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Thieves target train-goers' gadgets

Tuesday August 13th 2013

Increasingly active pickpocketing gangs with a growing taste for gadgets have sent the theft of train travellers' property soaring, according to new figures.

British Transport Police (BTP) say the 16% increase in 2012/13 came despite a ninth successive annual fall in overall crime on the railways and was due largely to a rise in the number of incidents in and around London, with more smartphones and tablets being stolen from commuters.

Violence against the person also increased - by 2.5% -- for the first time in six years but overall the number of offences on the UK's rail network dropped by 2% compared to 2011/12.

The number of sexual offences reported dropped by 8.3% with criminal damage down 12.3% and the theft of railway property decreasing by 18.9%. That included the amount of cable theft, a crime which disrupts the rail network, plunging by almost half (47%) following a 13% drop last year, BTP reported.

BTP chief constable Andy Trotter said the force's performance had been "very good", adding: "Increases in theft of passenger property, particularly those targeting smartphones and tablets, reflect the growing problem throughout London and the UK."

Copyright Press Association 2013