Gary Flockhart: Beware of gig pickpockets

Phone theft. Pic: Comp

Phone theft. Pic: Comp

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AS if we don’t get fleeced as it is with the exuberant price of gig tickets (and don’t even get me started about booking fees), there appears to be a worrying new trend at the moment – gangs of thieves targeting the pockets of fans inside music venues.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard of such a thing, but sadly, it seems to be becoming more and more common.

Last week, I was invited to attend Kasabian’s sold-out gig at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, and though I didn’t notice anything at the time (fortunately, I was a guest of the sponsors, so safely tucked away in a private box), I later found out that a gang of pickpockets were working the ground level and made off with £10,000 worth of mobile phones from fans’ pockets.

I’m yet to hear of such a thing happening in Edinburgh, but it’s not the first time it’s happened elsewhere.

Indeed, earlier this year, police were drafted in to keep an eye on Glasgow gigs in an attempt to thwart pickpockets after 20 phones were nicked during a gig at the 02 ABC.

The police have been aware of such thefts at gigs elsewhere in the UK for a few years and have information on criminals who infiltrate the performances of specific bands.

Thieves, of course, can easily get up close to people in crowds, and if fans are jumping around, they’re far less likely to notice when their bags or their pockets are picked.

Last year, in a bid to crack down on the culprits, fans attending a Vaccines gig in Wales were asked by private security staff if they could name the lead singer and titles of their albums before being allowed into the venue.

As it happened, six people were unable to, so had their £18.50 tickets confiscated and were refused entry.

Like I say, I’ve never heard of pickpockets operating at gigs in Edinburgh, but it might be worth your while exercising a little caution next time you attend one of the bigger, rowdier events in these parts.