Annabel Croft today revealed she was mugged by a phone snatcher riding a bike outside London‘s King’s Cross.

The former tennis star, 57, said her mobile was stolen ‘clean out of her hands’ while she waited for a taxi outside the station.

In an Instagram post, Ms Croft added that thankfully the snatcher dropped the phone as they sped off.

London has been plagued by a terrifying spate of phone snatchings in recent months, where e-bike crooks use high-powered vehicles to steal the devices and make quick getaways.

Figures have shown that a mobile phone is reported as stolen in London every six minutes.

Nearly 52,000 devices were stolen in the capital last year as criminals use violence and distraction techniques to target victims.

In an Instagram update, Ms Croft wrote: ‘I just wanted to warn people who are on their own in London. I just got mugged waiting for a taxi outside King’s Cross St Pancras. The man was riding a bike and wearing a black balaclava. He rode straight at me and took my phone clean out of my hands.”

‘He rode away with it but luckily dropped my phone so I got it back. Terrifying!’.

She added: ‘On a positive note, there are some lovely people out there. Luckily a lovely gentleman witnessed it and came over to help me. Thank you to whoever you are.’

Annabel Croft, 57, has revealed she was mugged in broad daylight by a masked man in London (pictured in January)

Annabel Croft, 57, has revealed she was mugged in broad daylight by a masked man in London (pictured in January)

Annabel Croft, 57, has revealed she was mugged in broad daylight by a masked man in London (pictured in January)

In an Instagram update, she wrote: ‘I just wanted to warn people who are on their own in London. I just got mugged waiting for a taxi outside King’s Cross St Pancras.

‘The man was riding a bike and wearing a black balaclava. He rode straight at me and took my phone clean out of my hands.’

‘He rode away with it but luckily dropped my phone so I got it back. Terrifying! 

‘On a positive note, there are some lovely people out there. Luckily a lovely gentleman witnessed it and came over to help me. Thank you to whoever you are.’

Gangs of muggers on e-bikes are terrorising the streets of London as they target children, mothers and commuters by snatching their mobiles.

The worst-hit borough was the City of Westminster, where tourists flock for theatre shows and high-end shopping, with 18,863 reported incidents in the year to December – up 47 per cent from 12,836 in the previous 12 months.  

Camden was the second worst affected, with 4,806 incidents, followed by Southwark (4,376), Hackney (2,761), Newham (2,585), Lambeth (2,394) and Islington (2,117). In London as a whole more than 52,000 phones were stolen last year.

Shocking videos show muggers swerving alongside pedestrians before grabbing their phones and making off with them at speed. One thief who was recently brought to justice stole 24 phones in one morning.

Figures show 165,933 mobile phone thefts were reported to the Metropolitan Police between January 1, 2019 and December 31 last year – making up 52 per cent of the total in England and Wales.

This brazen theft happened on 6 June on a busy road near Tavistock Square in Marylebone, central London, just a short distance from Euston Station and the British Museum.

This brazen theft happened on 6 June on a busy road near Tavistock Square in Marylebone, central London, just a short distance from Euston Station and the British Museum.

This brazen theft happened on 6 June on a busy road near Tavistock Square in Marylebone, central London, just a short distance from Euston Station and the British Museum. 

Phone thefts rose by 20 per cent last year across England and Wales as a whole, according to figures released after a freedom of information request by The Times.

Police forces recorded 316,683 incidents between January 1, 2019 and December 31 last year, although the total will be higher because six forces failed to respond to the request and three refused to.

London is by far the worst affected city in England and Wales, with criminals targeting wealthy shoppers and foreign tourists.

One recent video shows an unsuspecting victim minding her own business when the man clad in black comes up behind her and snatches her mobile before speeding off.

Her attempt to give chase was futile as the thief raced off on an e-bike capable of speeds up to 30 miles per hour.

The brazen theft happened on 6 June on a busy road near Tavistock Square in Marylebone, central London, just a short distance from Euston Station and the British Museum.

A man filming the video from a passing car chillingly predicts what was about to happen, with the onlooker clearly heard in the nine second video saying: ‘He’s going to grab her phone.’

As the bike crook snatches the phone he is heard saying ‘see ya’ before adding: ‘Oh my days.’

Sonny Stringer, 28, snatched an incredible 24 handsets in little over an hour. He was caught after being rammed by police and pleaded guilty to theft

Sonny Stringer, 28, snatched an incredible 24 handsets in little over an hour. He was caught after being rammed by police and pleaded guilty to theft

Sonny Stringer, 28, snatched an incredible 24 handsets in little over an hour. He was caught after being rammed by police and pleaded guilty to theft 

In a separate incident in a different part of London two crooks on a moped were caught on camera trying to swipe a man’s phone while riding along the pavement.

The victim, who was standing on a street corner, can be seen glancing down at his mobile but luckily turned around as the scooter approaches.

The thief on the back attempts to grab it but the man is able to pull his arm away. The incident happened at 8am today in Tottenham, north London.

Following the failed attempt to steal the phone, the scooter then speeds away on the path as the victim looks on bemused.

Last month a video showed a cyclist dressed all in black rides up to a group of people standing near the Curzon cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue in London’s West End.

The thief slows down as he approaches them before he snatches the phone out of a young woman’s hands and speeds off.

At the start of the clip – which has been shared widely on TikTok and X – the thief can be seen riding alongside another cyclist who is also dressed all in black.

The incident was just another example of the terrifying trend of ‘gadget snatching’ that is sweeping the capital.

In April, horrifying footage was shared on social media of a thief on a bike grabbing a woman’s mobile phone from her hands in Albany Place, Marylebone.

The clip was uploaded with the caption: ‘Keep your head on swivel when in London.’

The victim is seen in the video attempting to chase after the offender while calling out: ‘Hey, come back here.’

Another cyclist in a balaclava had passed by her in the seconds beforehand.

Similarly in March, two masked thieves were seen snatching a phone and fleeing on their bikes in Hampstead, north London – before crashing into an incoming car.

Then, in February, a motorcyclist was shown on CCTV trailing a man down the pavement in Tower Bridge Road before snatching his phone and speeding off.

In February, Love Island star Anna-May Robey, 20, – who appeared on the show in 2023 for the winter South Africa series – revealed that thieves stole her phone in a brazen attack and ‘rinsed her bank accounts’ leaving her with ‘nothing’. 

She told how a cyclist snatched her mobile and because it was unlocked when they took it they were able to access all of her information and Apple Pay.

Anna explained in her heartbreaking post that the thieves took everything, ‘down to my last penny’.

She said: ‘Walking to a shoot on Monday, my phone was snatched out of my hand by a cyclist.

‘The cyclist approached me from behind so I was unaware and completely oblivious. The phone was unlocked so the guy had access to everything.

In April, horrifying footage was shared on social media of a thief on a bike grabbing a woman's mobile phone from her hands in Albany Place, Marylebone

In April, horrifying footage was shared on social media of a thief on a bike grabbing a woman's mobile phone from her hands in Albany Place, Marylebone

In April, horrifying footage was shared on social media of a thief on a bike grabbing a woman’s mobile phone from her hands in Albany Place, Marylebone 

He swiftly swooped to seize the mobile phone from her hands

He swiftly swooped to seize the mobile phone from her hands

He swiftly swooped to seize the mobile phone from her hands 

‘He was able to change my Apple ID straight away so I couldn’t track the phone or access any of my information on any other devices.

‘I know it’s easy to replace a mobile phone, but my whole life is on there – Apple Pay, personal information, images, work etc.

‘By the time I managed to contact a bank to cancel my cards and Apple Pay, it was too late.

‘I found out all accounts had been rinsed. They had not only stolen my phone but spent thousands of pounds, down to my last penny, savings and credit cards were maxed. Leaving me with absolutely NOTHING.’

She added: ‘It made it a lot easier for them that my phone was unlocked when I was approached but it couldn’t have been helped. 

‘I always thought I was safe with Apple Pay because of passwords, Face ID and all security these devices have in place but it’s still not enough. They also had access to PayPal credit etc.’

She told how a cyclist snatched her mobile and because it was unlocked when they took it they were able to access all of her information and Apple Pay

She told how a cyclist snatched her mobile and because it was unlocked when they took it they were able to access all of her information and Apple Pay

She told how a cyclist snatched her mobile and because it was unlocked when they took it they were able to access all of her information and Apple Pay

She issued a warning to others and continued: ‘This week has been so stressful and scary for me and just wanted to make everyone aware of how easily and often this happens.

‘It just takes a split second. The amount of people I’ve seen doing the exact same thing as me this week, walking down the street with their phone in hand has put things into perspective. 

‘It’s so easy and I always thought I’d be the last person this would happen to but it could literally be anyone or anywhere x.’ 

Local Alex Fletcher warned others of the prevalence of phone thefts, adding: ‘I’ve had my phone pinched in central London twice now.

‘Both times they chucked back on the floor straight away because it wasn’t an iPhone.’

Last month a video went viral that showed a cyclist dressed all in black ride up to a group of people standing near the Curzon cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue in London’s West End. 

Last month a video showed a cyclist dressed all in black ride up to a group of people standing near the Curzon cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue in London's West End

Last month a video showed a cyclist dressed all in black ride up to a group of people standing near the Curzon cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue in London's West End

Last month a video showed a cyclist dressed all in black ride up to a group of people standing near the Curzon cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue in London’s West End 

In the video, a cyclist dressed all in black rides up to group of people standing near the Curzon cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue in London's West End

In the video, a cyclist dressed all in black rides up to group of people standing near the Curzon cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue in London's West End

In the video, a cyclist dressed all in black rides up to group of people standing near the Curzon cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue in London’s West End

The thief slows down as he approaches them before he snatches the phone out of a young woman's hands and speeds off

The thief slows down as he approaches them before he snatches the phone out of a young woman's hands and speeds off

The thief slows down as he approaches them before he snatches the phone out of a young woman’s hands and speeds off

The thief slows down as he approaches them before he snatches the phone out of a young woman’s hands and speeds off.

These incidents are just another example of the terrifying trend of ‘gadget snatching’ that is sweeping the capital.

The City of London Police said it is running a targeted operation that is disrupting phone snatching in the Square Mile.

The operation was started due to the worrying rise the force saw in phone snatching in 2022, which carried on into last and this year.

The force is even spraying criminals and their mopeds with a DNA spray in a bid to link them to crimes if they race away.

Shop owners suspected of buying stolen handsets have also been raided and the force has reintroduced a cycle team to help tackle phone snatchers.

The force has been seizing five illegal e-bikes and e-scooters every week that are known to be used by phone snatchers.

Met Commander Owain Richards said: ‘We understand the impact that mobile phone theft can have on victims. It’s an invasive and sometimes violent crime and we’re committed to protecting Londoners and tackling this issue as we make the capital safer. Our response in this case fell short of expected standards and we apologise to the victim for the service they received.

‘Met officers are targeting resources to hotspot areas, such as Westminster, Lambeth and Newham, with increased patrols and plain-clothes officers, which deter criminals and make officers more visibly available to members of the community.’

How to protect your mobile from e-bike i-jackers 

Criminals often use bikes and mopeds to snatch mobile phones from people, particularly at busy locations such as outside stations, shopping centres or concert venues. Often victims are approached from behind while talking or texting on phones. Criminals on mopeds or bicycles may mount the pavement to grab the phone or snatch it from the road. Sometimes when it’s a moped, a pillion passenger will snatch it.

While most thefts happen between six and ten at night, criminals operate during the day too, so always look out for what’s going on around you. 

The Metropolitan Police has urged people to follow these steps to protect your phone: 

Be aware of your surroundings

  • If you need to call or use your phone on the street, look out for anyone on a bike or a moped near you. Look up, look out
  • Make it quick so you don’t become distracted
  • Don’t text while you’re walking – you won’t notice what’s going on around you
  • If that’s not possible, stand away from the roadside, close to a building or wall, so no one can come up behind you
  • Going hands-free can prevent a thief from snatching your phone out of your hand 

Use security features on your phone

  • You must switch on your phone’s security features to protect your phone
  • Use the keypad lock so that thieves cannot immediately access your phone, or use the biometric authentication if your phone has it (fingerprint or facial recognition)
  • Your phone may have other security features you can use – these could allow you to wipe data, lock your handset, or prevent a thief from restoring a phone to its factory settings from another internet device
  • Consider installing an anti-theft app. These can be an effective way of helping police trace your phone and identify the thief

Know how to identify your phone if it’s stolen

  • Every phone has an IMEI number which helps police and insurance companies to identify it if it’s stolen. UK network operators can also stop a stolen phone from working across their networks with its IMEI
  • Find your IMEI number by dialling *#06# from your phone and keep a written note of it; if the phone is stolen, report the number to your mobile provider to stop it being used
  • Register your valuables on an accredited property database.

Never confront a thief or risk your own safety for the sake of your mobile

Source: The Metropolitan Police 

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