You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket Or Two…

” In this life-one thing counts-
in the bank-large amounts
I’m afraid these don’t grow on trees-
You’ve got to pick a pocket or two…..”
that is the lesson that the crook, Fagan, teaches Oliver Twist in the movie, “Oliver!”.)

In this 1968 movie adaptation of Charles Dickens’ heartrending novel, Oliver Twist, – Fagan, and his gang of pickpockets recruit the young orphan Oliver and teach him their trade.

Pickpockets are in the news currently, because of a novel scheme initiated as an advertising campaign, by a broadband provider, TalkTalk. The scheme is currently being run in London until the end of August.

There are 20 former pickpockets involved in the scheme, and instead of taking cash out of people’s pockets, they are putting some in!

‘Anything from 5 pounds ($8) to 20 pound notes is being surreptitiously deposited in unguarded pockets or open handbags in Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and other busy spots.

‘”It feels good to give something back for a change — and Britons certainly need it in the current economic climate,” said Chris Fitch, a former pickpocket who now heads TalkTalk’s putpocketing initiative.’

What a role reversal!

In India though, some policemen seem to have taken Fagan’s advice to Oliver to heart!

In Hyderabad, two police constables were caught red-handed a couple of weeks ago.

There was a function at the NTR Trust Bhavan, the Telagu Desam Party headquarters, as former Home Minister T Devender Goud rejoined the party with thousands of his followers.

‘Two pickpockets were arrested and Rs 40,000 recovered from them.’

‘”The two were cleaning out the pockets of those attending the function and were handing over the money to the two policemen who were standing outside the venue,” police said.

If the pickpockets were caught, the policemen would ‘come to their rescue and frisk them away on the pretext of handing them over at the police station!’

A good initiative was launched in Bath (UK) recently by the Bath Police. Over a thousand bells were obtained by them to hand out to shoppers in the city.

Bath Police are looking to make it difficult for thieves to get away with it. The bells attach to the purse so if lifted from a bag the bells make a noise alerting the owner and deterring the would be thief.”

Perhaps some bells could be attached to the two Hyderabad ‘pickpocket’ policemen, so people could know when they are in the area, and stay alert!

[ ‘Oliver!’ movie photo courtesy- Wikipedia]



  1. Interesting news all over.. thanks for sharing… :)and police accompanying thieves… scary but not unexpected… and both the initiatives are seems to be good one…


  2. I just dont cease to be amazed at the ingenuity of mankind and its mind. To pick pockets or put things back inside ! And the lengths it goes to ! Imagine the collusion of the pick pockets and policemen. And the ultimate irony : picking pockets of politicians and their ilk !I guess what goes around comes around. In some form or the other. And this talk talk scheme…. interesting indeed. I wonder what else marketing and such else can accomplish ! 🙂


  3. Very nicely woven…one couldn't have guessed at the beginning where you were taking us.Pick pocket policemen is old news, but this one was very creative! But these are all small time thieves. The big ones are picking the many huge pockets of Mother India!


  4. I loved Oliver Twist for its pathos and realism.It is indeed ironical that policemen would use pickpockets to pick the pockets of politicians, who are the biggest pick-pockets of all. Talk about outsourcing!And the put-pocket initiative was really novel. Advertising attracts some of the best brains in the world, unlike politics, sadly!


  5. Kanagu– Unfortunately it's true that pickpockets and police together, is scary but not unexpected.Kavi– Yes, I liked the 'putpocketing' idea, too! Who knows if it will boost sales of whatever cell-phone scheme they are selling, though.Vinodji– Thank you! And yes, these are just small-time thieves- probably getting their inspiration from the big ones you mention!Sucharita– I loved 'Oliver Twist', too. So many disturbing incidents narrated in it, though.Yes, the situation of policemen using pickpockets to rob politicians, is indeed ironical!Chowlaji– Yes, I suppose that's true- police and pickpockets have always been hand in glove.And thank you!Sagarone– Thank you!


  6. I had read this bit about put-pockets somewhere, but you have made it even more interesting with the Indian side of it 🙂 Yes, we certainly need bells permanently attached to pickpockets 🙂 That should help.But seriously, the police is just as bad.. which is why there is no putting an end to it.


  7. I missed reading your posts because of a small problem in my eye, Manju. Now, to your posts, one by one! Good idea – these 'putpockets' idea is innovative. How will the people who put their hands inside their pockets and came across this money, feel. They will sure be bewildered!Hyderabad incident is believable. Our policemen never did policing but are always on the lookout for easy money and no one respects them. They will go to any length to fill their pockets.'Belling the police' is a super idea, Manju. Beautiful post. The way you have linked each other is superb.


  8. Great post. And politicians have such deep pockets, the story about pickpocketing politicians in cooperation with the police in Hyderabad is kind of poetic justice.And I actually despair for the bell system working for us here. The pickpockets will themselves wear louder bells to confuse you. Though the idea of getting surprise money in your purse is certainly welcome.:-)


  9. Lovely post. Well what about the priest at Tirupati who helped himself to a few necklaces and a handful of other jewellery.He too seems to have read and been impressed by Oliver Twist.


  10. Smitha– Yes, with the police aiding the pickpockets- whom should we turn to for help? Vivekji– It would be an amusing situation, wouldn't it- bells attached to policemen? 🙂Sandhya– Sad, but true- the police do not command our respect any more. Maybe all are not corrupt, but their image has been spoiled by the ones who are.BTW, I hope your eye is better now.Ugich Konitari– Certainly, politicians having their pockets picked is poetic justice. I wish that the pickpockets as well as the police would confine themselves to robbing politicians, and leave the rest of the citizens alone!


  11. Mavin– Thank you!The actions of the priest are truly represensible- religious learning seems to have had no effect on him!Gauri– Thank you!


  12. Now just imagine if politicians pooled their black money together and started building roads,hospitals and colleges. 😀 I must not day dream !


  13. Sandhya– Glad to read that!Kislay– In such a scenario pickpockets would not steal wallets and policemen would not supervise them! 🙂


  14. i want to pick the brains of the polticians and the guys ( not much can be expected because as they promoted their brains know only to listen to instructions and pass them on )


  15. Coming from the area, thanks for the warning.The police are hand in glove with all the thugs out here including the auto rickshaw drivers. It is said that the cops own atleast 90% of the autos and therefore overlook any offenses committed by them. It is a sad state of affairs.


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