keep valuables safe from pickpockets and gadget-grabbers

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Op Magnum heralds crackdown on theft from rail passengers
Thursday, 26 March, marks Operation Magnum, a British Transport Police (BTP) Day of Action to help rail passengers keep valuables safe from pickpockets, gadget-grabbers and luggage thieves.


British Transport Police (BTP) officers are asking train passengers to help them further reduce theft on the rail network.

Op Magnum will see BTP officers disrupt and deter pickpockets who prey on unsuspecting commuters and tourists at busy stations, thieves who snatch expensive smartphones from distracted passengers’ hands and those who steal luggage and valuables on trains.

Videos featured on the Op Magnum website ( and the BTP YouTube channel show passengers the most common tricks thieves use, while crime prevention surgeries, like one held at Liverpool Lime Street station on the day, will see officers advising passengers on how to protect themselves from thieves.

The Day of Action comes as new official figures show that since April property thefts have fallen by 15.4 per cent across Britain’s rail network and by 11.1 per cent in the Pennine region.

Superintendent Jason Bunyard, leading the operation, said: “Thefts on the rail network are very rarely opportunistic; they are committed by determined thieves whose sole intention is to steal from other passengers.

“While crime on the rail network is down for the 10th successive year, theft of passenger property is an issue, particularly as a lot of the travelling public now carry high-tech devices.”

Officers use a range of tactics to create a really difficult environment for criminals to operate within, including intelligence-led patrols by uniformed officers and plain-clothes theft squad detectives.

Supt Bunyard added: “Always remember to keep your belongings close by and check on them regularly. Keep your valuables hidden and be aware of your surroundings when you board a train or tube. Always zip up any hand or shoulder bags.

“Mobile phones, tablets and laptops are a popular target for thieves so always keep them hidden. Installing a tracker application on your smart phone could help trace your device if the worst happens and it’s stolen.”

Tips for keeping your property safe on trains:

  • Keep purses secure and carry wallets in an inside pocket
  • Zip up hand and shoulder bags
  • Carry bags in front of you, with flaps against your body
  • Keep straps short and bags tucked under your arm
  • Don’t display jewellery, mobile phones and MP3 players
  • Don’t show your money – keep it safely in your pocket
  • Stay alert and aware of what’s going on around you when using your phone in public
  • Keep your luggage close by and check it regularly


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