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Two Ilford pickpockets jailed after being caught red-handed by police in Westminster during anti-theft operation

PUBLISHED: 11:19 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:05 20 August 2019

Nicolae Dragomir and Violeta Petre have been jailed after they were caught by police pickpocketing in Westminster. Pictures: British Transport Police

Nicolae Dragomir and Violeta Petre have been jailed after they were caught by police pickpocketing in Westminster. Pictures: British Transport Police

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Two pickpockets from Ilford have been jailed for 12 weeks each after they were both caught trying to steal from people in Westminster during a police operation.

The British Transport Police (BTP) revealed Nicolae Dragomir, aged 34 from Staines Road, Ilford, and Violeta Petre, aged 22 and also from Staines Road, had both been convicted as a result of Operation Farrier earlier this month, which saw officers target the capital's prolific pickpockets.

Dragomir appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on August 13 and was handed a 12-week prison sentence after admitting a charge of attempted theft at Westminster Underground station.

Petre appeared at the same court the next day, and was handed a 12-week prison sentence after admitting a charge of attempted theft on Westminster Bridge.

She was also ordered to pay £122 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

All in all, 11 people were charged with theft related offences and eight other arrests were made during the week-long Operation Farrier.

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The action saw additional patrols on London's rail network by plain clothed officers who are experts at detecting and surveying those suspected of pickpocketing.

Uniformed teams were also on hand, providing handy advice to passengers on how they can keep their belongings safe from opportunistic thieves.

BTP Ch Insp Andy Wright said the week was "extremely successful" and "vitally important" to keeping people and belongings safe on London's rail network.

He added: "We're aware that some of these pickpockets are part of wider organised criminal gangs which operate across Europe.

"With each arrest we capture valuable intelligence and this helps us in identifying these gangs and how they operate before taking decisive actions to disrupt their criminal network in the capital."

Mandy McGregor, Transport for London's head of transport policing, was pleased to see the offenders brought to justice.

She added: "We know that thieves target public transport along with other busy places, which is why we are working with the BTP on operations like this, to target them and disrupt their activity, and give crime prevention advice to our customers.

"We'd like to remind all customers to keep an eye on their belongings and keep bags and rucksacks closed and report any suspicious behaviour to our staff or the police."

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