London Underground thief using jacket to hide snatch has his collar felt

Jailed... London Underground pick-pocket Andrew Jones

Jailed... London Underground pick-pocket Andrew Jones - Credit: BTP

A pickpocket working the London Underground using his jacket to cover his slight of hand while stealing from his victims had his own collar felt—by Transport police.

Middle-aged Andrew Jones first stole a passenger’s Oyster card at the crowded Leicester Square tube station.

Then he slipped out of the station where the ‘chancer’ spotted a woman sitting at a coffee-shop with a friend with her shoulder-bag left unzipped on the ground.

He used his jacket to hide the snatch as he took the woman’s mini-computer tablet from the bag.

But the officers were on his coat-tail.

“We spotted him checking out passengers at the station,” Pol Sgt James Ashby said. “He was looking for prey, then moved onto the café where we saw him take the tablet—and arrested him there and then.”

Jones, 51, from Tottenham in north London, admitted two theft charges when he appeared at Blackfriars crown court on November 3, one for the Oyster card and the other for the £250 tablet belonging to the 40-year-old woman from Stepney.

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The luckless thief was slapped with two eight-month jail sentences, to run together.

British Transport Police are advising passengers to get the serial numbers of their mobile phones, tablets and laptops registered online.

They have now produced video clips to help spot the most common tricks used by thieves on the Underground, which can also be viewed online.

Tactics include:

The ‘easy dip’—taking advantage of busy stations and crowded trains to dip into their victim’s unzipped bag.

The ‘plucker’—taking advantage of a sleeping passenger to steal from them.

The ‘earlybird’—thief boarding a train at the start of the journey, picking out a bag and jumping off as the train pulls out.

The ‘blind-spot’—finding a ‘victim’ distracted trying to store luggage on a packed train who can’t keep an eye on their belongings.

Jones thought he was an ‘easy dip’ stealing the woman’s computer—but turned into an ‘easy collar’ for Transport cops.