Pickpocket jailed after stealing from Norfolk woman on London Underground

A man who used a newspaper to cover his hands as he stole from a Norfolk woman's handbags on the London Underground has been jailed, following a British Transport Police (BTP) investigation.

Arturs Namnieks, 35, of no fixed address, appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court on Wednesday, October 16.

He was sentenced to a total of 12 months in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of theft and four counts of breaching an Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO).

Namnieks pickpocketed a string of women, including a 22-year-old from the Great Yarmouth area.

He committed the first theft around 5pm on Saturday, August 3 at Baker Street London Underground station.

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The court heard that the victim, a 30-year-old woman from Southwark, was making her way from the Jubilee line platform towards the exit.

While the woman stood on the escalator, Namnieks used a newspaper to disguise his actions while he stole her mobile phone from her handbag.

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Namnieks committed the second offence around 8.30pm on Thursday, September 5 at Stockwell underground station.

The 31-year-old victim, from Wandsworth, was boarding a southbound Northern line train when she felt a tugging on her handbag.

Namnieks was standing directly behind her and was using a newspaper to cover his face. He had stolen her mobile phone and immediately left the platform.

Around 5pm the following day, Namnieks struck again at London Bridge underground station.

The victim, a 22-year-old woman from the Great Yarmouth area, was standing on the northbound Northern line platform and Namnieks was stood closely behind her.

As she boarded the train, Namnieks stole her mobile phone from her handbag and remained on the platform.

On Friday, September 27 plain clothes BTP officers were patrolling the northbound Victoria line platform at Victoria underground station.

Namnieks stood next to one of the officers, who recognised him as the man wanted for theft.

Namnieks was immediately arrested and taken to a London police station, where he was further arrested for breaching an ASBO at the time of the offences.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Constable Elaine Sexton, the investigating officer, said: 'Arturs Namnieks was a prolific pickpocket who used the busy environment and 'concealed hand' tactic to get close to his victims in order to dip into their bags.

'I hope his prison sentence sends a clear message that theft will not be tolerated.'

The appeal follows the launch of Operation Magnum earlier this year – the campaign to help Tube and rail passengers keep valuables safe from pickpockets, gadget-grabbers and luggage thieves.

DC Sexton added: 'As part of the initiative, officers have issued video clips on the Op Magnum website to help the travelling public spot the 13 most common tricks thieves use.

'Our pickpocket squad officers are always out on patrol in plain clothes across the Tube network and arrest these types of offenders every day.

'There are also lots of things that the public can do to protect themselves from becoming a victim of theft.

'Remember to always zip up any hand or shoulder bags, carry wallets in an inside pocket and stay alert to what's going on around you.'

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