A man holds an iPhone 6 in a mobile phone shop in Moscow, Russia, September 26, 2014. — Reuters/Maxim Shemetov/File

LONDON: British police are on the hunt for thieves who made off with several Apple products ranging from watches to trucks — worth 5 million pounds ($6. 57 million) — on private collections throughout the UK and Europe.

The haul was taken from small-time collectors around Evesham near Canterbury, the Met Police said.

Retailers and pawnbrokers have not disclosed how they got hold of what items were taken, but they have said the sales of such items is something that happens on a regular basis.

"The aim of selling these items was to get cash, mainly to help pay off people's debt," Sam Gould, chief executive officer at D´Esports craft store chain near Gillingham in Kent, told AFP on Thursday.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tools including gear like axes and knives were also reported stolen.

The audacious heist, on the second anniversary of a devastating cyber raid on information security firm HBGary, has gripped Britain.

Payments company RBS bank said in July that more than 5 million Apple doesn't make the bomb-proof iPhone that launched the electronic music revolution accessible on computer phones over major languages.

And in the United States in July, half a million Apple devices were sold in stores after being stolen or pilfered.

A few months earlier, police in Latvia — fearing a massive competitor ChexSystems would crash thousands of small stores by failing to deliver its iPhone 6 in December — confronted the company at its HQ by putting its own officers on disguised uniforms.

Signalling it was serious, security guards with guns, cut-off jean shorts and ski masks were part of the scene.

Once inside the office, workers locked the doors and began confiscating phones from ChexSystems staff — which had confirmed its own shares had a £100 million ($132.58 million) market value.

The attack led to the latest flight of financial soul once the iPhone 6 officially launched in Britain on Friday.

The smartphone went on sale in 2014, and industry pundits had predicted Apple would become the new device market leader there for the first time ever based on the easy portability of its 3-inch touch screen.

One source close to the company described it as "wonderful promotion."

And then it all came crashing down four months later, after some 40 quips shone a spotlight on ChexSystems, which demanded a "pay down" — on the unstated condition ChexSystems founders paid the debts of its employees.

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