An open letter to the Wankers who stole my mobile phoneAn open letter to the wankers who stole my phone

An open letter to the Wankers who stole my mobile phone

Dear Wankers who stole my mobile phone,

I never caught your names in our briefest of meetings- we didn’t get that close in our brief conversation, so I guess ‘wankers’ will have to do. Luckily it sort of fits you very well – cunts, twats and scumbags would also be perfect as well but for the purposes of this letter we will stick with wankers.

So there I was minding my own business sat in the Cornerhouse café in Manchester city centre.

It’s sort of my ad hoc occasional city centre office. I have all my meetings in there and sit around writing and doing my stuff in the place.

I had just made a bunch of calls and put my phone on the arm of the settee next to my hand when the pair of you shuffled up and asked me where Piccadilly station was.

One of you, ‘little wanker’ was about 18 and looked very naïve whilst your mate was older- about 30 with a beard and looked a bit shifty. I thought you were out of towners, you looked a bit lost and I was all too happy to help you out. I should have told you to fuck off in the modern way but I didn’t and I paid the price.

You didn’t look like thieves but there was something not quite right about you but in the course of the 15-second conversation there was not enough time for mother instinct to bubble up to the surface and warn me about you.

An open letter to the Wankers who stole my mobile phone

I couldn’t quite catch what you said as you were mumbling with strange accents and I was a bit surprised when you pushed out sheets of paper with weird writing on them towards me- a ruse to hide your shifty, shit encrusted fingers sliding my phone into your sweat encrusted pockets without me seeing.

You must have taken my phone when it was a centimetre from my hand. Our chance meeting was short, very short and when I pointed you in the direction of the station you were gone and so was my phone as you shuffled off pretty quickly.

Five minted later it suddenly occurred to me that my phone had gone. You had already switched the phone off so the fabled iphone tracking that Apple are so proud of was already totally useless- nice idea Apple but practically useless these days.

Hey Apple while are here, how about coming up with an explosive device so I can blow my phone up when it’s in the filthy, shit encrusted fingers of the thieving swine?

So Wankers, our friendship was so brief so I ran out the front of the Cornerhouse looking for you. By then I had no intention of politely asking for my phone back, we all know that you would have done the spineless denying thing and to be honest I have little time for those kind of whining conversations. The conversation would have been a bit more robust and direct and my phone would either have been returned or £500 worth of whatever the pair of you had on you would have been handed over to me as comepnesation.

Wankers, you betrayed my trust and you were dishonest as well as slimy and slippery and I don’t like that kind of stuff. Even in the 21st century there has to be some sort of honour.

We have your ugly faces all over CCTV and someone gave me the registration and make of your getaway car- at this point we thought that we would have you bang to rights as they used to say in the Sweeney but we forgot that the local police are either overworked or just not that interested in robbery even if this current trick had been going on for months in the cafes on Manchester. All the facts were duly reported to the Sherlocks as well as the fact that this gang have been very busy in the last few weeks in city centre Manchester but nothing has happened yet- The only time the police got excited was when I told them I was looking for you as well and they warned me not to. That’s ‘their job’ apparently.

The next heart sinking phone call was made to my mobile phone company, O2, to get my phone switched off. The two hour phone calls to O2 at 5p a minute must be good for their struggling family business but not for my already battered wallet. O2 have it all worked out- that tactic of endlessly asking your name and address and not quite spelling it right and getting my mobile number wrong so I had to tell them again and again was paying big dividends.

After keeping me on hold for 40 minutes the phone was actually cut off and I had to go through he whole process again.
Which brings me back to my new friends, yes, you- Wankers, I’m not sure who I despise the most- you, the initial greasy swine who lifted the phone or the crooks who rent the phone to me- it’s all 21st century crime by stealth- either by street gangs or corporate gangs and we are the victims of it every day.

O2 made me feel dirty and like a criminal- weird as I could swear I was the one who had my phone nicked and it’s going to cost me fortune to get my phone back up to speed.

I know my phone will be melted down now and the minerals from the insides sold on the black market for probably a £100 for you wankers to spend on grubby porn or another pair of shitty looking trainers.

Wankers, I know you are busy guys and have little time to read my letter- you have to get back down Oxford road in Manchester with your varying tricks- like pushing a bag of drugs into people’s faces whilst someone pickpockets the person or doing a charity survey in cafes with clipboards whilst lifting a phone but don’t forget that every day more and more of us now who you are and we are ready for you…

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Hi John,
    I’m very sorry to read the above. I hope that you get sorted with a replacement phone pronto, but more importantly I really hope that this nasty experience doesn’t totally put you off helping strangers again.
    You did a decent thing and have got totally shit on as a result: that ain’t right.
    All the best.

  2. sorry to hear about this John, i am absolutely disgusted by this event, thank god it hasn’t happened to me, yet. I think that nowadays, you try and do the right thing and be helpful to people as you were, but more often than not, it backfires on you so you start to wonder whether its worth it. Hopefully the two wankers who did this will get their comeuppance, it is so disheartening, there are so many worthless pieces of shit around today, whether that be government/authority figures, so called celebrities or the kind of pond-life who stole your phone. Hopefully there will be some kind of positive outcome.

  3. This really pisses me off, little cunts think they can take what they want. I really feel like hanging out at corner house with my phone on display and wait for these fuckers…

  4. This tale sucks donkey balls. Sadly, this is the kind of shitty country we live in now, where sub-human scum like this get away scot free time and again because the cops can’t be arsed. It’s made all the more gauling by the additional horror of O2 being total cunts like all the mobile providers, who see fit to fuck you over even though you’re paying them for the privilege.
    Makes me mad to think about it. Hope you get something out of this at the end.

  5. No doubt their social workers will say that you have alienated and demonised the poor blighters and it’s no wonder they behave they way they do ! Wankers does cover it though, John.

  6. Why don’t you post their pictures from CCTV on LTW? I’m sure they would be soon tracked down and you could pay them a visit and have a ‘direct’ conversation….

  7. Johnny, what is it with you and street theft? Do you remember when some other equally repugnant character nicked your bike when you were recording an episode of turn on terry? Did you ever get it back? But I agree that it’s not just the thieves themselves who are at fault but the major corporations who make you jump through hoops to get the situation resolved. My bank account was recently cleaned out by online shopping thieves and it took the bank several days to recordist my account with the stolen money, leaving me with nothing in the meantime. You’d think it would be easy to catch the thieves when they’ve ordered goods by mail order, but I don’t think they consider it a bad enough crime to warrant funds being spent on that sort of thing. Grrrrrrrrrtrrttrr

  8. Gutted for you John and anybody who falls victim to this type of crime. Rest assured in the career path these characters have chosen, karma can be a bitch.

  9. Hey John, first of all I’m very sorry about your loss. Now, I’m not trying to be a smartass but hey, come on… with 314 phones stolen every single day in London, and about 70% of ’em being iPhones, why on earth people still insist on displaying them everywhere? At gigs, at starbucks, riding the subway…you name it. You wouldn’t place a 500 Euro bill sitting next to your expresso, do you?. Stick it in you pocket or strap a lanyard to the damn thing then use an old Nokia as a decoy.

  10. sorry to here.distraction will always keep you off your guard.hope they get caught..doubt if the police are interested though.i was robbed after ordering a pint the bar last year.distracted by whipping my head with a piece of flurescant tube(i turned around to see who had done it)…then taking my £15 change on bar.only a couple of minutes later did i realise i had no money.just my story…not a phone but robbed none the less

    • Was robbed by some Eastern European pickpockets last week. Thought I has done well to push them away when they touched me, asking for money but since then I’ve been told that was exctly the wrong thing to do, that it’s a distraction technique. Just thought I’d share.

  11. Little fcukers…..being shat on for doing the right thing, hurts even more, eh….? Karma John, karma……

  12. Seen this in the Evening News today – sounds like part of the same gang – says they were caught on Oxford Road


  13. Very sorry that this happened. Its bad news. With crime so much on the increase, the government should provide a “Drop in Centre” for those who need to call credit card companies, mobile phone companies and create a hotline service, so these forty min waits do not happen. I know the government won’t do this, but… they and the Blair government need to take some responsibility for the rise in crime. In their idealistic “United States of Europe….lets lose control of the borders” vision, they didn’t see the obvious.. which is that the UK is a rich country and its inhabitants are prey to criminals from EU poor countries, who arrive with one stated purpose. To steal. A 20 month sentence followed by deportation would have been better, followed by government funded compensation for his victims, and proper support for the practical problems that follow this type of crime….. would be even better… ah… dreaming is free.

  14. Nobody buys porn these days. Get with the now, daddio. They’ve probably spent the profit on weed and cheap cider. Take heart in the knowledge that at least they haven’t wasted it.

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