Police target London 2012 gangs


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The Independent Online

Up to 400 police have been in action this week in the latest crackdown on gangs set to target the London 2012 Games, Scotland Yard said.

Several arrests have been made as part of the wide-ranging Operation Ursus campaign aimed at disrupting and breaking down gangs headed for the Games.

These include ten people who were arrested for illegal gaming offences.

Another offence led to two people being arrested and £14,000 seized, while mobile phones and a large amount of counterfeit money was recovered this morning at another location leading to eight people being detained.

The temptation of the huge crowds that are set to descend on London will be attractive for pick-pockets, table-surfers, bag snatchers, burglars, illegal gamers and other criminals, according to Chief Superintendent John Sutherland who is leading the operation.

He said: "These crimes are committed by individuals but they are often being orchestrated by organised criminal networks and the proceeds go on to fund lavish lifestyles and further criminality.

"We are targeting criminals at the top as well as the bottom of these networks."

Co-ordinated operations have been planned by ten boroughs as well as by the Safer Transport Command, Operation Podium, the Metropolitan Special Constabulary, the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit, London Crime Squad and officials in other agencies such as British Transport Police, Territorial Policing, Serious and Organised Crime Agency, City of London Police, Thames Valley Police and UK Borders Agency.

High-visibility policing, decoy operations, covert surveillance, CCTV dispersal zones and warrant execution are among some of the tactics being used by officers.

Handlers of stolen goods are also being targeted.

Members of the public have been urged to be careful and try to make it as difficult as possible for criminals to steal from them.