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New phone for Christmas? Keep yours safe from moped-riding phone thieves

Did you receive a smart phone or tablet for Christmas this year? If so, remember to keep your prized personal belongings close to you at all times when out in public.

This CCTV issued today by the City of London Police serves as a stark reminder to all phone users that phone thieves riding mopeds and motorbikes operate across parts of the capital.

If you are replying to a message or checking the news in the middle of the street, your phone could be gone in seconds. Where possible, avoid putting your phone on display and making it easy for thieves.

On Wednesday evening (29 December), we received reports of a spate of thefts and attempted thefts of mobile phones from members of the public who were targeted

This footage, filmed shortly after 6pm, shows a phone being snatched by two thieves riding a moped in Sun Street, EC2, before being dropped on the floor, allowing the owner to retrieve it. Seconds later, the bike then turns in the road and successfully snatches a further phone on the same street.

Seconds later, the pair are seen riding onto neighbouring Primrose Street and watching a woman use her phone before again unsuccessfully trying to snatch it from her hand. Luckily, she holds onto it. The thieves aren’t finished, however, promptly crossing the road and stealing another phone at the junction of Bishopsgate.

Minutes earlier in the evening, at 5.50pm, we also received reports of suspects on a moped snatching phones from victim’s hands in High Holborn and New Fetter Lane.

Two more similar crimes took place in the City on Tuesday, 3 January. At 2pm, two suspects on a moped attempted to steal a phone from a person in Fenchurch Street. Half an hour later, a member of the public was waiting to cross the road in Lombard Street when two people on a motorbike grabbed their phone from their hand and sped off.

The City of London Police is continuing to target this the trend as part of Operation Attrition, an ongoing joint campaign with the Metropolitan Police Service against two-wheel enabled crime such as mobile phone snatches by moped or motorbike riders.

Phone snatchers are taking advantage of people who often have their focus elsewhere while they walk around with their phones out, giving offenders on mopeds or bicycles the opportunity to snatch phones – sometimes using force to knock the phone out of the victim’s hands or assaulting the victim to take it.

If you see any suspicious activity or have any information about anyone involved in this crime, contact the City of London Police on 020 7601 2999 or on Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always call 999.

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