A Lewisham couple have been jailed for a combined 26 months for stealing thousands of pounds from people on London buses.

In one incident the middle-aged couple targeted a woman, 74, who was sitting on a bus in Deptford.

Stephen Ricketts, 53, used his rucksack to shield his hands from other passengers before stealing contents from the pensioner’s bag on November 9 of last year.

He used her bank cards to make purchases of more than £2,000 over the next two days with his partner, Samantha Scott, 49.

Ricketts, of Slagrove Place, pleaded guilty to seven counts of theft, one attempted theft and three counts of fraud and was jailed for 18 months.

Scott was imprisoned for eight months after pleading guilty to three counts of fraud and five counts of handling stolen goods.

The judge slammed the pair for their behaviour which was "disorientating and distressing" for vulnerable victims.

PC Rob Yau said: "Ricketts deliberately targeted vulnerable victims for his own gain, leaving some of them significantly out of pocket.

"It is clear that these two individuals were intent on making money from other people and would likely have continued to do so had they not been caught.

"People in London should feel safe using public transport and we are committed to working alongside Transport for London to ensure those intent on behaving in this way are identified and prosecuted."

CCTV identified Ricketts as the suspect in all offences, as well as Scott for carrying out the fraudulent card transactions.

List of incidents:

1 – January 13, 2018 – bus from Notting Hill Gate to Oxford Circus, value of items stolen around £150

2 – July 18, 2018 – bus from Westminster Bridge to Elephant and Castle, value of items stole around £30

3 – July 21, 2018 – bus from Oxford Street to Victoria Bus Station, value of items stolen around £150

4 – July 21 21, 2018 – bus from Oxford Street to Regent Street, no items stolen

5 – August 30, 2018 – bus from Royal Albert Hall towards Green Park, value of items stolen around £40

6 – November 9, 2018 – bus in Deptford, cards stolen and used to make purchases over £2000

7 – November 18, 2018 – bus from Lancaster Gate to Oxford Circus, value of items stolen over £1,300

8 – December 13, 2018 – bus from Marble Arch to Bayswater Road, value of items stolen around £80