Thefts of mopeds, scooters and divers other forms of motorised two-wheeled transportation are running at epidemic levels in London these days. The best efforts of the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Fence have as yet largely failed to stem the tide, prompting at least one angry civilian to take matters into his own hands.

Diners at popular biker hang-out North London’s Ace Cafe (nothing to do with the V&A, and clearly named before the word Ace connoted anything other than the name of a particular denomination of playing card) were shocked to see a flyer posted on their noticeboard by someone called Jack th’ Lad inviting fellow bikers to help him ‘sort out’ bike thieves.

The mysterious Jack, the owner or former owner, one suspects, of a Japanese maxi-scooter, perhaps an incongruous choice for a vigilante, is inviting bikers right across London – by means of posters such as that spotted at the Ace Cafe and via leaflets flyposted around the capital to ‘come Tmax hunting’ and, according to MCN, ‘catch these f*****s’.

What could that mysterious missing word be? Let’s see, begins with f, ends with s, seven letters… ferrets? fancies? fleeces? It’s quite beyond Bankstone news (perhaps readers could write in with suggestions). In any case it sounds like Jack is mad, at least in the American sense, and quite possibly in the traditional English mental-health related sense.

And speaking of English traditions, there is of course a long lineage folk heroes named Jack who’ve cut a lawless dash through this nation’s proud history: the trickster Jack o’ Kent who once outwitted the Devil himself, Jack in the Green, a kind of renegade Titchmarsh of yore, Jack the Giant Killer, at the nature of whose exploits you can probably hazard a guess, Spingheel Jack, the celebrated violent misogynist, and, of course, Jack Straw who championed the War on Referral Fees back in the day.

But if you’re thinking of sharpening the prongs of your pitchfork and firing up your pitch-soaked-rag-on-a stick torch, maybe don’t, because according to Superenforcer Mark Pain of the Met, you’d be better off leaving it to the boys in very dark blue and the might of Operation Fence because if you go after these Tmax filching ferrets yourself you could be putting yourself in danger and/or queering the pitch for the rozzers.

So, yeah, basically.


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