Gang members arrested in early morning raids after criminals posing as tourists built massive network over best part of a decade

The audacity and creativity of a pickpocket gang who worked shifts, employed teams of runners and made tourists their exclusive prey has been revealed by one of the most successful crackdowns to date on street crime in Greece.

Pickpocketing may flourish in tourist havens, but in Athens, where visitor numbers are booming, thieves appear to have been on a roll. With takings in excess of €3,500 (£3,100) a day, pickpockets posing as holidaymakers built a criminal network of unprecedented scale, “working” the public transport system for the best part of a decade.

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