These shocking pictures show staff at a major UK airport brazenly looting passengers’ luggage for valuables – caught on film in a police sting operation.
Anthony Currant, 65, and Abul Hussain, 30, were jailed for stealing thousands of pounds worth of goods from innocent travellers arriving at Luton Airport.
They were captured by covert police cameras over a period of six weeks helping themselves to cigarettes, jewellery and electrical goods.
The callous thieves can be seen padding down luggage on a carousel for bulky tobacco cartons or iPods and MP3 players before snatching the contents and closing the bag..
Police went undercover to catch the thieves after passengers reported an alarming number of goods going missing from their check-in luggage.
They discovered the two airport cleaners were diverting bags from arrivals into a small area where they could rifle through them and steal valuables at leisure.
Bags were then sent out to arrivals carousels where unsuspecting passengers would pick them up not realising that their goods had been stolen until they unpacked.
After searching the thieves’ homes in Luton, police discovered #32,000 in cash at Currant’s home as well as 12,000 cigarettes and 66 packs (3,300g) of tobacco.
They found a further 4,800 cigarettes and 144 packs of (7,200g) tobacco at Hussain’s home as well as a number of electrical items, jewellery and a quantity of cash.
Police cannot be sure how much the two Interserve workers had stolen previous to their investigation but thefts have decreased dramatically since they were caught.
Thefts from luggage at Luton airport dropped by 77 per cent from 163 reported from February to June in 2009 to just 36 reported in the same period in 2010.
A spokeswoman for Bedfordshire Police said that the successful investigation had made Luton Airport safer for travellers.
She said: ”Items were going missing from luggage at Luton Airport and it became clear that it was a regular occurrence.
”Currant and Hussain were diverting bags before they reached the arrival hall to an area where they could rifle through them at their leisure.
”The airport policing unit identified this as a problem and put a lot of effort into getting to the bottom of what was going on.
”As a result, passengers at Luton Airport are now at much less risk of having their property stolen.
”As a lot of people do not report stolen goods from their baggage it is impossible to know how much was stolen.
”However, the fact that crime has fallen by 77 per cent since their arrest suggests they were responsible for a large amount of thefts.”
Police installed cameras at the airport for six weeks from December 8 to January 21. The pair were arrested on February 3 and both pleaded guilty to theft.
Currant, who was selling cigarettes and tobacco to airport co-workers, was sentenced to six months imprisonment at Luton Crown Court on Friday.
Hussain received a three-month sentence for his lesser role in the thefts at Luton Magistrates Court last month.
Currant and Hussain were both cleaners for Interserve, who are contracted to provide services at Luton, which is Britain’s fifth largest airport.
On average 700,000 passengers travel through the international airport each year from February to June and the rate of theft from luggage is an average of 0.023 per cent.
An airport spokeswoman said: ”London Luton Airport notes the court’s decision and is pleased that the matter has been brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
”As it involved people working for an independent contractor it would be inappropriate to make any further comment.”