Thieves prey on rail passengers
Police have released CCTV images of three people they want to trace in connection with thefts from rail passengers.
British Transport Police (BTP) has passed the pictures to the Leicester Mercury in the hope readers will recognise the suspects and pass their details to officers.
The appeal is part of a new crackdown on thieves who prey on rail passengers while on trains or in stations.
Operation Impact will see extra BTP officers travelling on the rail network and visiting stations on the look-out for suspicious characters.
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Police want to trace suspect number one in connection with the theft of a jacket on a train between Sheffield and Leicester in February last year.
Suspect number two has been linked to the theft of a passenger's bag while he was travelling between Leicester and Nottingham in February last year.
The victim put his bag into a luggage rack when he boarded the train only to discover when he arrived at Leicester that it had been stolen.
The third suspect is also wanted in connection with a bag theft. A passenger's suitcase was stolen between Leicester and Loughborough last September.
Chief Inspector Glen Alderson said: "Officers investigating these cases have followed a number of lines of inquiry and circulated the images on police intelligence systems and in some cases to the media, but so far without success.
"We're now asking for help from members of the public.
"If you know any of these people and can tell us who they are, we want to hear from you.
"Our intelligence shows that thieves travel to commit crimes. So please look at the photos carefully, although the theft may not have taken place at your station or on your local service, you may know the person who has committed it."
A BTP spokeswoman said the operation has been launched in response to a rise in thefts.
In Leicestershire, in the past year, there have been 51 reports, compared to 40 in the previous 12 months.
Luggage and mobile phones account for the majority of thefts reported.
During the campaign, officers will speak to passengers about basic steps they can take to protect their property. Passengers at Leicester railway station said they were aware of the threat posed by thieves.
Mark Pearson, 41, of Stoney-gate said: "I never let my bag out of my sight for a moment when I'm travelling because a couple of my friends have had things stolen in the past.
"There are so many important work documents in there that I couldn't afford to lose it."
Claire McGuinness, 35, from the city centre, said: "If I'm travelling with a bag I keep it with me at all times and I never leave my phone lying around.
"The trains are no different to anywhere else, thieves will try it on there, too."
Chief Insp Alderson said: "I would urge passengers to stay alert and keep their luggage close by and in view at all times if possible, and check on it regularly throughout your journey."
Information about the suspects can be passed to British Transport Police by calling 0800 40 50 40, quoting B2/NEA of 08/03/2013 and the reference number which is alongside each image.