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Jailed: Thief stole phones containing treasured memories and photos in pickpocketing spree

A woman who went on a pickpocketing spree and stole thousands of pounds worth of phones has been jailed.

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Sabka Ivanova travelled from London to Birmingham in February where she carried out a string of thefts.

Officers from Birmingham's Operation Willowvale at West Midlands Police began an extensive investigation into CCTV footage to capture the offences on camera.

Following investigative work, they discovered that Ivanova had returned to Birmingham city centre in March.

Sabka Ivanova has been jailed

This time joined by Georgieva Stancheva, the pair stole a phone from an innocent shopper.

A security officer recognised Ivanova and contacted police who were able to arrest the two women on March 2, where they were charged and remanded in custody.

Ivanova and Stancheva were sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday.

Ivanova, aged 36 and of Town Road, Edmonton, London, pleaded guilty to four counts of theft from a person, and two counts of attempted theft from a person.

Stancheva, aged 24 and of Logan Road in Edmonton, pleaded guilty to one offence of theft from a person.

Ivanova was jailed for two years and 11 months and Stancheva was given an eight-month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months, where she has to complete 180 hours of unpaid work.

PC Matt Evans, from Operation Willowvale, said: "This is a fantastic result for the victims and truly reflects the impact these types of crime have on innocent people.

“In these cases, we had victims who had lost wedding photos and precious memories which were only stored on their phones and impossible to retrieve, which left the victims paranoid about being followed and unwilling to come back into Birmingham as a result.

"When we told the victims about the length of the sentence for Ivanova, one woman stated it had made her day.

“Professional pickpocket gangs travel the length and breadth of the UK to commit their crimes.

“We have plain clothes teams working day and night to catch offenders and our team of skilled investigators, so we can help the victims to achieve justice.”

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