Thief hid stolen mobile phone haul in trousers

A man was caught with 20 stolen mobile phones hidden in a pair of tights he was wearing under his trousers after a tracking device helped police catch him.

Officers were called to a fast food restaurant where they rang the number of one of the phones, stolen from a music festival, to identify the thief.

Ionut Guita, of no fixed address, but from Stratford, London, was arrested and charged in connection with a spate of phone thefts at the Sundown Festival at the Norfolk Showground in Costessey. Police have revealed they were called on Sunday, September 2 after a young woman reported her iPhone stolen. The victim, along with her friend, was able to use a tracking application to trace the phone. The signal led them to the nearby McDonald’s restaurant at Longwater where she contacted police.

Officers entered the restaurant and dialled the number of the stolen phone which began to ring. A man was searched and found with 20 mobile phones which had been hidden in a pair of tights, which he was wearing under his trousers.

Guita, 23, was arrested and later charged with 20 counts of theft.

He appeared at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on September 4 where he admitted all theft charges and also admitted committing offences while subject to a suspended sentence order.

Guita has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Norwich Crown Court at a later date.

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Detective Sergeant Vicky Flatt, from Norfolk Constabulary’s Community Safety team, said: “We know these types of events get targeted by thieves, which this case demonstrates. Festivals are ideal hunting grounds for thieves because people in large crowds are less likely to notice a pickpocket or someone tampering with their bag. We carried out a lot of work prior to and during the event targeting festival goers with safety and security advice which we hope will have gone some way to preventing further offences.”

Safety leaflets were handed out to festival-goers while flashing LED signs were used at the showground to drive home safety messages.

Thousands of people attended the two-day event and over the course of the weekend police sent messages on Twitter, encouraging people to have a safe and enjoyable time.

Officers carried out plain-clothed patrols inside the showground and a number of people were searched and arrested in connection with drug offences while one man was arrested for being drunk and disorderly.