Two arrested following series of phone thefts on Newcastle's Bigg Market

The suspects have been linked to five phone thefts in the area since December.
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Officers investigating a series of distraction thefts in Newcastle have arrested two people- as police warn members of the public not to hand over their personal items to anyone they do not know.

Around 2am on Sunday 28 January, a victim reported two men had asked to use his mobile phone while they were in the Bigg Market area of the city centre. But, once he did so the two men ran off from the scene with his device.

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Not long after the report, another victim contacted the police to say they had also been approached by two men asking if they could use their phone. This request was under the pretence of putting information into the victim's Instagram account to help support their new business. Once in possession of the device, the suspects ran off.

Through CCTV enquiries police were able to obtain images of the suspects and within an hour two men, aged 21 and 20, were arrested on suspicion of theft.

Further investigation linked the suspects to three other reports of mobile phone thefts in the same area, on December 9 and 10.

The pair are also suspected of fraudulent use of a mobile, including a loan application for over £12,000.

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Both men have now been released on police bail with strict conditions preventing them from entering the area.

Sergeant Craig Manning, of Northumbria Police, said: “This is really positive work from our officers who responded quickly to these reports coming in and managed to get two suspects into custody within an hour.

“We would always encourage victims of crime to report these incidents to us immediately so that we can take the necessary action and track down those we believe to be responsible.

“Plain-clothed officers from our teams are deployed every weekend, not only to disrupt offending and arrest suspects, but also to safeguard those visiting the city centre from opportunist criminality so they can enjoy their nights out in a safe and welcoming environment.

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Sgt Manning added: “We strongly urge members of the public not to hand any of their electronic devices over to strangers, either for others to use or input social media information, even for just a moment.

“At first it may seem a harmless act, but it can often be something much more sinister.

“Those who are in genuine need of assistance while on a night out, for example to charge their phone so they can get in contact with friends or family to arrange transport home, can speak to officers or approach our Safe Haven van for help.

“If you are in need of assistance and see our officers, please don’t hesitate to approach us.”

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