Published: 11:00, 18 November 2016
Thieves who have already targeted Kent are believed to have struck again in a charity shop in London.
Shocking CCTV has been released by the Metropolitan Police, showing a man using a young boy to steal a shop worker's mobile phone, who then conceals it in his trousers.
The man in the footage appears to be the same man who Kent Police hoped to speak to following a crime spree in Faversham and Broadstairs - where he also used the boy, believed to be around five-years-old.
VIDEO: The young boy can be seen putting a mobile phone down his trousers.
In October, Kent Police reported three incidents where a man would talk to a member of staff while another browsed the store with a small boy.
It is reported that at 12.35pm on Wednesday, October 12, a gold coloured Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge was taken from Empire men's clothing store in Preston Street, Faversham, on Saturday, September 17, an Apple iPhone 6S was snatched from Broadstairs High Street and on Wednesday, August 31 a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge was taken from a store in Market Place, Faversham.
While one man spoke with the shop assistant, the other took the device from the till area before leaving.
The most recent footage emerged this week from Merton Police, after an incident in the Cancer Research store in the High Street, Wimbledon on Tuesday, October 11.
In an appeal from officers, it says: "We are appealing for the public’s help after two men used a young boy, believed to be aged five, as part of a distraction theft at a charity shop.
"CCTV footage from within the shop caught two men trying on clothes. As one of the men distracted the sales assistant, the other man walked over to the till with a small boy and got him to pick up the phone, lift up his top, and conceal the mobile in the front of his trousers.
"The two men and boy then left the store with ladies' clothing - which they did not make any attempt to pay for - and the charity shop worker’s mobile phone."
The first suspect is described as a large white man in his early 30s with a brown beard, wearing a grey long sleeve top with a green logo on his left breast, grey cap, black shoulder bag, black shorts and black and white trainers.
The second is described as a large white man in his late 20s wearing a dark blue t-shirt, dark blue peaked cap, dark red trousers, white socks and dark shoes.
The boy involved is described as white with short brown hair, about five years old wearing a dark coloured top with a green and white image on the front, dark red trousers and black and white trainers.
PC Sue Clarke said: "We are keen to identify the two men in the CCTV footage who appear to use the child in their care to steal from those working in a cancer research shop.
"We would also urge anyone who witnessed the incident to contact us."
Anyone with information about the Kent incidents should contact police on 01795 419119 quoting crime reference XY/040332/16.
Anyone with information about the London incident should contact 101.