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Security : Distraction robberies in coffee shops, bars and restaurants

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One of the most common robberies that visitors are likely to come across are distraction ones. In Britain or London in particular , it is very unusual for people to go up to complete strangers and if you are approached be on your guard. It may be innocent but make sure you keep your valuables close by and don’t leave items such as mobile phones on the table. The following report shows some of the latest tactics:

The City of London Police is warning people who visit coffee shops, bars and restaurants to be mindful when leaving their valuables on tables. Thieves are purposely targeting customers by distracting them and stealing their mobile phones and other valuable items.

On 16 March a man entered a fast food chain restaurant on Cannon Street EC4, and stole a mobile phone from a table from where the victim was eating. He placed a prop on top of the mobile and engaged the victim in conversation. The suspect then distracted the victim by making hand gestures towards his mouth whilst at the same time picking up the mobile phone from under his prop. He then walked off with the victim’s mobile phone.

Since January there have been 32 distraction thefts in the City of London with 14 of these in coffee shops. There were eight thefts in bars and another eight in restaurants. There was one distraction theft in the street and another in an office.

The majority of distraction thefts are occurring between 11.30am and 3pm on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays.

The most common trick used by thieves is to place a prop, such as a map, on top of the item they want to steal on the table where the victim is sat. They then speak to the victim usually asking them for directions. This distracts the victim and the thief picks up the item hidden underneath the prop and walks out of the premises.

Another distraction technique used is when a thief squirts a liquid substance on their victim and pretends to help them clean it off. The thief then pats down the victim giving them access to pockets to steal wallets, phones and other items.

City of London Police Detective Inspector Doug Blackwood said: “Thieves will use all the tricks in the book to get their hands on people’s valuable items. They will visit several coffee shops, bars and restaurants and target people who leave their items, such as mobile phones on tables.

If you come across suspicious activity, report it to a uniformed officer in the street or in a police station.

101 is the Non emergency  number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.

Non emergency usually include: Stolen car, Laptop, Smartphones and mobile phone, Minor traffic collision , Property damage, Drug dealing.

You should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Security : Cash Machine Scams

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Unfortunately one of the more common crimes in London are related to cash machines. The following case follows the usual scenario of the criminal putting something in the cash machine to make it seem that it is stuck.  However  it does highlight that even if the criminal gets your card, it is far easier for them if they get your pin. People usually stand back from the person at the cash machine, if you have someone close to you and looking over your shoulder, cover the keyboard with your hand to prevent them seeing your pin.

Cash machine fraudster jailed for 12 months

A 41-year-old man has received a 12 month prison sentence after pleading guilty at the City of London Magistrates court (20 February) to a series of cash machine frauds in the City of London.

A man was arrested on 30 October 2014, by City of London Police officers after he was seen removing a card trap device also known as a Lebanese loop from a cash machine using a pair of tweezers at St Paul’s Churchyard. He was also found with seven more card traps on him.

Following his arrest, CCTV enquiries helped City of London Police officers identify the man committing several other thefts of bank cards from cash machines between 30 September 2014 and 31 October 2014.

The man worked with others, placing card trap devices onto cash machines. He would watch his victims as they attempted to withdraw cash and then discover that their cards were trapped in the machine. Following their departure from the machine he would retrieve the card from the machine and use their PIN number which he had seen them enter.

On six occasions the man used several stolen bank cards to withdraw £4373.84 in cash from the victim’s bank accounts.

City of London Police officer, Dominic Shaw said “ The man was very sophisticated in placing card trap devices on cash machines and shoulder surfing.

“Over a month’s period, he worked with others to fraudulently obtain thousands of pounds leaving the banks with a bill to pay to those who had their money stolen from their bank accounts.

“It would not have been possible to identify the man without the co-operation of all the banks involved. I would like to thank them for their assistance in helping us with our investigation.

“I would also like to remind people to always cover their PIN number when using a cash machine and to look over their shoulder to see if anyone is acting suspicious.

“If you see anything suspicious or believe a cash machine is being tampered with, please report to the police.” ​​​​​

If you come across suspicious activity, report it to a uniformed officer in the street or in a police station.

101 is the Non emergency  number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.

Non emergency usually include: Stolen car, Laptop, Smartphones and mobile phone, Minor traffic collision , Property damage, Drug dealing.

You should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Security : Police Impersonators

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One of the more unusual scams is criminals impersonating a police officer,  this report by the City of London police involves a case where the supposed police officer checks for counterfeit money.  This would never happen with real police officers who would be very careful in dealing with a visitors personal items especially cash and credit cards. If you were suspected of a crime, the usual routine would be you would be taken to the local police station. Plain clothes policeman should have identification and must show it if they want to carry out a search. If you are approached by a policeman in this type of case and are suspicious, demand to be taken to the local station or find a uniformed officer before you give any items over to the person.

Police impersonator who stole from London’s tourists sentenced to ten months in jail

The man was part of an organised crime group who targeted victims by posing as tourists and police officers.One of the gang would pose as a fake tourist and then approach a genuine tourist asking for directions using a map. This encounter gave an opportunity for a fake police officer to intervene so that he can then search the genuine tourist for counterfeit money.

The police impersonator uses a UV torch to scan over cash and will use an official identity card as a fake warrant card. During the search, the fake officer will take items such as cash, identity cards, bank cards, personal items and sometimes demand the victims pin for their bank cards.

On 28 January 2014 City of London Police officers arrested the man on suspicion of going equipped to steal. He was dressed in smart clothes and was accompanied by another man impersonating a tourist, with a camera around his neck. Following a search by City of London Police officers the man was found in possession with an identity card in a black wallet alongside a photo card that flipped out of the main wallet giving the appearance of some type of official document.

He also had a small key ring style torch, a pair of Nokia mobile phone earphones that had one of the earphones removed which was dangling from an inside jacket pocket.

The camera was non functional and was believed to be a prop.

City of London Police Inspector Doug Blackwood Said, “These men deliberately preyed on innocent tourists who were not familiar with police procedures in the UK. This made them easy targets to this type of scam.

“What was meant to be an enjoyable and unforgettable visit to London had instead turned out to be a nightmare for many of the victims. They left London with the memory of the man stealing their money and personal belongings.

“I hope today’s sentencing acts as a warning to those predators who wish to come into the City and prey on innocent victims. ​​​​​​

If you come across suspicious activity, report it to a uniformed officer in the street or in a police station.

101 is the Non emergency  number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.

Non emergency usually include: Stolen car, Laptop, Smartphones and mobile phone, Minor traffic collision , Property damage, Drug dealing.

You should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here