FOUR members of the same Romanian family are to be sentenced after pickpocketing sleeping train commuters.

Brothers Robert, 23, Marin, 25, and Romulus Rostas, 18, all of Norfolk Road, Gravesend, have admitted a charge of conspiracy to steal.

They were joined by their 22-year-old cousin-in-law, Cornel Rostas, of Springhead Road, Gravesend and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Robert Rostas pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing while the other four changed their pleas to guilty on the fifth day of a trial at Blackfriars Crown Court.

Between January 2009 and August last year, the group would target passengers who were sleeping on late night trains between Charing Cross and Gravesend.

They predominantly stole mobile phones from people's pockets or bags before leaving the train.

Detective Constable Tim Weekes, from British Transport Police, said: "These men are career criminals who have all previously been arrested, charged or convicted for theft related matters."

He added: "The items we found during house searches, along with CCTV and mobile phone analysis, indicated that these men were agents involved in a highly-organised conspiracy to steal, aimed at generating as much money as possible to pass back to other family members in Romania to buy land and property.

"We know there were over 180 crimes - over £60,000 worth of stolen property - linked to this group, but these are minimum estimates and the true figure could have been much higher because many thefts may have been reported as lost property or not reported at all."

The four men have been remanded in custody while the 17-year-old is on bail.

All five will be sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on April 20.