Islington man arrested for charging iPhone on overground train

Robin Lee, an Islington based artist was arrested for charging his iPhone from an overground train p

Robin Lee, an Islington based artist was arrested for charging his iPhone from an overground train plug socket - Credit: Archant

Artist Robin Lee was told he was “abstracting electricity” after he plugged his iPhone in to a train phone socket whilst travelling from Hackney to Camden

Robin Lee, 45, who lives in the Hillmarton conservation area, N7, was handcuffed and held in a British Transport Police station on Caledonian Road for 40 minutes after plugging his iPhone into a plug socket on Friday July 10.

Mr Lee was first confronted by a police community support officer whilst aboard the overground train from Hackney Wick to Camden Road when she observed him charging his iPhone in one of the train’s plug sockets, and told him he was “stealing electricity.”

After leaving the train at Camden Road station, the female officer followed him and told four officers on the platform “This guy’s been abstracting electricity, he needs to be arrested,”

Mr Lee was then handcuffed and taken outside the station and put into a caged police van, before being taken to the BTP station.

He was later de-arrested for the offence and then later re-arrested for ‘inappropriate behaviour,’

Abstracting electricity is an offence under section 13 of the Theft Act 1968. It carries a maximum custodial sentence of five years.

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Speaking to The Gazette, Mr Lee said that “There were no clear signs next to the plug socket stating that they were reserved for cleaner use only.

“The officers themselves were just rude throughout and one of them was very obnoxious. It was a clear waste of everyone’s time, it was ridiculous.”

Despite his arrest, Mr Lee urged other train users to use train plug sockets “and challenge police who say you can’t.”

He said: “At the end of the day, I’d react in exactly the same way again. I wasn’t stealing electricity because I paid my fare, so it’s not costing the train company anything extra.”

A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesman said:

“On Friday, 10 July, a Police Community Support Officer challenged a man onboard a London Overground train over his use of a plug socket.

“The PCSO called for assistance when the man became aggressive and BTP officers met the train at Camden Road Overground station.

“At approximately 3.30pm, a 45-year-old man from Islington was arrested on suspicion of abstracting electricity, for which he was de-arrested a short time later.

“He was further arrested for unacceptable behaviour and was reported for the offence and released.”