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Two jailed for receiving stolen mobile phones after GPS data tracks devices to railway arch in Bethnal Green

PUBLISHED: 05:00 15 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:09 15 July 2018

Iftehar Ahmed (left) and Zakir Hossain... banged up for 17 years between them for receiving stolen mobile phones from violent burglaries. Picture source: Met Police

Iftehar Ahmed (left) and Zakir Hossain... banged up for 17 years between them for receiving stolen mobile phones from violent burglaries. Picture source: Met Police

MPS

Two men who used their east London shops to handle stolen mobile phones from a £1 million series of store burglaries were ironically traced by GPS mobile tracker data.

Vallance mini supermarket in a Bethnal Green railway arch where GPS signals located stolen mobile phones. Picture source: GoogleVallance mini supermarket in a Bethnal Green railway arch where GPS signals located stolen mobile phones. Picture source: Google

Now they have been jailed for a total of 17 years between them after the hooky phones were traced to Vallance mini supermarket and off-licence premises in Bethnal Green.

Store owner Iftehar Ahmed was caught by data on his own phone forensically examined by police and from GPS tracker data from devices he was handling which traced them to his premises in a railway arch in Dunbridge Street, off Vallance Road.

The data showed he had been calling members of a gang of 11 who carried out burglaries at mobile phone stores across east London and north London where the value of phones and tablets stolen and the damage caused to premises reached £1m.

The trail also led detectives to the A to Z phone service shop in Fulbourne Street off Whitechapel Road, owned by Ahmed with a business partner Zakir Hossain, where they found hand-written notes that corresponded with lists of stolen phones.

Ahmed was arrested at the Whitechapel shop. Hossain was arrested at Heathrow Airport when he returned from a trip to Bangladesh.

Most of the stolen phones handled by the conspirators were being shipped to Bangladesh, detectives discovered.

“This whole operation has dismantled a violent criminal gang,” Det Sgt Danny Watts said after the jail sentencing.

“The handlers worked together with the gang to target a chain of phone shops—they didn’t care about the violence inflicted on security staff or the damage caused to premises.”

Ahmed, 38, from Tarling Street in Shadwell, and fellow-conspirator Hossain, 41, from Hannibal Road in Stepney Green, got eight-and-a-half years each when they appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court on Friday. They had pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to receive stolen goods.

Ahmed’s brother-in-law Munna Miah drove a hired vehicle to transport the stolen goods between the gang’s addresses and the two shops in Bethnal Green and Whitechapel.

Miah, 31, was later arrested at his home in Manchester Road on the Isle of Dogs and received a suspended 16 month sentence and given 200 hours of unpaid work after admitting handling stolen goods.

The sentences follow the jailing of 11 men in December for a total of 118 years for 17 aggravated burglaries of mobile phone stores in 2016 when security staff were attacked.

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