An undercover police officer caught a gang of thieves red-handed as they tried to swipe bags and purses in London’s Oxford Street.
Bodycam footage shows the three Bulgarian women being handcuffed after they attempted to steal from tourists in the busy part of the capital.
They were snared by officer Steve Stamp, who compared them to ‘sharks circling around their prey’.
Sgt Stamp was called to the scene after the women attempted to rob a pedestrian.
He shouted ‘they’re doing it, they’re doing it’ as he watched them try to steal from a second victim.
The shocking scenes will air on Channel 5 documentary Inside Oxford Street on Thursday evening.
Sgt Stamp said: ‘They are working as a group of three, they are like sharks circling around their prey.’
He added: ‘She’s gone for the purse, tried to open it up before she has turned around and realised.
‘Then she’s clocked us, so we have had to go in for the kill. Three criminals taken off the streets. Job done.
‘Everyone knows when they come to London, they are going to go shopping on Oxford Street and all the pickpockets know that is where their prey is going to be.
‘For me, its always the eyes. These thieves are looking down at peoples bags, people’s rucksacks, purses and things like that, they are not interested in the shops, that’s a giveaway.’
A woman involved in the incident, Vasileva Yordanka, was later found guilty of theft and handed a suspended sentence, as well as a fine.
In a statement, Scotland Yard said officers are aware of reports of anti-social behaviour and begging in the Oxford Street area.
The force said: ‘In order to deter criminality, officers in Westminster deploy a number of tactics including high-visibility patrols as well as plain-clothes operations, whilst offering crime prevention advice to residents, visitors and local businesses.
‘We would always encourage anyone who believes that they are a victim of crime to report it to police.’