Thief gets three years after admitting �10,000 Islington stealing spree

A man has been caged for three years after admitting a stealing spree in which he snatched almost �10,000 worth of handbags, phones and laptops.

Ismail Lakehal, 38, pleaded guilty to 14 counts of theft in Islington between June and September – all from pubs, cafes and restaurants within a stone’s throw of Angel Tube Station.

Lakehal, of Woodford Road, Redbridge, stole two handbags and contents worth more than �1,000 from the York, in Islington high Street and two more worth over �2,000 from the Slug and Lettuce, in Islington Green.

He also snatched more bags worth around �1,250 from the Wenlock and Essex, in Essex Road and goods from Starbucks and the Angel, in Islington High Street, The Winchester, in Essex Road, Tortilla, the Bull and the Steam Passage, in Upper Street and McDonald’s, in Highbury Corner.

Over the summer, police issued stark warnings about the so-called ‘table-surfing’ crime wave sweeping the Islington area after 45 incidents took place in one weekend.

The criminal walks past a victim who has left their bag or phone on the table, and either swipes the phone, or approaches with a map or a copy of the big issue and places is it over the valuable.

When they leave they then pick up the map or magazine and take their booty with it.

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Lakehal was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on November 8.