Police in London staged a cunning operation on Thursday, using a London bus to sneak up on Westminster Bridge con artists unawares.

Undercover officers from the Metropolitan Police boarded a No 2 red London bus to pull up alongside dozens of alleged gambling tricksters just yards from the Houses of Parliament.

They commandeered the bus, complete with a driver, for the day so they could pounce on the illegal gamers, said to prey on unsuspecting tourists near Big Ben and Parliament.

Officers made more than 12 arrests, hauling in alleged gamblers who were supposedly tricking tourists with illegitimate gambling schemes.

undercover police

Police used the bus to sneak up on suspects, giving them no chance to escape

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "By using the bus to arrive unseen and en masse officers were able to arrive right next to the suspects and quickly fill the area to prevent the suspects' escape and make at least 12 arrests."

The 21st Century Trojan horse allowed the officers to disembark right next to where the gamers ran their rackets, leaving them with no chance to escape.

As well as making the arrests, the officers were able to confiscate numerous gambling kits, as part of a crackdown on thieves and con artists named Operation Ursus.

undercover police

One of the arrested, an unidentified woman, took her child in its pram along with her to Westminster Bridge

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "We are rightly clamping down on the gangs of illegal gamers and thieves who can make visiting central London a misery. We are weeks away from a fantastic Olympic Games and there is no place in our city for criminals who profit from preying on visitors.

"We are working to rid our streets of these criminal networks and our actions mean that visitors and Londoners will be better able to focus on the games and enjoy the best London has to offer."

Hundreds of officers throughout this week as part of Operation Ursus, resulting in over 50 arrests so far.

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  • Undercover officers from the Metropolitan Police boarded a red London bus to pull up alongside dozens of alleged gambling tricksters just yards from the Houses of Parliament. They commandeered a No 2 for a day so they could pounce on the illegal gamers, said to prey on unsuspecting tourists, on Westminster Bridge. (Credit: PA)

  • Undercover officers from the Metropolitan Police boarded a red London bus to pull up alongside dozens of alleged gambling tricksters just yards from the Houses of Parliament. They commandeered a No 2 for a day so they could pounce on the illegal gamers, said to prey on unsuspecting tourists, on Westminster Bridge. (Credit: PA)

  • Undercover officers from the Metropolitan Police boarded a red London bus to pull up alongside dozens of alleged gambling tricksters just yards from the Houses of Parliament. They commandeered a No 2 for a day so they could pounce on the illegal gamers, said to prey on unsuspecting tourists, on Westminster Bridge. (Credit: PA)

  • Undercover officers from the Metropolitan Police boarded a red London bus to pull up alongside dozens of alleged gambling tricksters just yards from the Houses of Parliament. They commandeered a No 2 for a day so they could pounce on the illegal gamers, said to prey on unsuspecting tourists, on Westminster Bridge. (Credit: PA)