-strong gang, in a separate incident.

The 10-year-old, Nathaniel Dias, was with two friends when the armed mugger threatened them.

Both incidents took place in south-east London.

These boys have been subjected to a terrifying ordeal by a ruthless attacker prepared to threaten children with a gun

Sean Yates, Metropolitan Police
News of these attacks come after a 19-year-old woman almost died in Walthamstow, east London, after a man shot her in the head after stealing her phone.

Before the gun incident, Nathaniel had been to a Barclays Bank cash machine just before going to a take-away restaurant where the attack took place.

The youngster, from Honor Oak, near Lewisham, said: "He showed me the gun. I was very scared and was in the corner of the shop shaking."

The robber threatened to shoot one of the other boys in the head unless they handed over their money, he said.

Nathaniel was forced to hand over 25 during the attack, which took place at Brockley Road in Lewisham.

Acting Detective Sergeant Sean Yates said: "These boys have been subjected to a terrifying ordeal by a ruthless attacker prepared to threaten children with a gun.

Map locating where Nathaniel Dias was attacked
Nathaniel was held up at a take-away restaurant
"This robber must be caught as soon as possible."

The boys were "shaken but unhurt", he said.

In the other incident the youngsters had just seen Lord of the Rings at the UCI cinema complex at Surrey Quays, near Rotherhithe, when the attack happened.

The gang threatened the youngsters and then searched them before making off with four mobile phones and their pocket money.

The youngsters were described as "very shocked and distressed" after their ordeal.

The gang of youths were all black and aged 14 to 18.

The three ringleaders of the gang were aged 14 or 15 and were wearing dark clothing including hoods or hats.

Appeals ignored

Detective Inspector Martin McInerney said: "This was a very unpleasant experience for a group of children attending their local cinema.

"There must have been many people in the vicinity."

It is understood one of the children ran to a adult during the robbery and begged for help but the person ran away.

The robber in the attack on Nathaniel, struck at 1530 GMT on 28 December, and is described as black, 5ft 10ins tall, of slim build and with a moustache.

He was wearing a black baseball cap, black jacket, black jeans and white trainers.

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See also:

04 Jan 02 | England
Phone gun victim back home
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