Phone grabbed from train passenger at Harpenden

BRITISH Transport Police (BTP) have released a CCTV image of a man they are seeking to help with enquiries after a woman’s phone was snatched from her hand on a train at Harpenden.

The incident took place at 11.55pm on Tuesday, August 28, as the 21-year-old victim was travelling to Luton with her family.

Detective Constable Graeme Knox said: “The woman had boarded the 20.44 Brighton to Bedford service with her family shortly before 11.30pm.

“A short while later, a large group of people boarded the train at St Albans and sat in the same carriage in the seat behind the woman and her family.

“At Harpenden, the group all got up, with one man reaching over and grabbing a white iPhone 4 out of the woman’s hand, before exiting the train.”

Police would like to identify and speak to the man pictured in the CCTV image, as officers believe he can help them with their enquiries.

DC Knox added: “We’ve followed a number of local leads to try and find out who this man is and want to hear from anyone who recognises him.”

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People can contact BTP free of charge on 0800 40 50 40 or independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police are also encouraging passengers to be alert when using items like mobile phones or mp3 players in public to help lessen their chances of becoming a victim of crime.

DC Knox said: “Smartphones are very desirable for thieves, mainly because of their high sell-on value.

“Typically they will target passengers who have their phones or other electronic items out in the open, because potential victims are more likely to be distracted, making it easier for them to snatch the items.”

Simple tips to protect yourself and your possessions include:

• Keep your mobile out of sight when not in use and set it to vibrate to avoid attracting attention.

• Carry wallets, mobiles and other small valuables in a secure inside pocket.

• Make a note of your mobile’s unique IMEI number. To access it type *#06# into your mobile and note the number. This will help your service provider block its use should your phone be lost or stolen.

• If travelling late at night, consider travelling close to the driver or guard to boost your sense of security.

• When on stations look for CCTV cameras and try to stay within view.