Women pushed in Birmingham canal by gang on bikes

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Sophie WatsonImage source, Sophie Watson
Image caption,
Cyclist Sophie Watson said she often wondered if she might fall into the canal, but did not expect to be pushed in

At least two women have been pushed into a canal by a gang of young men on bikes.

Sophie Watson was shoved into the water near the University of Birmingham as she cycled past the group on Friday evening.

Shortly afterwards, as she made her way home, she came across another woman who had also been pushed in.

Ms Watson was left bruised and shaken but otherwise unhurt. Police are investigating.

Police were called to a report of a cyclist being pushed into a canal between Five Ways and the university on Friday evening.

"We are also aware of reports on social media of other similar incidents and would urge anyone with information to get in touch with us," they said.

Officers in the neighbourhood teams will be working with other organisations including Canal Watch to offer support and reassurance to those using the city's canal networks.

'Cycled off laughing'

The 26-year-old said she often cycles along the route by the University of Birmingham and had been out alone for a leisure ride when it happened.

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She had been cycling towards the city centre when she saw up to ten boys on bikes approaching her.

"I went on the canal side to let them pass and the first one cycled past and said 'he's going to push you in'," she said.

"I think the sixth one pushed me in and they just cycled off laughing. There was a jogger in front of me but they didn't do anything to him, they politely went past him."

She said she was left with a large bruise on her bottom, from hitting the floor of the canal.

"It's a lot shallower than I thought," she said.

Image caption,
One of the incidents took place close to The Vale, near the University of Birmingham

She said she managed to retrieve her bike and carried on a short way where she came across another victim by The Vale student accommodation.

"I could see another woman, about my age, in tears and two cyclists helping her," she said. "She had been pushed in too.

"I am still a bit shocked by it all, but I've had a huge response to the incident on Twitter.

"I'm going to carry on cycling but I think I will avoid the canal for a bit. I'm worried they have targeted other women."

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