Three men who stole £100,000-worth of possessions from visitors travelling through London airports have been jailed, after police tracked them down to a car park in Camberwell.
The distraction thefts were committed at London City, Heathrow and Stansted, with property targeted included jewellery, identification documents and cash.
They were committed by three South American nationals who police say travelled to the UK especially to carry out the crimes.
Jose Martin Encarmacion Flores(53) , Reynaldo Willy Weston (66) and Juan Gabriel Romero Hernandez (55) are now all behind bars, with a fourth accomplice – 61-year-old Jose de Jesus Boada Penaranda also convicted of similar offences and due to be sentenced in December.
After serving their time they will be deported.
A police investigation was launched after the series of thefts throughout September. The suspects were arrested after a A CCTV trawl linked them to a silver Mercedes parked nearby at the time of the thefts.
On September 19, the vehicle was traced to a supermarket carpark in Camberwell and, moments later, police swooped in and arrested all three men.
Police said a search of the car found items captured on CCTV that were used during the offences – including earphones and a bag.
All three, who have no fixed addresses, were arrested and taken into custody, and then charged with theft.
They were sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday, November 13, and each handed sentences of over four years.
Investigating officer, PC Barry Munnelly, from the Met’s aviation policing command, said: “The met is absolutely committed to detecting, disrupting and arresting those involved in any criminal activity at London’s airports.
“These criminals arrived in the UK in August with the express purpose of carrying out callous acts of theft against elderly and vulnerable people.
“However, following their first offence, officers were quick to identify and arrest them.
“They will now spend a considerable time behind bars before being deported.
“Stolen items have also been recovered to their rightful owners.”