Pickpocket at Cribs gig caught with 22 mobile phones stashed in his tights

Mags Gibson, director of the Electric Ballroom in Camden Town. Picture: Polly Hancock

Mags Gibson, director of the Electric Ballroom in Camden Town. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Polly Hancock

A pickpocket who targeted concert-goers at Camden’s Electric Ballroom was found with 22 mobile phones stuffed down a hidden pair of tights he was wearing beneath his trousers.

Venue managers at the Electric Ballroom called police last Thursday night after revellers started reporting their mobile phones missing.

Security staff shut the doors of the venue, in Camden High Street, and began randomly searching members of the 1,000-strong crowd, who had been to see indie rockers The Cribs play.

Sgt Steven Brown said when officers arrived they “were confronted with a chaotic scene, with security restricting exit from the venue to over 1,000 people as they believed suspects who had operated as pickpockets were still on premises”.

Managers then spotted a man in the foyer acting suspiciously, and after seeing him drop several mobile phones on the floor, police searched him.

Sgt Brown said: “The male was dressed to fit in with the crowd. At first officers couldn’t find pockets for where phone-shaped items were hidden.

“There were a number of victims gathering and the mood was turning nasty with the father of one of the victims wanting to harm the male, so we quickly removed him to a quieter area.”

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They carried on searching the suspect and were surprised to discover 22 mobile phones hidden down a pair of tights he was wearing under his jeans.

Sgt Brown said: “The suspect, it seems, is part of an organised network who operate in such venues, and security reported later that other phones were found in the toilets, suggesting that they were left after the search regime came into play.”

The incident was dealt with by officers from Operation Porlock – where extra police are on patrol over the weekend from 6pm to 6am between Thursday and Sunday to deal with night-time revellers in Camden.

The suspect was arrested and officers and bouncers took statements from victims at the scene.

Electric Ballroom director Margaret Gibson said: “I spotted the suspect acting strangely in the foyer. He must have panicked and tried to drop some of the phones. He stuck out like a sore thumb.

“He was wearing normal jeans but later when the police searched him they discovered that he had a pair of tights on underneath.”

Insp Matt Ashmead said “The officers displayed incredible crowd control and skilful management of the scene to ensure the suspect was identified, arrested and a large number of stolen mobile phones recovered.”

They have managed to trace the owners of 10 of the phones but are still trying to identify the others.

Anyone with information about the incident should contact Camden police on 101.