A thief swiped £15,000 worth of mobile phones after targeting 17 revellers in five clubs in just one night.
Peter Ogunsakin was caught with a total of 22 mobile phones when officers pulled over his blue Ford Focus in trendy Shoreditch, east London, on April 6 last year.
The 45-year-old was searched because he had failed to stop and officers four mobile phones - one of which was in a brightly-coloured case with a woman's name on it.
He claimed that he had bought two of the phones for cash on the street from a man he did not know, and that he did not get a receipt so was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods.
Officers then searched his car and a further 18 phones were found stashed in the front footwell, underneath a loose fitting mat, and another on the backseat.
It quickly emerged that one of the phones had been stolen from a woman in a Shoreditch nightclub hours earlier.
Ogunsakin told officers that he had gone to a club in nearby Aldgate at around 2am that Saturday morning.
He said he could not get into this club as it was too busy, so remained outside talking to acquaintances for about 30 minutes.
He then drove to London Bridge and went into a kebab shop to meet a friend of a friend, whose name who did not know, because he buys and sells things.
There he claimed he was shown a number of phones and agreed to buy two - one of which was stolen from the victim in Shoreditch - and they agreed a price of £40.
Ogunsakin said the unknown friend then sat in his car eating with him and he was carrying a bag.
The friend then left and Ogunsakin drove away – before he was then subsequently stopped by police.
Ogunsakin told officers he did not know the phones in the passenger footwell were there, and suggested they had been left there by the unknown friend.
Officers asked if he went to any other locations that evening, to which he stated no. He also told officers he did not go into the Shoreditch area.
However police inquiries proved this to be false. Officers traced all 17 victims who had their phones stolen to five nightclubs and bars in the Shoreditch area - and eventually had their phones returned to them.
All the victims said their mobile phones had been stolen from their pocket or handbag, and they had not spoken to the suspect, or see him approach them.
CCTV footage showed Ogunsakin at four of the five venues - with one showing him at a club at a time he had told officers he was at home.
In one of the venues, the CCTV caught Ogunsakin with his hand inside a woman's bag.
He was charged and admitted 17 counts of theft and one count of handling stolen goods when he appeared at Inner London Crown Court.
PC Barry Ward, the investigating officer from the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “I am delighted the overwhelming evidence collected in this investigation by my team resulted in Ogunsakin pleading guilty.
"It is extremely rewarding to know the enquiries we carried out enabled us to return more than £15,000 worth of stolen mobile phones to 17 victims.
"Many of the phones had priceless photographs on them the victims’ may have never been able to retrieve.
“Ogunsakin went out that night on a pick-pocketing spree, he did not care about the upset his actions would cause the victims.
"This case should act as a reminder to revellers to be aware of their surroundings whilst they are enjoying a night out.”