Two men who posed as policemen to try and steal from a tourist have been jailed.

Sorin Tufa, 37, of St Mary's Road in Leyton, and Cristian Timuc, 49, of no fixed address, used fake police warrants cards in an attempt to trick a 43-year-old man outside the British Museum.

Accomplice Lazar Trifu, 56, of St Mary's Road in Leyton, approached the man and asked him for directions on February 27.

Tufa and Timuc then approached and identified themselves as police officers before accusing Trifu of being a drug dealer.

They then demanded to see the confused tourist’s passport as Florea Tiganilla, 38, also of St Mary’s Road, Leyton, acted as a lookout.

Plain-clothed British Transport Police (BTP) were watching the gang and arrested the four men before the tourist had any items stolen.

Tufa and Timuc pleaded guilty to impersonating a police officer and being equipped for theft at Westminster Magistrates Court on February 28. 

Trifu and Tiganilla both admitted being equipped for theft.

All four men were each sentenced to 10 weeks in prison.

Sergeant Helen Parsfield of BTP said: "Tufa, Timuc, Trifu and Tiganilla worked as a team by trying to con people into thinking they were protecting them from a drug dealer.

"Thanks to the quick actions of the plain clothes BTP officers, the gang is now in prison for their deceitful behaviour.

"When officers arrested the men, a fake toy police badge was found in Tiganilla and Tufa’s possession.

"Tufa also had a bundle of $1 bills, which we strongly suspect were intended to replace money taken from victim’s wallet in order to appear as though nothing had been stolen.

“Trifu was also found with a bundle of $1 bills and National Lottery number selection sheets, which had been cut down to the same size as a £10 note and are believed to have been used in the same way.

"Their sentence sends a clear message that theft is completely unacceptable and we will do everything we can to bring offenders to justice."