Indian-Origin Pickpocket Gang Jailed Over London Tube Thefts

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Indian-Origin Pickpocket Gang Jailed Over London Tube Thefts

The operation began almost two-and-a-half years ago, resulting in the 11 being sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court in London last month.

London:  An 11-member highly-organised pickpocket gang, majority of which were of Indian-origin, have been jailed for a total of 30 years for amassing more than five million pounds by stealing smartphones on London's Underground tube network.

British Transport Police (BTP) discovered that Nawid Moshfiq was the ringleader of the gang which included Olia Moshiq, Paramijit Singh Kalra, 42, Harmet Bhatia, 24, Pritbal Bhatia, 55, Nirmohan Bhatia, 20, Ranjit Banger, 31, Mubarak Korasi, 41, Ahmed Raza, 28, Ariji Singh Sethi, 43, and Nirmohan Singh, 38.

More than 100 officers raided private properties and businesses in south-west London where more than a thousand smartphones and 143,000 pounds were seized as part of BTP's Operation Park.

The operation began almost two-and-a-half years ago, resulting in the 11 being sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court in London last month over two trials with conspiracy to handle stolen goods and money laundering offences.

"This was a long and complex investigation into a highly organised criminal gang who used stolen property from the rail network for their personal gain," said BTP Detective Chief Inspector John Justice.

"To truly tackle theft, we can't just catch pickpockets and petty thieves; we have to also dismantle the criminal networks behind them, who profit from this type of crime. Phones are often stolen out of view of CCTV in crowded carriages or busy stations without the owner even realising."

"This makes it hard for us to catch thieves in the act and even when we do, we often find they are only small players in much bigger criminal organisations."

The court heard how the gang worked strict "office hours" between 2pm and 10pm, earning almost 10,000 pounds a day nabbing mobile phones from commuters on the London Underground, known as Tube.

At one address, officers seized more than 23,000 pounds which had been hidden in different rooms of the house, including inside a child's jacket.

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