MOPED thugs are snatching tens of thousands of phones on UK streets to supply a booming black market run by crime lords in Nigeria.
The mobiles, seized by acid-armed yobs, are shipped 4,500 miles to be sold for up to £560 to Nigeria’s tech-starved middle classes.
Sun investigators discovered “UK used” iPhones being sold for £560 in stores and markets in Nigeria’s largest city Lagos. Business is booming for the Nigerian racketeers because of soaring demand from the oil-rich middle classes in a country where hi-tech gadgets are relatively scarce.
And because Nigeria has not signed up to a global deal blacklisting stolen phones, British moped gangs are able to keep the crime bosses supplied by exporting tens of thousands of snatched mobiles.
MPs urged police to cut off that supply by cracking down on the moped gangs.
Tory MP Bob Neill, chairman of the Commons Justice Committee, said: “This is a very serious matter. We’ve seen an increase in moped crimes across the UK.
“The police need to take these crimes more seriously and make investigating them a higher priority. And sentences need to reflect that this is serious organised crime which should attract tougher penalties.”
Fellow Tory Andrew Percy said: “It is truly shocking to think that violent attacks here in the UK are being used to make black marketeers in other parts of the world wealthy.”
In 2016 there were 446,000 UK phone thefts. In London alone there were 60,000 mobile thefts and robberies, almost two-thirds of them iPhones.
In the 12 months to June 2017, the Met recorded 16,158 phone crimes related to mopeds, more than three times those reported in the year to June 2016.
The moped thugs are willing to resort to appalling violence.
Three weeks ago raider Derryck John was jailed for 10½ years for hurling acid in the face of six people in London. He is one of an increasingly violent breed of young criminals hunting in packs armed with corrosive chemicals and knives.
They travel two to a moped so the passenger can grab valuables as they pass a victim.
The phones they grab are first plundered of data which is used to try to hack bank accounts.
Brits may not realise that their stolen phones are often used to also steal information about them before being flogged in another country