Members of the gang being taken to court earlier this month. | Alejandro Sepúlveda

On Friday, the National Police reported that they have made ten further arrests in the operation against an international gang of pickpockets in Majorca.

The original arrests were made almost three weeks ago. Thirty-four people in Majorca were arrested then, while European arrest warrants were issued for sixteen other people. A total of sixty people are therefore under investigation.

The second phase of Operation Bucharest focused on receivers of stolen items. Over five hundred items have been recovered, and many of them have been returned to their rightful owners. There were also goods stolen from shops, such as perfumes, which have been returned. Many high-end phones have been recovered, and their owners have been contacted.

The National Police estimated that the pickpockets arrested earlier this month had an annual "turnover" of some 1.6 million euros. Over the past ten years, the gang is reckoned to have stolen the equivalent of around 12.5 million euros.

The gang focused its operations in various parts of Palma - Playa de Palma, the historic centre, Bellever Castle, and at bus stops for the main lines to the airport and Playa de Palma - as well as in Puerto Alcudia, Puerto Soller, Cala Ratjada and Valldemossa.

They didn't use violence or intimidation, but operated by distracting their targets. They often disguised themselves as tourists, monitoring cars, the arrival of ferries and visits to monuments.

A parcel delivery company was used to send stolen items to Romania. Some of these items were stolen to order. The police investigation has also found that if gang members did not perform well enough, they were made to beg outside supermarkets or even engage in prostitution.