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Professional magician, Rob James, puts cardboard smartphones into people's pockets while they are unaware in Dover town centre

By Victoria Chessum

A professional magician has shown how easy it is to put items into people’s bags and pockets – and therefore how easy it also is to take valuables out.

Rob James came to Dover as part of the Put-Pockets team and he was filmed in the town centre slipping cards, the same size as smartphones and iPads, into people’s pockets and bags while they were unaware.

It was organised by the Dover Partnership Against Crime (DPAC) team to highlight the problem of theft from shoppers who leave their bags undone, or their pockets insecure, especially in the run-up to Christmas.


Professional magician, Rob James, slipping the card into someone's back pocket
Professional magician, Rob James, slipping the card into someone's back pocket

DPAC co-ordinator Karen Griffiths said: “It is really important to make people aware that it actually does, and can, happen to anybody.

“It is a lot easier to put the cards on people than I thought it would be.”

The video shows the magician bumping into people and then slipping the cards into back pockets, and unzipping a rucksack over a man’s shoulder.

An elderly couple were interviewed after the magician had played the trick on them.

When asked if they had noticed, they replied, in a shocked manner, “no” before reaching into their pockets to find the cards.

A food stall trader in the town said he was “scared” after he was targeted.

One woman said she “would never leave her bag open again” after she was approached and told about what had happened.

Mr James said: “It has been surprisingly easy to do and we’ve had a bigger number of hits than I was expecting.

Magician, Rob James
Magician, Rob James

“Hopefully they are going away with their perception altered a little bit and are more aware.

“Pick-pocketing is still as big now as it ever was, especially when we have things like smart phones and iPads.

“These things are so small and they can be taken within seconds.”

He added: “People are still surprised, they don’t understand that I was in their personal space, let alone having the time to go into their pockets.”

People are asked to remember that “if someone can get a smartphone into your pocket, they can get a smartphone out.”

The project was funded by an Awards for All Lottery grant and the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner.

For more information about joining the Dover Partnership Against Crime, which now also covers Sandwich and Deal, call 01304 218172 or email info@dpac.org.uk

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