A one-man crime wave from Algeria who has twice been deported from Britain is facing jail after being arrested near one of his favourite hunting grounds. To the Home Office's huge embarrassment, prolific bag snatcher Hakim Benmakhlouf was detained by police at Heathrow Airport after slipping back into the country.
The father- of-two, who has a string of convictions for stealing from rich tourists at five- star hotels and airports, was confronted by officers after being spotted on CCTV. The UK Border Agency is to launch an inquiry into how Benmakhlouf, who has 12 aliases, was able to make a mockery of Britain's border controls yet again.
The 28-year-old, was first thrown out in July 2007 when, while serving a three-and-a-half year prison sentence for theft, he was given £3,000 by the Government to be released early and fly home to his native Algeria.But 24 hours later he returned to London on Eurostar to continue his extraordinary crime wave.Benmakhlouf was re-arrested in April 2008 and jailed for three years the following month after admitting two thefts and asking for five similar offences to be taken into consideration.But he was released last March after serving just a third of his sentence and flown home again at taxpayers' expense. And he is thought to have returned to London a few days later.Detectives are furious at how Benmakhlouf, regarded as one of London's most prolific bag snatchershas made a laughing stock of the UK Border Agency.One said: 'What's the point of deporting someone if he can come back effortlessly just a few days later? For him, deportation orders are like a revolving door.'
Benmakhlouf was cornered in a car park at Heathrow Airport last Saturday. At Uxbridge Magistrates Court on Monday he admitted assault on police, breach of a deportation order and breach of an Anti-Social Behaviour Order. He will be sentenced on April 23.
The life and crimes of Benmakhlouf were laid bare at his May 2008 sentencing. Prosecutor Helen Thomas told Southwark Crown Court in London that Benmakhloufwas a 'prolific thief '. 'The defendant targets high class hotels or airports,' she added.