Manchester Hit By 'Hugger Muggers'

Clubbers in the city centre are being targeted by ‘hugger muggers’ who give them a cuddle while picking their pockets.

11 attacks have happened over the festive period, and police are warning people to be on their guard after an increase in attacks around Piccadilly and the Gay Village.

That figure could be higher though, as some people may think they have lost their stuff, rather than someone actually robbing them.

A 17-year-old hugger mugger from Barnsley, received a six-month referral order at Manchester magistrates’ court last month after admitting three offences of theft from a person. His co-defendant, a 24-year-old Salford man, is on bail after pleading guilty to the same offences. He is due be sentenced this month.

Police also arrested a 19-year-old man on Sackville Street, in relation to hugger mugging.

He has been released on police bail pending further investigations.

Sergeant Sarah O'Driscoll from the City Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team said: "We first started seeing hugger mugging in the City Centre in the summer and the number of incidents increased as we approached Christmas. Officers are out in plain clothes every day in the city centre looking out for this type of crime and we work with the local authority to investigate incidents caught on CCTV.  We have made a number of arrests but need victims to come forward.

"Victims of this type of crime may not realise that they have been targeted, they may have had a few drinks and think that they have lost their phone or wallet.  If you think that this may have happened to you then please contact us so we can bring the offenders to justice."