However, one prolific pickpocketing pest has found himself locked up for 30 months following a British Transport Police investigation.

Laurentiu-Valentin Trocan, of Parsloes Avenue, Dagenham appeared at the Old Bailey on 5 July where he was handed the imprisonment.

Trocan’s gluttonous actions were first reported to British Transport Police on 21 January this year, after a victim had a purse stolen at Piccadilly Circus station. The same day, the defendant also targeted another passenger at Holborn station, stealing a phone.

The following month, the 38-year-old was looking for his next victim. On 9 February, he stole a mobile phone and a quantity of cash from a passenger on a train between Leicester Square station and Russel Square.

Then on the 15 March, 18 March and he would steal items from other passengers on the London Underground at Tottenham Court Road. In both cases, mobile phones were stolen.

During all cases, Trocan would steal items from passengers between 8pm and 10.30pm.

Trocan was initially arrested on 27 February, after plain clothes officers patrolling the network identified him as being wanted for theft. He was released on police bail as investigators prepared a case for trial, during which he committed further offences.

When he returned from bail on 11 April, he was arrested for the additional thefts.

During police interview, Trocan attempted to rubbish CCTV evidence, claiming the footage did not resemble him. However, at court he admitted the five counts of theft. He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

Detective Constable Jennifer Brown from British Transport Police, said: “Trocan is a blight for London Underground passengers, he is well known by police for this type of behaviour and I completely welcome this custodial sentence. Thanks to overwhelming evidence against him, he had no choice but to plead guilty to the five charges.

“Pickpockets should see this prison sentence as a warning. Trocan was identified thanks to our excellent plain clothed officers who routinely patrol the London Underground, they’re experts in identifying and cuffing offenders. We will continue to work hard to root out pickpocketing and ensure that perpetrators are handed tough sentences.”

Mandy McGregor, Head of Transport Policing at Transport for London, said: “We’re working closely with the police to target criminals who are pickpocketing across the network. This crime will not be tolerated and we hope that Troclan’s sentencing sends a clear message that we can catch offenders and we will push for the strongest action against people who steal from our customers. We’d like to remind all customers to keep an eye on their belongings and keep bags and rucksacks closed, as well as reassuring everyone how seriously we take their safety and security. ”

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