Rail police crack down on passenger thefts

British Transport Police Sgt Rudy Tangle and PC Barry Calvert at Dewsbury Train Station. (d623c336)

British Transport Police Sgt Rudy Tangle and PC Barry Calvert at Dewsbury Train Station. (d623c336)

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Rail thieves beware – your tricks have been revealed.

British Transport Police (BTP) has revealed its crack down on thefts from train passengers, highlighting the scams used by pickpockets, so-called gadget-grabbers and luggage thieves.

Operation Magnum, which began in June, hopes to tackle the 16 per cent rise in theft at stations and on trains across Britain last year.

In the North East region, which includes Yorkshire, thefts increased by seven per cent.
Video clips on the BTP’s website show 13 of the most common tricks thieves use, from distraction techniques to snatching smartphones and other gadgets from passengers as they exit the train.

Passengers are also being helped to reigster with immobilise.com, which helps police reunite people with their lost or stolen gadgets.

Although in its early stages, research indicates Operation Magnum is having an impact, with thefts between June and August this year down 9.5 per cent compared to the same period last year.

And there was good news for passengers in North Kirklees – no thefts occured at three of its four stations last year, while crime has fallen at another.

Batley, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe stations were theft-free last year.
At Dewsbury, five incidents of theft were reported between January 1 and August 13 last year, while only only four passengers were stolen from in the same period this year.

One theft was reported at Mirfield station this year, but Batley and Ravensthorpe have maintained their theft-free records.

BTP Chief Supt Paul Brogden said: “Thefts on the rail network are very rarely opportunistic; they are committed by determined thieves whose sole intention is to steal from other passengers.

“While crime on the rail network is down for the ninth successive year, theft of passenger property has been a real challenge for us this year, particularly with the rise in thefts of smartphones and other high-tech devices.”