LONDON — Katherine McKenna, a paramedic, is one of a growing number of victims of robberies and acid attacks in Britain in which the perpetrators use mopeds.

The 32-year-old’s phone was snatched when a scooter mounted a busy sidewalk on a street in central London late last month. She was about to respond to a call to help an elderly man who fell down some stairs.

“I was really shocked. I could not believe that it happened and I was angry,” McKenna, who works for the London Ambulance Service, said Friday.

The organization was appealing for witnesses at a time when moped-riding gangs are being blamed for helping to fuel the biggest rise in crime in England and Wales in a decade. Recent figures from Britain’s Office for National Statistics show police recorded nearly 5 million crimes in the year ending March 2017 — an annual rise of 10%.

The report said 41% of robberies reported to police occurred in London.

“Sadly this type of attack is common. They are hurting people; they are putting other people in danger on the roads and pavements but they are also a danger to themselves,” McKenna said. She said she has treated many people who have been seriously injured by moped-riding thieves. Often, they also injure themselves. 

The three thieves on two mopeds who targeted McKenna wore helmets that concealed their identities. They remain at large.

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Last month, hundreds of delivery riders on mopeds protested outside the U.K.’s Parliament after five acid attacks within a three-mile radius in London in just 90 minutes.

Two of the victims worked for the food delivery firms UberEATS and Deliveroo and were seriously injured. Another victim sustained life-changing injuries.

Jabed Hussain, one of the delivery drivers, was attacked with acid before his moped was stolen. He said many drivers were now refusing to work after 8 p.m. and others were looking to leave their jobs out of fear of more attacks.

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