Illusionist David Blaine has been taking his magic to the streets of London - unwittingly giving shoplifters the chance to escape unnoticed.

People were so engrossed in Blaine's close-up card tricks in Angel, North London, that thieves were able to snatch clothes from nearby store MARKS AND SPENCER'S and run through the crowd without being caught.

A source tells British tabloid THE DAILY STAR, "Nobody batted an eyelid because they were all glued to David Blaine, trying to see how his tricks worked.

"He mumbles quietly while he is performing so everyone was gathered really close. It was perfect cover for a shoplifter."

American Blaine was filming tricks for programmes to be broadcast on British television channels CHANNEL 4 and SKY ONE. He is in the UK preparing for his latest stunt, which will see him encased without food in a Perspex box suspended above the river Thames, for 44 days.

20/08/2003 13:23