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City of London: Islington man admits snatching 24 phones in an hour

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Sonny Stringer and an unknown accomplice rode into the City of London at speed on electric motorbikes on 26 March, police said

A man who used an electric motorbike to steal 24 phones in an hour from people in central London has pleaded guilty to theft.

Sonny Stringer, from Islington, north London, stole the phones before evading officers by driving at speeds of almost 50mph (80km/h), City of London Police said.

Officers used the local camera network to catch him.

The 28-year-old admitted at Isleworth Crown Court on Tuesday to stealing the phones.

City of London Police Sonny StringerCity of London Police

Sonny Stringer also admitted dangerous driving and driving without insurance

Stringer and an unknown accomplice rode into the City of London at speed on electric motorbikes on 26 March.

The string of thefts happened between 10:00 and 11:15 BST.

Control officer Lynn Newins said they spotted the suspects on their cameras.

“In the control room we can manage the position of the cameras ourselves which is very useful and speeds up our ability to track criminals,” she said.

“We spun the cameras around on Cheapside and updated officers on the phone snatchers’ path.

“I remember saying that they were ‘going like the clappers’ and could see members of the public having to avoid being hit by them.”

‘Team effort’

Stringer was about to mount a pavement in the direction of a family pushing a buggy when officers made contact with the rear wheel of his bike, police said.

When he was forced off his bike and attempted to run away, officers pulled a Taser and were able to restrain him.

Ch Supt Rob Atkin said: “The successful capture and prosecution of a prolific phone snatcher shows City of London Police’s focus on detecting and bringing to justice those who steal from people on our streets.

“This was a team effort from our control team following the criminals on CCTV and communicating with officers on the ground, to response officers making risk-critical decisions to protect the public and effect an arrest.”

Stringer also admitted dangerous driving and driving without insurance.

He will be sentenced on 8 August.

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