British Transport Police believes the gang were making over £10,000 per day
Thieves (pictured) who made what police believe to be over £5 million stealing mobile phones on the Tube have been jailed for 30 years.
The gang of 11 earned nearly £10,000 a day pickpocketing phones from commuters on the London Underground.
Police had launched Operation Park in July 2013 to find the criminals following an increase of mobile phone thefts on the Tube. Operation Park involved over 100 police officers.
Enquiries led them to a business in East Ham, London, where the stolen handsets were being sold.
Officers also found a number of stolen mobiles and cash being stored in a facility in Southall.
Following the enquiries, police further raided private and commercial properties where they arrested thirteen people. Up to £143,000 in cash and a number of stolen phones were also recovered. One address had £23,000 worth of stolen handsets in different areas of the home.
The police arrested 11 people and charged them for crimes including conspiracy to handle stolen goods and money laundering offences. Those arrested were Nawid Moshfiq, Olia Moshfiq, Ahmed Raza, Ariji Singh Sethi, Paramijit Singh Karla, Ranjit Banger, Harmeet Bhatia, Mubarak Korasi, Nirmohan Singh, Pritbal Bhatia and Nirmohan Bhatia.
Detective chief inspector John Justice said: “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.”
“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 investigation shows how tirelessly we will work to bring these people before the courts and I welcome the sentences handed down to the defendants.”
The defendants were trialled at Blackfriars Crown Court over two separate trials this year. The first began on July 13 and concluded August 13. The second began November 16 and ended December 2.
They were all sentence with imprisonment ranging from 18 months to five years, totalling 30 years between them all.