A 43-YEAR-OLD Plumstead man has been jailed just 48 hours after trying to steal from a Tube passenger.

Laurentiu Balan, of Plumstead Common Road, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on February 10 where he was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison after pleading guilty to attempted theft.

Balan committed the offence two days earlier at around 2.30pm on board an eastbound Circle line service.

The court heard that his 43-year-old victim was already on the train when Balan boarded the carriage at Victoria, standing close before dipping into her handbag.

She noticed, yelled at him, and he left the train. But, while travelling on a Westminster elevator. she saw him again and snapped a photo on her phone.

Five hours later, he was spied by a plain clothed British Transport Police officer.

Sergeant James Ashby said: "Thanks to the woman’s quick actions officers had a clear image of Laurentiu Balan, which led to his arrest on the same day and prevented anyone else falling victim.

"Balan targeted the woman because her bag was open, which allowed him to use the ‘easy dip’ tactic. His prison sentence should send a clear message that theft, and attempted theft, are taken extremely seriously."