Nearly half of all reported thefts at train stations in Waltham Forest last year occurred at Leyton station, the Guardian can reveal.

A freedom of information request to the British Transport Police (BTP) shows that in 2013, 76 people were victims of theft at stations operating within the borough, and almost half (34) occurred on the Central line at Leyton station.

Thieves are reported to have stolen up to 55 personal belongings at Leyton and 34 items at Leytonstone station.

On the Greater Anglia service between Chingford and Wood Street, 19 people reported theft and 37 items were stolen, including mobile phones, laptops and money.  

There were only two reported thefts of mobile phones on the Gospel Oak to Barking line at Leytonstone High Road and Walthamstow Queens Road.

But the BTP said thefts on the Tube were on the rise. A spokesman said:

"Whilst crime on Britain’s rail system is on a long downward trend, down for nine years in succession, theft of passengers’ property is currently a real challenge for BTP, particularly with the rise in thefts of smart phones and other high-tech devices.

“Theft of passenger property rose 16 per cent in 2012/13, and represents almost a third (32 per cent) of all reported crime by BTP.”

Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer said the statistics were worrying.

He said: “I find this very worrying indeed, not just the rise in thefts but the comments by the British Transport Police.

“I use Leyton station every day and the staff there are excellent. But the plan to close every booking office is a piece of lunacy by a mayor who could not care less about the people of Leyton.

“No doubt crime on our Tube network will increase.”

RMT union leader Bob Crow has said the Tube network is becoming a “criminal’s paradise”.

“There is no doubt that the recent increases in thefts and assaults are due to cuts to station staffing that have already been made as the mayor Boris Johnson takes the knife to the transport budget.

“It is clear to RMT that the mayor and his officials are ignoring the stark fact that his policies are turning the tube network into a criminal’s paradise.

A spokesman for the Mayor's office refuted Mr Crow's claims.

He said: "The suggestion that the Tube is a criminal’s paradise is simply not borne out by reality.

"Crime is at its lowest level on the network with just 9.6 crimes for every million journeys compared to 14.4 crimes for every one million journeys in 2008.

"Safety of our customers is of paramount importance and under TfL’s plans to modernise the network, there will be more staff in ticket halls and on platforms to help customers buy their tickets, plan their journeys and keep them safe."

At stations across Redbridge, there were 69 reported thefts and 23 at Epping, Loughton and Buckhurst Hill.