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Three jailed for phone box thievery

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Three people were jailed for three years each yesterday for their part in stealing thousands of pounds from BT phone boxes.

Grigor and Karine Gevorgyan and Tigran Aglintsyan, aged 48, 46 and 42 respectively, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal at Leicester Crown Court earlier this month. The three had stolen coins from more than 500 phone boxes across the country. The crime might sound like something from the 1950s but the gang grabbed an estimated £200,000.

BT was first alerted when it realised that takings from phone boxes in Leicester were considerably lower than expected. In May 2010 the telco talked to Leicestershire Police who helped with surveillance and once it realised the suspects were foreign nationals it called in the UK Border Agency.

Aglintsyan was caught in the act robbing a phone box. The Gevorgyans were arrested at home the same day. The three had hit boxes in the East Midlands, the South West, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Cambridgeshire.

The UK Border Agency said it was a sophisticated operation to steal a very large amount of money.

The Border Agency release on the Armenian phone box thieves is here.

The judge recommended the three should be deported once they'd served their sentences. ®

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