SUSPECT illegal immigrants have been arrested for their part in what’s believed to be an international iPhone selling plot.
Solihull Police – working with the UK Borders Agency – swooped at Touchwood on Monday (27 Sept) following intelligence suggesting the centre’s Apple store was the focus for an organised mass buy-up of the iPhone 4.
Up to 200 people were found queuing outside the shopping centre – some arriving as early as 3am – hoping to get their hands on Apple’s in-demand latest version of its iconic mobile phone.
Apple restricts sales to two phones per person – but police believe individuals are being paid to buy the phones which are then being sold with a 40% mark-up to Asia where iPhone 4 is not yet available.
Officers quizzed all the iPhone 4 hopefuls and arrested three males on suspicion of being in the country illegally. Around £4,000 in cash was also seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
St Alphege Neighbourhood Police Sergeant Kirk Whitehouse, said: “The phones aren’t on worldwide release yet and there’s high demand for them in Asia and the Arab states.
“We believe the phones are being sold abroad, or on eBay, at a considerable profit. Our investigation will now move onto assessing whether any tax offences have been committed by the people behind the buying and selling operation.”
Two men aged 22- and 21-years-old – both of Afghan origin – were detained on suspicion of being in the country illegally. A 17-year-old male, also from Afghanistan, was arrested but later released as he has an immigration appeal claim pending.