back to article Met Police vid: HIDE your mobes. Pavement BIKER cutpurses on the loose

The Metropolitan Police have put out a video showing just how easy it is to steal a mobile telephone, as long as one has a scooter and a mate to go pillion. The video demonstrates three grabs, caught on CCTV cameras and shared with the public to help them see just how easy it is to lose a mobile phone, at least until the …


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  1. Magnus_Pym

    "The global list of stolen devices is maintained by the GSMA"

    Except most UK providers (IME) can't be bothered to ask your name let alone the details required to lock the phone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Most phones also come with an off button.

      Flick the phone off and then sell it on to your mate at the kebab shop, it will end up in 'somewheristan' where they don't bother with IMEI blocks.

  2. MJI Silver badge

    Youtube broken

    Can't view it.

    But can't you just kick these Po's off their "coota". (Anyone understand this reference - you will if your children are teenagers)

    I mean they are small and get called stinkwheels so lay into them!

    I would!

    All bikers know the only acceptable step through is the Honda C50/C70/C90 series.

    1. Richard_L

      Re: Youtube broken

      Can't view it either. I get the YouTube error:

      "We're sorry...

      ... but your computer or network may be sending automated queries. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now."

      If I go to direct to YouTube in another tab, videos play just fine. I wonder if it is something to do with the stupid video player skin that The Reg have? I often have problems playing the vids in their articles.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Youtube broken

        Try this:

    2. JulianB

      Re: Youtube broken

      An upvote for (almost) pointing out that scooter riders are not bikers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Youtube broken

        > scooter riders are not bikers.

        Neither are most motorcyclists.

        What's yer point, caller? Two-wheeled vehicle users are all vulnerable road users and should stick together, not get into petty squabbles over who is most "righteous".

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: not get into petty squabbles over who is most "righteous".

          Welcome to the Internet, where petty squabbles are the order of the day, all day, every day.

          1. Michael 28

            Re: not get into petty squabbles over who is most "righteous".

            ...Prejudice against Unicycle riders? Meh, but... How embarrassing would it be to get mugged by one, though?.

            Mine's the clown suit/Mime outfit.

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Youtube broken

          I think I like the Ogri method of dressing as a Policeman for fancy dress and ordering a scooter owner to dump it in the docks (AFAIR)

      2. Don Jefe

        Re: Youtube broken

        Strangely, here in the States the Harley riding crowd refers to their motorcycles as scooters. They've done it for decades, and I believe it may be the same type of 'irony' the Hipsters use today.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hooray, another publicity campaign from the Met telling us that its our fault if we're victims of crime. How about a campaign telling criminals that if they go around mugging people they'll get locked up? Oh, but implementing that would involve the police actually leaving their stations.

    1. Lusty

      "Oh, but implementing that would involve the police actually leaving their stations."

      The police catch plenty of criminals. It's the lawyers that keep them on the streets.

      1. JimmyPage


        I bet you talk about "loopholes" too.

        Currently, in our criminal justice system, it is up to the state to prove "beyond reasonable doubt" that a person is guilty of a crime. If they can't do that the person goes free. Why do you blame their lawyer for doing their job. Why not blame the CPS lawyers for NOT doing theirs.

        Blaming defence lawyers for successfully defending their clients is akin to blaming a winning team for the fact the other side lost. "Why, it's Manchester Uniteds fault for scoring more goals that Fulchester City lost."

        1. Lusty

          Re: @Lusty

          Having worked in a law firm dealing with exactly these things, I was simply putting forward the view of the lawyers I worked with whose job it was to keep these people out of jail. Often they are fully aware of the re-offending nature of the criminal and of the clear guilt of them, yet it is their job and duty to reduce sentences and attempt to help in any way they can. Although our legal system is "fair" it does mean that keeping criminals off the streets is almost impossible for smaller crimes such as these, and the police could be standing on every street corner and be no more effective.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Lusty

          "Currently, in our criminal justice system, it is up to the state to prove "beyond reasonable doubt" that a person is guilty of a crime."

          Ah no it isn't. It is up to you to prove your innocence. Ask anyone accused of copyright infringement, terrorism, child molestation etc etc.

          The old law is out, new law is in. And even if you do prove you are innocent, the papers will scream "Technicality!" and you will be hounded by vigilantes ever more.

          If, however, you evade a few billion in taxes you can get off completely free just by schoozing the correct people. The rich are above the law. Again.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Time was...

        ... when the police would give someone a right good thumping at the station. It saved on lawyers' fees and was supposedly effective. That is mostly gone now I believe (and a good thing too) but nothing as effective has been put in its place. Locking people up is a staggeringly ineffective measure as a general deterrent.

        The problem is a lazy social/political system, not lazy police.

        1. wikkity

          Re: Locking people up is a staggeringly ineffective measure

          I don't believe it is. What is ineffective is NOT locking people up at all or for long enough.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Locking people up is a staggeringly ineffective measure

            I don't believe it is. What is ineffective is NOT locking people up at all or for long enough.

            What actually is ineffective is making broad sweeping statements like that when you clearly don't have the first idea about criminology.

            Rehabilitation is the ideal. Locking people up should be seen as a way of keeping them from reoffending until we can be reasonably certain that they both seen the error of their ways, and also have an alternative to a lifestyle of crime. Putting people in gaol indefintely achieves only the first of these (which for most people wouold probably be achieved by a very short custodial sentence), and costs a hell of a lot of money, potentially much greater than the cost of any crime they may have committed.

            Tackling the social inequality that leads to criminal behaviour is probably a much more efficient way of sorting things out in the long run. After all, if the governemnt weren't hell bent on demonising the poor and forcing people into further poverty, we probably would see less opportunistic and petty crime committed by those with little alternative.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Locking people up @Loyal Commenter

              "Tackling the social inequality that leads to criminal behaviour is probably a much more efficient way of sorting things out in the long run. After all, if the governemnt weren't hell bent on demonising the poor and forcing people into further poverty, we probably would see less opportunistic and petty crime committed by those with little alternative."

              Bollocks, bollocks, and thrice bollocks. Crime is not "of necessity" in the age of the welfare state, it is a matter of choice, not to pay for food or housing, but to get stuff that the welfare state won't pay for (drugs, booze, and technology trinkets, primarily). I can't speak for your grandparents, but mine weren't well off, but they didn't steal, because they had a moral code and adhered to it; Most of the poor today don't steal either, for the same reason. If it were about food for survival, then there'd be a problem with shoplifting of vegetables: Funnily enough that's not the stuff that shops need to put alarms on.

              But there's certainly a slice of the population who are criminals, often members of extended inbred criminal families (I know, my wife has to deal with these scum, and the "inbred" reference isn't an insult, it's a matter of fact), and regardless of how much money they have, they are still going to be criminals. Some of these people are still dealing drugs, abusing their kids and partners, and stealing even though they've somehow or other managed to get themselves a mortgage and five bedroomed detached house. The continued criminality worldwide of people who've got more money than they know what to do with (drug lords, serial fraudsters, oligarchs) likewise shows that being a criminal isn't cured by these bastards having money.

              So, to summarise:

              Being poor doesn't force you to be a crim

              Crims aren't stealing out of necessity

              Being rich doesn't cure crims

              We'd all agree that rich criminals are the minority, but your pathetic suggestion that the government force people into criminality by being insufficiently generous is the most appalling, wilfully misguided shite I've seen posted here in a long time.

              Just for fun, let's turn things on their head for a moment, and decide that you're right, and the problem is destitution and government oppression. Given that the IFS expect government to spend £214 billion quid a year on "welfare" next year, or £7k per year per average tax payer, exactly how much more would you think that we should contribute to buy the criminals out of their habits, and where will the extra money come from?

            2. xenny

              Re: Locking people up is a staggeringly ineffective measure

              Rehabilitation of offenders is remarkably infrequently successful for many classes of offender.

              Locking people up works fine. I'm pretty sure that if we then outsourced the prisons to somewhere cheap, it'd not cost much to keep people locked up indefinitely, and offending would fall precipitously after a few fly on the wall documentaries.

      3. Don Jefe

        The police catch plenty of people they want to be criminals, but the actual Justice system doesn't agree with them. There's a real problem with police targeting the easy arrests but they can't be bothered to actually move around and think about the better uses of their efforts. Institutionalized laziness and metrics gaming is the SOP for most all Western law enforcement agencies.

      4. Intractable Potsherd

        "The police catch plenty of criminals [citation needed]. It's the lawyers that keep them on the streets [citation needed."


        1. Intractable Potsherd

          Just noticed the missing closing bracket. Apologies.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Maharg
      Thumb Up

      Show film of muggings 'gone wrong'

      Totally agree, the police should run adverts just showing footage of incidents like this,

      If you don’t want to watch, it goes like this.

      1) Mugger knocks old man to ground and takes wallet

      2) Mugger runs towards waiting accomplice on bike

      3) Mugger is hit by accelerating car driven by witness to mugging and carried on bonnet

      4) Mugger tries to stagger away but is set on by driver of the car and other witness

      5) whole street joins in, including one middle aged lady who even throws a punch while still holding shopping

      6) Old man joins in beating of mugger as crowd hold mugger down still

      7) Police turn up mugger goes to hospital and then jail.

      Mind you this was in Argentina, I guess in the UK the driver of the car would get banned from driving and they would all be prosecuted for assaulting the mugger.

    4. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge


      Hooray, another person who things it's someone elses responsibility to keep them safe. How about a bit of personal responsibility AC?

      It's not like they're saying "don't go outside, you may be shot by a sniper in a random act of violence". They're showing you (well, trying - I can't ge the video either) how to use your own initiative to prevent a crime from occurring. How can you possibly have a problem with that?

      1. GrumpyOldMan

        Re: Hooray?

        Er - "..another person who things it's someone elses responsibility.." - grammar? Typo?

        Anyway - what am I supposed to do if I'm on a call, phone to my ear, and someone drives past and nicks it out of my hand?

        "Sorry mate - wasn't in a bag out of sight. Your fault."

        My wife's handbag strap is cut and they make off with her purse and phone. What's she supposed to do - hide the handbag? In what, exactly? Come on - get real!

        FWIW - I have a camera strap I hang a very expensive camera from. It has a steel cable running through it to combat against exactly this type of crime.

        Crims have a choice, the same as the rest of us.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hooray?

          Absolutely. My wife had her handbag snatched by a young man on a bicycle in the middle of a residential street on a Sunday afternoon. The bag strap got tangled around her shoulder and he dragged her down the street whilst kicking her in the head. What did the police do? Check local CCTV footage? Increase (or start doing) patrols around the area? No, they advised her to be more aware of her surroundings, added the incident to their stats and then forgot about it.

    5. Jim 59


      @AC crime prevention advice is not the same as telling you it is your fault for being a victim.

  4. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    No video for me - has it been stolen?

    i've tried Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Firefox in safe mode.

  5. Richard_L

    Link to the video

    For those who can't view the video embedded in the article, I think that this is it on YouTube.

    1. Jerky Jerk face

      Re: Link to the video

      Thank you - the reg player rarely works no matter the browser i pick. They should contact somone in IT :)

  6. John H Woods

    Surely ...

    ... as these incidents were caught on CCTV, the perps have already been apprehended?

    1. Graham Marsden

      Re: Surely ...

      Lol! That's a good one, tell us another...!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Surely ...

      Oh crap! ANOTHER irony meter broken!

      Anyone know of a good wholesaler?

  7. stu 4

    Why should I register 'right now' ?

    I don't see how that will change the chance of my phone being nicked by one iota ?

    So - they won't be able to use the phone - I don't see how that help me - they've still nicked it.

    Oh yeh 'if everyone did it blablabla'. well they don't - so that's pretty academic.

  8. Longrod_von_Hugendong

    Its time...

    to start having false looking mobiles that are blocks of explosive with a remote detonator... enough to remove hand and knock them off their bike should be enough. You would probably only have to do it once or twice and no more muggings.

    Although i do like the mugging gone wrong as well - i would probably do that with my SUV :D

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: Its time...

      I was thinking taser rather than explosives...

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its time...

      > to start having false looking mobiles that are blocks of explosive with a remote detonator...

      Does it make me a bad person to admit that this had occurred to me as well?

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Its time...

      Superglue seems worth trying, or very strong adhesive like "Gorilla Tape", but that doesn't come double-sided. And widely available "rape alarm" hardware. Then again, I think Poundland sells a plastic game-card case that would pass for a phone if the attacker doesn't have time to look closely.

      If this is how you like to spend your time...

  9. Lloyd

    A bit on the late side for this aren't they?

    These tactics have been employed by phone muggers since around 2000, I know, it happened to me outside CPFC in around 2003.

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: A bit on the late side for this aren't they?

      I remember reports from Italy in the 70s about scooter passengers with walking canes hooking handbags.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Video does not play

    As title.

  11. GrumpyOldMan


    Anyway - as far as tablets go, use software from the Prey Project or similar tracking ID system on your laptop/tablet/phone/PC - I have pretty much everything covered by it. There's plenty of ways to secure your stuff if not physically.

  12. plrndl

    Status Symbols

    Most smartphone owners regard their phone as a status symbol, and flash it as often as possible to impress those of lower status. Thus they become targets of the criminal sub-set of that fraternity. People who continue to flash status symbols in public will be the targets of criminals until such time as they learn more modest behaviour, and these's nothing that anyone else can do about this.

  13. Steve Evans


    After finally finding the correct youtube link - , all those videos tell me is how terrible the quality of CCTV is.

    You can't even read the registration plate letters which are 3 inches tall!

  14. JaitcH

    Ho Chi Minh City - biker snatch capital in VietNam (China worse)

    Here motorcycle riding thieves drive along sidewalks, even into some restaurants, and steal from fellow riders.

    Some solutions:

    (1) Walk opposite the flow of pedestrians;

    (2) Walk farthest from the kerb;

    (3) Put the bag strap around your neck AND under one arm with the bag on your lap;

    (4) Get a guitar string (wire) or a piano string (wire) and thread it THROUGH the strap, or have it sewn to the backside of the strap. Run it though the eyelet/catch and back up the strap for 10cm/4 inches then sew ends tight. You might need a leather workers help;

    (5) Do (4) with 'bum bag' belts as well as backpacks.

    Remember, pulling on a motorcyclists helmet is the quickest way to pull him over.

    1. xenny

      Re: Ho Chi Minh City - biker snatch capital in VietNam (China worse)

      Actually no, push forwards or backwards hard on a handlebar end is the quickest way.

  15. Joeman

    guaranteed the thief is carrying his own phone at the time of the theft, so all they need to do is track the one phone approaching the scene of the crime that goes away with the stolen phone!

    its not rocket science, but it would keep sales of new handsets down...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You think they would use the same preventative measures in Brazil..

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a little C4 should work

    So a bit of C4, and a fuse that starts when the owner calls a special number and enters a PIN CODE. (special HIGH POWER Cellphone service will keep redialling forever until answered)

    Small explosion and the thief is in need of immediate hospitalization or worse.


    A) Removes any doubt who the thief is (was)

    B) Administers immediate and unbiased justice (if you weren't guilty why did YOU blowup?)

    C) Serves as warning to all other criminals not to steal phones or recieve stolen property (See, I told you so)

    D) Has no continuing costs like incarceration does (No free healthcare for thieves either)

    E) Removes such thieves from the gene pool (Darwinian Evolution at it's finest)

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Great idea. I heartily approve removing someone's life because he deprived you of your shiny.

      So, all we need now is to solve

      F) Is illegal and immoral


      I'm all for terminal justice in case of rape, abusing children or murder. These are cases where the harm done cannot be undone.

      For thievery, there is no harm done that cannot be repaid by the thief. Strap him to a mallet and have him break rocks until he's repaid the shiny. That would be just, and effective.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ever see what the punishment for thievery is in some countries?

        Really, Pascal? A thief that drags an old woman by her hair or neck down a street behind a speeding motorcycle just to steal a bleeding cell phone deserves way harsher punishment (*) than what I proposed.

        Many have been killed or maimed by such thieves and thus they truly deserve the most severe punishments available. When you use a motor vehicle it makes the crime worse as no human can fend off something like that. They would have no such second thoughts about killing YOU Pascal. Cutting off their hands just makes them better beggars according to 99% of Mullahs surveyed.

        (*Yes, I meant being the moderator for the Register forums. )

      2. MrDamage Silver badge

        Oh yeah, great idea

        "Strap him to a mallet and have him break rocks until he's repaid the shiny."

        Help the thief get fit and muscular so he can graduate from snatch & grabs to violent muggings.

        I reckon the victim should be allowed to kick the perp in the bollocks an amount of times in proportion to the value of the object stolen. At least that way if the punishment doesnt make them change their ways, they wont be able to get on a scooter to repeat their crimes until the swelling goes down.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The third clip

    Is the scooter riding across the pavement OUTSIDE Highbury Magistrates Court back towards the Tesco Local!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's great we have so many cameras to stop crime, like in this case.

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