The police are stopping people who leave and return to a certain tube stations in a suspiciously short period of time, and asking them, in not so many words, what the bloody hell they think they're playing at. Londonist, nest of career criminals that it is, discovered this when one of our number got stopped at Ladbroke Grove.
It took ten minutes of pleading and a detailed description of the route we'd walked from Hammersmith to persuade the polite-but-firm DI blocking our way to platform 2 that this was all a case of mistaken identity. Despite our questioning the officer declined to elaborate on the purpose of the campaign. He did say "All I can say" a lot, though. All he could say, unfortunately, was nothing.
A Metropolitan press officer was rather more forthcoming. This is apparently a standard technique at certain tube stations - Brixton is another - that are seen as criminal hotspots. But surely you can't commit a crime in the gap between tube trains?
"Off the top of my head, you can pick pockets, nick mobile phones... Public transport's the ideal way to do it," he explained. "You can come in, grab something and get back on the tube before they've even noticed anything's gone."
We're not entirely convinced the Hammersmith and City line is the best vehicle for a quick getaway. (What's the point of legging it, only to find yourself stuck on a platform for twenty minutes, listening to announcements about signal failures at Edware Road?)
But still, we find ourselves wondering - has anyone else out there had this experience? Or do we just look suspicious?
(Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Police under a creative commons licence.)