Daily Star Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - ■ by SCOTT HESKETH sun­[email protected]­

MOPED gangs are plan­ning a bru­tal phone theft spree ahead of Christ­mas – de­spite a po­lice crack­down.

And they have de­fi­antly told cops look­ing to ram them off their bikes: “Go f*** your­selves – we’re not stop­ping for no-one.”

Brazen bik­ers are go­ing af­ter valu­able Sam­sungs and iPhones to sell on for up to £250 each in a racket they call “ap­ple pick­ing”.

Daily Star Sun­day in­ves­ti­ga­tors met a ruth­less mob of mug­gers who are taunt­ing po­lice try­ing to take them out with tough new tac­tics.

The Met have been chas­ing thieves and knock­ing them off their bikes.

They say the tac­tic has driven down thefts and rob­beries in­volv­ing mopeds and scoot­ers.

But cash-hun­gry gangs eye­ing big re­wards are ig­nor­ing the threat as shop­pers hit the high street for presents.

We met two moped mug­gers in south Lon­don – one aged 23 and one 26 – who told of their op­er­a­tion and warned: “We’re gonna hit hard over Christ­mas.”

Wear­ing a mask to con­ceal his iden­tity, one said: “We usu­ally go out and ap­ple pick. That means snatch­ing phones from peo­ple’s hands mostly.

“High-value phones like the Sam­sung S9 and the S9+ as well as the iPhone X or any of the new ones.

“It’s easy to spot the Sam­sungs be­cause the cam­era’s in the mid­dle.

“We have an Asian guy who buys up all of our stock – any­thing over two phones, he takes off our hands.

“De­pend­ing on the phone and the con­di­tion they’ll fetch up to £250 a go. On a good day we’ll do three grand easy.

“Some­times we go for watches – an AP [Aude­mars Piguet], Rolex or Patek Philippe – but that in­volves lots of work and some­times you get fakes.

“You’ll also of­ten get he­roes try­ing to stop you. That’s when it be­comes dan­ger­ous, for us and them.

“We don’t carry guns be­cause it’s too on top but we do have bike chains which we’ve used be­fore.

“So we tend to stick to phones. A snatch is too quick for the he­roes. You’re away be­fore they can do any­thing. But a watch

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