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A prolific moped-enabled snatch offender who targeted pedestrians on their mobile phones has been jailed for more than three years.

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Cavell Hutson, 21, (17.07.95) of Highbury New Park, N5 was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on 3 October to three years and four months’ imprisonment. He received 32 months for 21 snatch thefts of mobile phones; eight months for dangerous driving and a £700 fine for breach of his Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO). He pleaded guilty to all offences. Both sentences will run consecutively.

Hutson came to the attention of the Met on the 3 September. He and an accomplice rode a moped with number plates from another vehicle on an hour-long theft-snatch crime spree between 13.00 and 14.00hrs across the boroughs of Camden (10 offences); Islington (three offences); Hackney (two offences) Westminster (five offences) and Tower Hamlets (one offence).

Officers from Operation Attrition, which is dedicated to tackling moped-enabled snatch offences on Islington, Camden and the City of London were mobilised. They were supported by a police helicopter, which spotted the moped, as it was ridden dangerously through the streets.

The helicopter followed the vehicle until it was abandoned in Kingsland Market in Hackney. The two suspects made off on foot in different directions, followed by officers on the ground.

Hutson was then spotted making his way through Kingsland Passage, a few streets away, where he was detained. A search found him with a total of 21 mobile phones, either about his person or discarded in a bag next to him. He was arrested for theft and once in custody was further arrested for breach of his CBO.

On 4 September, Hutson was charged with one theft offence and one count of breaching his CBO. He appeared in custody at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court and was granted conditional bail.

Op Attrition detectives identified the owners of all 21 of the stolen mobile phones, who provided statements and had their phones returned to them. Extremely good evidential CCTV footage was also obtained from the police helicopter.

On 7 September, Hutson was arrested again in relation to the investigation and charged with the remaining 20 theft offences as well as dangerous driving, driving with no insurance and driving not in accordance with a licence.

Hutson again appeared in custody at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court where he was granted conditional bail on 8 September and appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court on 3 October where he pleaded guilty to all offences.

Police are currently searching for Hutson’s accomplice and anyone with any information should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Heatley of Operation Attrition said: “Operation Attrition is committed to detecting, disrupting and arresting those involved in moped and motorcycle enabled crime. Police are working hard to keep the public safe and make the streets hostile territory for criminals who use mopeds, motorbikes and bicycles to snatch valuables from members of the public.

“This was an excellent result, which has seen a perpetrator of an audacious crime, which not only endangered members of the public but himself and his accomplice, receive a robust jail sentence.

“These criminals are often involved in a range of other offences. When we catch them we seek to bring far more serious charges against them, which reflect the organised nature of their crimes and ensure the sentencing powers available reflect the seriousness of the offending.”

Crime prevention advice:

– Be aware of your surroundings at all times and keep your personal property secure.

– Don’t text while you’re walking – you won’t notice potential thieves approaching.

– Use the security features on your phone

– Try going hands free or stand away from the roadside close to a wall so no one can come up behind you.

– Your phone comes with a range of security features, such as keypad locks and remote data wiping. Make sure they are all activated to stop thieves from accessing your phone and personal data.

– Know how to identify your phone if it’s stolen

– Find your IMEI number by dialling *#06# from your phone and keep a written note of it. If the phone is stolen, report it to the police and your mobile provider to stop it being used.

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