Extra cops bid to stop phone thefts at gigs

EXTRA police ­officers have been drafted in to patrol Glasgow music ­venues in a bid to stop gangs of thieves.

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Police today warned that organised criminals are stealing top-of-the-range phones from city music venues.

Officers believe the gangs are travelling the country and following certain bands throughout the UK.

Earlier this month, almost 20 phones were stolen from a gig at O2 ABC, in Sauchiehall Street.

Thieves also targeted the Arctic Monkey's gig at The Hydro and stole seven mobile phones.

Police said they had several reports of phones being stolen from city centre nightclubs, where gigs are taking place.

Officers have linked up with police forces across the UK, through the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU), to share intelligence.

PC Stephen McAllister said: "It is apparent that there are organised crime groups targeting concert venues throughout the UK.

"We regularly receive intelligence on high-risk concerts and we then work closely with venues and organisers to make the event safer for concert goers.

"Officers will be placed in the vicinity of the venue and will ­liaise with security and staff at the venue.

"However, concert-goers need to take on board some personal safety tips, when ­attending concerts, to make themselves more of a "hard target" for thieves."

Hi-tech devices, including iPhones, BlackBerrys and other smartphones, are among those being nicked.

Currently, there is a market for stolen iPhones in Glasgow - and across the UK - with snatched handsets being quickly re-sold.

The latest Apple products retail at around £500. Blackberrys, iPads and other handheld electronic devices are also among the items stolen and sold on.

The Evening Times previously told how thieves stole more than £140,000 worth of mobile phones during a crime spree.

During a three-month long blitz, gangs targeted customers at busy pubs, clubs and restaurants in the city centre. More than 280 mobile phones were snatched during a spate of thefts.

Almost 60% of these incidents took place within licensed premises.

PC McAllister, who is based at Stewart Street Police Office, said: ­"Certain gigs are an ideal environment for pickpockets.

"It is also common for people to use their phones for videoing and taking photographs.

"However, we would urge people to take ­precautions when ­attending gigs.

"Keep your phones in front pockets, rather than rear pockets, or loose jacket pockets.

"Keep bags on your person, and ensure they are zipped closed.

"Watch out for suspicious people working the crowds and alert staff if you see anything of concern."

rebecca.gray@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Burglary

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