Brexit turmoil in Britain has seen sterling drop to just US$1.30 against the dollar. It’s tempting thousands of Americans to make the leap across the pond to take advantage of the lowest prices in years.
But be warned, there can be a nasty sting in the tail, or more accurately, the wrist. London’s streets are presently plagued by scooter gangs who will stop at nothing to relieve pedestrians of expensive watches. Scooters are fast, easy to ride, and can carve through traffic like no other vehicle.
Pillion riders will grab the watch from your wrist or the mobile phone in your hand and resort to violence if surrender of the item is not immediate, then within moments, they are off and away on highly tuned scooters.
Last month a gang of eight men who stole luxury watches from members of the public in violent street robberies was sentenced to a total of 54 years in jail. They managed a spree of 14 robberies between May and November 2017 in the West End, Mayfair and Knightsbridge. In total, the gang stole watches with a combined value of £280,000.
However, this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg, it is but a solitary crystal, for millions of pounds worth of watches are being stolen on the streets of London every month. It just goes to show, there’s still plenty of profit to be made from old fashioned street crime.
The gangs operate mainly by night, but as the unusually warm February weather continues and spring and summer arrive, if they see a worthwhile watch on a bare wrist by day, they won’t hesitate. It’s become so bad the resource-stretched Metropolitan Police have developed new methods to deal with the problem; including a spray with a unique chemical footprint visible only under ultraviolet light which can indelibly link criminals to the crime.
Once your watch is stolen there is little hope of seeing it again. Many gangs work for crime syndicates, and the watches, once fenced, are quickly exported to Eastern European countries where eventually they will find their way into Russia. Certain watches are also stolen to order, with, you guessed it, Rolex at the top of the pecking order. It’s a crime spree where even celebrities have become victims. The only consolation is that some of the gangs have received a good slapping after stealing what turned out to be fake Rolexes.
So, by all means, come to Britain, but for your own safety, dig deep into your watch box and dust off that quartz Invicta.