Over the last several weeks, officers from Westminster, Camden and Kensington & Chelsea Boroughs have been working collectively to tackle an organised network of distraction thieves. The group had been identified as responsible for numerous thefts of high value mobile phones across London & the South East, predominantly using the sale of greetings cards as a means to distract unsuspecting victims and steal their devices.
Following a protracted investigation (Operation PUCK), over 40 Met Police Officers, supported by Bedfordshire Police and Home Office Immigration, raided several houses in the Luton area on Friday 18th March 2016. As a result, three males were arrested, evidence recovered and 4 vehicles were seized for no insurance.
Following interviews, 2 adult males and a male juvenile were charged with conspiracy to steal. The two adults have now been remanded in custody pending trial whilst the juvenile has been released on court bail with conditions.
Chief Inspector Sean McDermid, Gold Commander for the policing operation, said “We are extremely pleased with the progress of this investigation and the outcome of the operation over the weekend. Results of the subsequent court case will be announced in due course”.
As well as highlighting this operation, the Met would like to take this opportunity to remind people how best to keep themselves and their property safe:
* Always be vigilant to those around you, and as far as possible, maintain your personal space
* Be careful not to advertise your valuables in public and where you keep them. Phones, watches and purses are commonly targeted by thieves.
* Do not leave mobile phones and other belongings unattended or on show on tables
* Be wary of unlicensed street traders and their true motives when trying to sell items to you
* If fitted, consider using ‘Chelsea Hooks’ to hang bags under restaurant or cafe tables and out of sight * Always register your electronic devices using Immobilise.com
* If available, activate any ‘tracking’ apps, for example FindMyPhone. Have your account details to hand should a theft occur * Always report anything suspicious to police via 101, or if more urgent via 999