Phone gangs snatched £25k of hi-tech kit in crime spree

GANGS of thieves stole more than £25,000 worth of mobile phones during a festive crime spree.

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More than £25,000 worth of mobiles were stolen in a crime spree

A four-week blitz saw gangs target customers at busy pubs, clubs and restaurants in the city centre.

In December, 120 mobile phones, including iPhones, Blackberries and other smart phones, were snatched during a spate of thefts.

There were also 83 other thefts of property, including tablet computers, handbags, purses and wallets.

Police revealed 133 of these incidents took place within licensed premises.

Inspector Stuart Simpson today urged people to be on their guard after the spate of thefts.

He said: "With the rise in the value of mobile phones, and the increasing use of other mobile electronic equipment such as iPads and Kindles, theft of such items is on the increase.

"While we are working hard to identify those persons responsible for these thefts, owners could take better care of their property.

"People would not leave £500 cash lying unattended on a table, yet they regularly leave expensive items lying unattended.

"Following simple safety precautions, such as keeping a phone in a closed handbag or pocket, can save a loss.

"Together we can work towards ensuring that Glasgow continues to remain a safe place to live, work and visit."

Opportunist thieves targeted festive revellers in the city centre, as well as those waiting in shop, bus and taxi queues.

It is believed thieves operated in groups or pairs and used diversionary tactics, such as trying to engage people in conversation, while the other thief grabbed the mobile phone.

Inspector Simpson, who is based at Stewart Street Police Office, added: "As well as unattended items being stolen, we have seen an increase in distraction thefts and 'bag dips'.

"Distraction thefts tend to involve someone engaging them in conversation, or trying to sell them something, while they or an accomplice remove their property from their bag or pocket.

"They also take advantage of busy areas, such as public transport or shop queues to 'dip' bags.

"I would urge people to take precautions, such as not leaving their mobile phones, laptops, tablets or any other valuables unattended and in clear view of thieves."

For further information on how to secure your mobile, visit the UK National Property Security register site, www.immobilise.com

Anyone with any information on the thefts is asked to contact Strathclyde Police on 0141 532 2000.

rebecca.gray@ heraldandtimes.co.uk

Burglary

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