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Folkestone: CCTV shows child thief dressed in Halloween costume stealing phone at The Lanterns snooker club

By Matt Leclere

These shocking images reveal the moment a man and child clad in Halloween costumes burgled a town centre snooker hall.

The masked raiders took an expensive state-of-the-art mobile phone from the Folkestone Snooker Club at The Lanterns in Rendezvous Street yesterday at 6.15pm.

The video shows the man, dressed in what appears to be a vampire costume scouring the bar area, while giving orders to the child who is carrying a bucket.

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The masked raiders sized up the phone left on the bar
The masked raiders sized up the phone left on the bar

After the culprits leave the camera shot, the child, about 4ft tall and wearing a mask, returns to steal the Samsung Galaxy S8 mobile phone.

It belonged to club owner Darren Smith, who runs the business with his wife, Ingrid.

Mrs Smith described the whole incident as "bizarre" and said she felt sorry the child had been "used".

She told KentOnline: "It's a members club. Two men had been playing snooker and paid up and left.

"As far as we were aware nobody was there because you need to be buzzed in.

"It appears to us they had been let in.

"The man put his hand on the phone. We were to the right and he probably heard us talking in the kitchen.

"You can see the bar but we didn't even think. Obviously we're going to take a look at that.

"Darren walked back in and said 'where's my phone'. I called it and it went straight to answerphone.

"We've only had it for about six weeks. It's absolutely useless because it is so new."

Mrs Smith said she had contacted a phone shop who said because the phone was new it would raise suspicion to unlock it.

The couple then went to review the CCTV footage from the club.

Mrs Smith added: "What he [my husband] said is unrepeatable. I'm fuming because he's just a child.

"We can see him come back. On another angle where they walk out in the doorway, virtually saying to and get it and that's when he [the child] comes in and runs out.

"To use a child like that is beyond belief."

The Galaxy S8 handset, which was released by Samsung in April, has a retail price of £689.

Police are now investigating the incident which was reported immediately.

The man moves away before sending the child back to the bar who takes the phone
The man moves away before sending the child back to the bar who takes the phone

A spokesman said: "Kent Police received a report of burglary at The Lanterns in Folkestone on Wednesday 11 October 2017.

"It is believed that two people entered a business premises at around 6.15pm in Rendezvous Street and stole a mobile phone.

"Anyone who saw anything suspicious or who has information that could assist officers should call Kent Police on 01843 222289 and quote ZY/049078/17."

Mrs Smith said: "The little boy had a little green mask on and the man had a black Dracula cloak lined in red and Groucho Marx mask with the big nose and moustache.

"They had the little buckets that kids use at Halloween.

"I just find it bizarre. We've watched it a couple of times.

"I definitely think they are local. It's the first time [anything like it has happened] and that's why we're so stunned about it.

"People need to be aware of people in these masks if this is the way he's acting.

"Everybody is a member and we know everybody. That's how the club runs.

"Somebody will know who it is."

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 01843 222289 and quote ZY/049078/17

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