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More than 60 people arrested in phone theft crackdown on London rail network

British Transport Police officers at West Croydon train station (PA)
British Transport Police officers at West Croydon train station (PA)

More than 60 people were arrested last month by British Transport Police as the force carried out a wave of anti-robbery operations.

Police said they noticed a sharp increase in thefts across the rail network and launched a campaign to tackle the crime.

Between December 31 and February 3, Operation Invert led to the arrest of 64 individuals for various crimes, with 35 of those arrests specifically related to robbery.An early prosecution has seen serial phone snatcher Mahamadou Jawara, 22, of Newham, admit four counts of robbery and seven counts of theft.

He was sentenced to 20 months' imprisonment suspended for two years and to pay £2,200 in compensation.

In addition police officers seized 15 weapons that were being carried on the rail network and have charged two teenagers with robbery.

Operational lead, superintendent John Loveless said: “Tackling robbery on the rail network is a force priority and we have zero tolerance for these types of offences.

“We’ve had multiple Operation Invert deployments throughout January, and I'm pleased to see the number of arrests made as a result.

“We’re aware of the number of youth offenders involved in robbery and we’re continuing to explore the use of further preventative restrictions, such as criminal behaviour orders and youth rehabilitation orders, to ensure we are doing all we can to deter these offences.

“We are committed to tackling robbery and weapon possession on the network and we would like to reassure the public that this activity will be continuing going forward.”

As a result of action, two teenagers in Keighley, east Yorkshire, have pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and two counts of attempted robbery of other teens at Bingley railway station. The pair have been served with Youth Rehabilitation Orders.