West London secondhand mobile dealer Galaxy was shut down and five staff arrested last month after being found in possession of stolen handsets.
The owner of the Shepherd’s Bush dealership and three other staffers were arrested after being found in possession of 2,000 stolen handsets, in total worth around £250,000. The handsets were due to be shipped to Algeria, where the handsets could fetch up to four times their UK value.
Police previously intercepted a batch of 340 phones on June 9 that was en route also to Algeria. Officers found 115 handsets were blocked or listed as lost or stolen.
Galaxy was then raided by the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU) on October 21, where the 2,000 handsets were found, ready for shipment. Most were from residential burglaries and London street robberies.
Galaxy was also found in possession of illegal reprogramming equipment which is used to change the IMEI of handsets to erase the identity a device.
Meanwhile, NMPCU operations have succeeding at recouping £37,796.64 as the proceeds from the sale of stolen handsets from three convicted thieves.
The trio was also ordered to pay combined court costs of £10,500, the Thames Magistrates Court heard on October 20. The suspects were staffers at a mobile dealer in Bethnal Green.
Five men were arrested on June 16, 2006 for handling stolen goods, with around £38,000 in cash seized from the sale of those goods. Three were found guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court March 28, 2008.
The NMPCU’s Martin Ford said: “This is a significant result in terms of serious acquisitive crime in the capital. The export of phones stolen and exported for profit by criminal networks also causes distress to the victims.”