As the hordes of Christmas shoppers descend upon Covent Garden, police have put up notices in the area deterring would-be pickpocketers – written in Romanian. Just a mile away, Hyde Park corner is becoming notorious for scores of Romanian rough sleepers who insist that they have a right to be in the UK under EU law.
The bright yellow signs, bearing the logo for Metropolitan Police, London’s police force, read “Ofiteri de politie in civil opereaza in aceasta zona,” which translates as “plain clothes police officers are operating in this area. It is understood to mark the first time a sign of this nature has gone up in the Romanian language, the Mail on Sunday has reported.
Jack Gordon, chairman of Hyde Park Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panel, said: “People around here are fed up with the pickpocketing – the place has turned into Fagin’s kitchen.
“The crime has a hugely negative effect on tourism, on trade and on the residents. The problem is very difficult to deal with and I suppose the police are trying to prevent a crime from happening rather than deal with it afterwards.”
A minority of Romanian migrants have been caught aggressively begging, pickpocketing and enacting frauds across Britain, but the level of incidences is notably higher in the capital. Half of the pickpockets caught on the London underground network this year were from Romania.
Mark Field, Conservative MP for Cities of London and Westminster, said: “It is important to make it clear that this type of activity is not welcome on our shores. There are Romanian people here who can’t speak English and shouldn’t even be in this country if they are not seriously looking for work. This is an essential move by the Met Police to make it clear that we’re on their case.
“Those people who are coming here with no intention whatsoever to contribute to the British economy should be removed at the earliest possible opportunity, particularly if they’re guilty of aggressive begging or pickpocketing. There are many Romanians coming to this country willing to work, but I’m afraid there is a minority on the streets who should be removed.”
Last night a Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “In order to deter criminality, officers in Westminster deploy a number of tactics including the use of signs – in a variety of languages – warning people of the risk of pickpocketing in the area and providing reassurance regarding the presence of officers.”
Earlier this year Breitbart London reported that a quarter of London’s rough sleepers are from Eastern European countries which have joined the EU over the last decade. One group of Romanian immigrants has set up a makeshift shanty town in a subway under Park Lane, one of London’s most expensive addresses.
The group has cost Westminster Council half a million pounds this year in clean-up costs, while local residents complain of them urinating in doorways, washing in local fountains and even defecating on the streets. The Council offered 37 of the migrants £200 plane tickets back to Romania, but only two of them actually boarded the flight.
One of the group, a middle aged woman told the Daily Mail “We are from Romania. We are in the European Union. We need help with a house. Give us a house and we won’t be here.”