Spot the pickpocket: West Midlands Police release videos to show the prevalence of pickpockets in Birmingham city centre

There have been 3,000 incident of pickpocketing in Birmingham over the past 12 months

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Do you think you could tell if you were being pickpocketed?

The West Midlands Police has released a series of videos in which magicians are used to place things in the pockets of unwitting members of the public in a bid to raise awareness around the prevalence of pickpocketing in Birmingham.

In the clips released last week, magicians from the Masters of Magic group are filmed in Birmingham’s city centre using distraction techniques and sleight of hand to show how easy it can be to have something placed in, or taken out of, your pocket on the street. As part of the West Midlands Police’s #SpotThePickpocket campaign, the magicians are filmed working in pairs, with one of the men distracting the shoppers, while another is captured “put-pocketing” the victim.

In one of the videos, a bag is taken from a man as he watches a street performer, while several others show pedestrians having cards placed in their pockets without them realising.

Magician Marc Lavelle from Masters of Magic said: “I think this pickpocket campaign is a brilliant thing! I wanted to be a part of it as it’s for a great cause. “As a reaction to pickpocketing, my spectators say that they feel violated by the intrusion. I think vigilance and awareness are the way forward and I hope to do the best I can to be a part of that awareness.” 

According to the West Midlands Police, there have been over 3,000 incidents of pickpocketing reported in the city in the last 12 months, with over half involving mobile phones.

PC Lee Howard from the Birmingham city centre proactive team said: “When it comes to pickpockets, we have them firmly on our radar. We know their names, we know their tactics and we know who they prey on.”