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Police fail to act on moped phone snatch – even after ‘Find My iPhone’ traces device to Islington estate

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:54 20 November 2017

Police didn't help Stuart Hazeldine when he told them the exact location his iPhone could be. Picture: Stuart Hazeldine

Police didn't help Stuart Hazeldine when he told them the exact location his iPhone could be. Picture: Stuart Hazeldine

Archant

When Stuart Hazeldine became the latest moped phone snatch victim, he thought there was a good chance of getting the device back when the “Find My iPhone” app said it was in Elia Mews, Islington.

Find My iPhone: A model uses the app that allows users to track their phones if they are lost or stolen. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel Find My iPhone: A model uses the app that allows users to track their phones if they are lost or stolen. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel

But despite giving such a solid lead to police, officers didn’t act – and Stuart has now probably lost it forever.

Film director Stuart’s phone was stolen in Euston Road, opposite St Pancras station, at about 11.50pm on Thursday.

“I was 20 seconds away from an Uber picking me up,” he recalled, “and suddenly heard the ‘thrum’ of a moped engine behind me. The phone was straight out of my hands and the moped gone.

“When I got home, I went on my iPad and used the Find My iPhone app. It said the phone was in a small block of flats in Elia Mews in Islington [behind Angel station, off City Road].

After Stuart Hazeldine's iPhone was stolen by moped robbers, the Find My iPhone app showed its location in Elia Mews, Islington. But when he told police about this, they didn't investigate further. After Stuart Hazeldine's iPhone was stolen by moped robbers, the Find My iPhone app showed its location in Elia Mews, Islington. But when he told police about this, they didn't investigate further.

“I called police on 101 and was kept on hold for a long time. When I finally got through, I explained this to the operator and asked if police were going to act.

“She said: ‘That’s up to them.’ I asked: ‘Are they likely to go and do anything?’ She said: ‘To be honest, it’s unlikely it will be tonight or tomorrow.’”

The signal on the Find My iPhone app was dead within 24 hours.

Amid huge cuts Met budget cuts, it again calls into question the force’s ability to deal with Islington’s – and London’s – moped crime epidemic.

"When I called 101, the Met didn’t do anything in that first 24 hours. Moped crime is out of control, and police just don’t have the upper hand now."

Stuart Hazeldine

Stuart, of St John’s Wood, continued: “When I tweeted about it, a number of officers got in touch and have actually been very helpful. One from Hampstead took my details, and another from Camden passed my case to the Operation Attrition team [tasked with enforcing moped crime]. Those officers were great, very helpful and doing the best they can.

“But it just frustrates me that when I called 101, the Met didn’t do anything in that first 24 hours. Moped crime is out of control, and police just don’t have the upper hand now.”

Insp Steve Murfin, of Islington police station, fronted up: “I’m upset Stuart didn’t have a great experience of the 101 service. It’s great that he had a positive experience with the officers who got in touch on Twitter and dealt with him there.

“But there’s obviously an issue with 101 and I will take that back to someone at the call centre. Hopefully we can improve that because his experience is not something we can be happy with.”

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