Table-surfing crimewave sweeping bars and caf�s in Islington

Police say they are a tackling a new table-surfing crimewave sweeping Islington.

Table surfing is a distraction- based theft that is becoming more common in busy bars and caf�s around Angel Tube, with up to 45 incidents taking place over a weekend.

People who leave their phone on a table while they are reading or using a tablet device are most at risk. The crook either walks past, swiping the phone as they go, or approaches the victim with a map or Big Issue and puts it over the phone.

When they leave, they pick up the map or magazine and take the phone with it.

Islington police recently launched a big operation to target table surfing, with large numbers of uniformed plain clothes officers, as well as surveillance.

They made nine arrests over the nineday period, and intend to repeat the operation as criminals will see the Olympic crowds as rich pickings.

Det Insp Simon Smith said: “The basic message, is don’t leave your phone on the table.

Most Read

“This goes on in caf�s as well as bars and on a busy night they can go from table to table, stealing phones in a single venue.

“A few of the people we have arrested are drug addicts, but mainly they are eastern European, sometimes from the same family or village, who see this as their job, and they are not going to stop.

“It is a rising problem in Islington and they are organised gangs.

‘‘We think they are coming here in preparation for the Olympics.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter