The Metropolitan Police has shared details of two undercover operations targeting muggings for expensive watches.
The operation spanned nine months of 2022 and 2023 and resulted in 31 arrests and 27 successful charges, leading to 21 convictions to date.
The stings have been targeting gangs operating in crime hotspots, particularly the nightlife epicentre of London, Soho, where criminals target people who seem inebriated and are seen wearing expensive watches.
Dressed and acting like a typical late night punters wearing an expensive watches, officers are seen outside pubs and clubs being spoken to by groups of youths who then attempt to mug him.
In CCTV shared with WatchPro this morning, other officers then quickly arrive and arrest the perpetrators red-handed.
The operation appears to be working.
In addition to arrests, convictions and significant jail time for the criminals, watch robberies in three London boroughs covered by The Met’s operation halved from 113 in July 2022 to 55 in July 2023.
In four CCTV clips shared by The Met, the MO of the criminals is almost identical.
They operate late at night, targeting inebriated people leaving drinking holes in the West End of London.
Suspects approach their victims and either attack them immediately or lure then to quiet side streets to rob them.
Sharing videos of the police stings is part of a wider programme at The Met to reduce street robberies of high value watches.
Education is also key, with people urged to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings.
“Our ‘Look Up, Look Out’ campaign encourages members of the public to pay attention to who is around them, keep valuables out of sight, and where possible plan their route before travelling,” The Met says.