>Sonny Stringer, 28, from Islington appeared at Isleworth Crown Court on Tuesday, 4 June.

Stringer pleaded guilty to 10 thefts. Nine as detailed below and one extra theft to represent the other 15 phones stolen. He also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving without insurance.

He received an interim driving ban, effective from today. He pleaded not guilty to a robbery charge and the prosecutor at court said no evidence would be submitted in relation to that offence and Stringer will be sentenced on Thursday 8 August.

Stringer was intercepted by City of London Policer officers as he and an unknown accomplice rode into the City at speed on electric motorbikes on 26 March.

At around 11.15am, a woman was standing on Blackfriars Bridge when her iPhone 15 was snatched from her hand. It was quickly reported to the police;  control officers picked up the criminals on the City’s camera network and directed officers to begin searching for them.

Control Officer Lynn Newins has worked in the City of London Police control room for two years. She said:

“I took a call from a member of the public who had witnessed a phone snatching on the south side of Blackfriars Bridge. My colleague Damon said he had the suspects on our cameras. I quickly started relaying information to officers on the ground. In the control room we can manage the position of the cameras ourselves which is very useful and speeds up our ability to track criminals. We spun the cameras around on Cheapside and updated officers on the phone snatchers’ path. I remember saying that they were ‘going like the clappers’ and could see members of the public having to avoid being hit by them.

“When we saw that officers had apprehended one of the suspects it was a huge sense of achievement for all those involved. Working in control you sometimes don’t hear about the success stories as they tend to happen later, so to be a part of it and see that they recovered so many phones was a big win.

“I sadly speak to lots of victims of phone snatchers and the loss of their phone is devastating to them. People have their worlds on their phones and it isn’t a minor crime to them. I spoke to one of the victims who called to say we had their phone. It was nice to know that we played a role in getting it back to them.”

On Fetter Lane the pair evaded a marked police car and at speeds nearing 50 mph they cut across a pedestrian crossing, narrowly missing one member of the public, while another had to run to avoid being hit.

Road Police Officers PC Jordan Smith and PC Joe Little were listening in on the radio and driving towards the phone snatchers.

Guided by PC Little’s extensive knowledge of the City’s streets, PC Smith drove towards Bank Junction. Stringer overtook a stationary bus crossing the dashed white line in the middle of the road before turning sharply left in front of the bus to mount the pavement.

PC Smith, an advanced police driver who is trained in tactical pursuit and containment (TPAC), made the operational decision to initial ‘tactical contact’ on the rear wheel of Stringer’s Surron electric bike.

CCTV released today shows that Stringer was about to mount the pavement into the direction of a family pushing a buggy.

The TPAC manoeuvre was reviewed and deemed to be proportionate and responsible to avoid serious injury to members of the public and effect arrest.

Stringer came off his bike and attempted to run away. PC Little approached and drew his taser whereupon Stringer got onto his knees and PC Smith restrained him. Stringer threw a black faraday bag, away from him.

The bag contained 22 mobile phones. A further two phones had been dropped when the tactical contact was made.

Chief Superintendent Rob Atkin MBE said:

“The successful capture and prosecution of a prolific phone snatcher shows City of London Police’s focus on detecting and bringing to justice those who steal from people on our streets.

“This was a team effort from our control team following the criminals on CCTV and communicating with officers on the ground, to response officers making risk-critical decisions to protect the public and effect an arrest. Not forgetting our investigators tracking down victims from across London, returning valuable mobile phones and ensuring a guilty verdict.

“Phone snatching has a significant impact on victims and our key priority has been to reduce the number of phones stolen and relentlessly target those criminals responsible.”

List of phone thefts on indictment:

At around 10:15am on Baker Street, London, near the tube station, a woman was using a map application on her phone when it was snatched from her hand as she waited to cross the road. The victim’s phone was returned to her at Bishopsgate Police Station.

A woman was walking towards Marble Arch at around 10:30am on Edgeware Road, London. While she was using her phone it was taken out of her hand. On 27 March, the victim made enquires at Bishopsgate Police Station and her phone was returned to her.

Between 10:00am and 11:00am, on Cromwell Place, London, a man had his phone taken from his hand while using it. The victim also alleged that suspect brandished a knife. At around 3pm, he called his phone and an officer explained that his phone was at the police station. He collected his phone on the following day, 27 March.

A man was taking a photograph with his phone between 10:30am and 11:00am on Grosvenor Place, London, near Wellington Arches, Hyde Park, when a man hit the phone out of the victim’s hand and caught it. City of London Police officers returned the phone to him.

At around 10:40am, at Regent Street, London, a man was using his phone to take a photo of a post office receipt when a male on a motorbike pushed him in the chest and then snatched the phone from his hand. At around 9pm, an officer from the City of London Police contacted the victim to say his phone had been recovered. The next day, 27 March, the phone was returned to him.

At around 10:40am Orange Street, at the junction with Haymarket, a woman’s phone was taken from her left hand while she was using it. The victim confirmed one of the phones recovered from City of London Police was hers.

Before 11.15am, at Victoria Road, Westminster, London, a man was using his phone at pedestrian crossing when his phone was stolen. The next day, he collected his phone from Bishopsgate Police Station.

Before 11.15am , at Piccadilly, near the junction with Regent Street a man was using his phone, walking towards Green Park, when he had his phone snatched from his hand. The victim reported this to the Metropolitan Police.

A woman had her phone snatched from her hand when she was standing on Blackfriars Bridge at around 11:15am. She reported this to City of London Police and officers began their search for the suspect.