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Nigerian Gangs Making Millions from Phones Nicked in the UK

MOPED thugs are snatching tens of thousands of phones on UK streets to supply a booming black market run by crime lords in Nigeria.

The mobiles, seized by acid-armed yobs, are shipped 4,500 miles to be sold for up to £560 to Nigeria’s tech-starved middle classes. Britain's moped yobs have been able to steal thousands of smartphones with many going on to be sold in Nigerian shops and markets where technology is scarce

Sun investigators discovered “UK used” iPhones being sold for £560 in stores and markets in Nigeria’s largest city Lagos. Business is booming for the Nigerian racketeers because of soaring demand from the oil-rich middle classes in a country where hi-tech gadgets are relatively scarce.

And because Nigeria has not signed up to a global deal blacklisting stolen phones, British moped gangs are able to keep the crime bosses supplied by exporting tens of thousands of snatched mobiles.

MPs urged police to cut off that supply by cracking down on the moped gangs.

Tory MP Bob Neill, chairman of the Commons Justice Committee, said: “This is a very serious matter. We’ve seen an increase in moped crimes across the UK.

“The police need to take these crimes more seriously and make investigating them a higher priority. And sentences need to reflect that this is serious organised crime which should attract tougher penalties.”

Fellow Tory Andrew Percy said: “It is truly shocking to think that violent attacks here in the UK are being used to make black marketeers in other parts of the world wealthy.”

In 2016 there were 446,000 UK phone thefts. In London alone there were 60,000 mobile thefts and robberies, almost two-thirds of them iPhones.

In the 12 months to June 2017, the Met recorded 16,158 phone crimes related to Thousands of 'UK used' phones end up for sale at a Nigerian market in Lagos where many were stolen by moped gangs

The moped thugs are willing to resort to appalling violence.

Three weeks ago raider Derryck John was jailed for 10½ years for hurling acid in the face of six people in London. He is one of an increasingly violent breed of young criminals hunting in packs armed with corrosive chemicals and knives.

They travel two to a moped so the passenger can grab valuables as they pass a victim.

The phones they grab are first plundered of data which is used to try to hack bank accounts.

mopeds, more than three times those reported in the year to June 2016.

Brits may not realise that their stolen phones are often used to also steal information about them before being flogged in another country


THE Sun’s investigation highlights that there are still parts of the world where stolen phones can be unblocked and sold on.

All that is required is a new SIM card — and away you go.

A combination of corrupt officials, unscrupulous businesses and a booming demand for Western technology makes Nigeria an ideal place for handlers to send stolen handsets.

Meanwhile, police here are increasing efforts to target moped robbers. But more could be done.

Police are not targeting “fences”. There are nowhere near enough search warrants being executed on the criminals handling stolen phones.

Last year in London there were over 60,000 mobile phone thefts.

Yet only 1,200 villains were charged in the capital with handling stolen goods of all kinds.

That equates to a tiny percentage of what was taken so in the vast majority of cases stolen property simply vanishes.

By failing to target criminal handlers, police are fuelling the problem.

By Mick Neville, Former Met DCI

They are then sold on in bulk to middle men who ship them to eastern Europe to be stripped of private information and reconditioned. The phones are then moved on for sale — with Nigeria, Algeria and India the main markets.

The Sun witnessed the end of the chain at the sprawling “Computer Village” market in the Lagos suburb of Ikeja.

Multiple stores offered “UK phones and accessories” and “UK used phones at affordable prices.”

Traders we questioned insisted their merchandise was from reputable sources. A seller at Emeka Michael EB International Shop said: “Most of our phones are London used.”

Statistics reveal that 16,000 phones were stolen by London moped gangs in just one year

We found iPhones at sale for £560 — £310 cheaper than the authorised Apple dealer’s price. Another store in Computer Village offered an iPhone 6 for £230.

Nigeria’s lack of phone network regulation makes it an easy target for crooks.

Countries across Europe, the US and South America have signed a deal to effectively blacklist stolen devices. It gives each phone a unique number which is added to a global database when it is reported stolen — making it useless in those nations who are part of the agreement.

But Nigeria is yet to sign up. And a mobile industry source said: “By staying off the blacklist they are creating the market for stolen mobile phones. If all nations stood together, a mobile would be useless once reported stolen. But countries like Nigeria ar BBC documentary Inside Britain’s Moped Crime Gangs interviewed a Londoner who said he was a middleman between the bike yobs and the Nigerian racketeers.

The 22-year-old boasted: “I bought that phone for cheap and I’ll sell it for twice the amount of money.”

The GSMA, the mobile operators’ trade association, welcomed The Sun’s investigation.

It said: “We’re pleased The Sun has highlighted this and will be redoubling our efforts to get mobile phone operators on board in Nigeria.”

e effectively inviting illicit imports.”

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