A Tiktok video, which has been widely circulated on social media, claims that the London police advised citizens to be careful about wearing expensive watches amidst Ukrainian refugees entering the United Kingdom.

ROUNDCHECK analysed the video and discovered the claim to be MISLEADING.


Ukrainian Refugees 

An ongoing refugee crisis began in Europe in late February 2022 after Russia invaded Ukraine.

According to the United Nations data, at least 12 million people have fled their homes since Russia invaded Ukraine. 

The UN data show that the UK has not been a common destination for Ukrainian refugees. Of the roughly 6.4 million people who have left Ukraine for European countries as of 16 August 2022 (or the latest available data for each country), 1.8% went to the UK, the Migration Observatory, at the University of Oxford reports



The TikTok video was posted on social media on October 17th, 2022.

It was captioned:

“⚡⚡⚡Amid the growing number of Ukrainian refugees, London police advise citizens to be careful about wearing expensive watches to avoid robberies. Ukraine on the use  progress⚡⚡”.

To further verify the claim, ROUNDCHECK traced the video to a Tik Tok account.

We found the video on a handle named LONDON, which posted the video on 15th October, 2022.

The video has generated over 56,000 likes, 2,670 comments and 5,146 saves at the time of filing this report.

A screenshot of the post

In the video, a moving billboard and voice-over artist was advising residents not to go out with expensive wristwatches.

Checking through the comment section, people reacted in different ways, some narrated similar experiences, while some did not quite agree with the advertisement.

A Tiktoker, Alejandra said, “I was in Westfield today, and there was this announcement saying “keep your phone out of sight when shopping…” I was like ok London is getting.”

Another user, David Arnett398 said, “Same in Stratford, keep phones out of sight. The government has given up on real crime, better to make people accept and shut down any complaints.”

Meanwhile, some Tiktokers disagree that the video is a warning against watch theft.

A user, user8987428630642, said, “This has nothing to do with the police, even says on the advert what company is advertising.”

Also, another user with the handle, Cameron,  said “Literally says a watch company paid for the ad not the police.”

Similarly, a Tiktoker, The Big Ham, expressed his opinion by saying, “I’m sorry what, how is this the police I see no proof of that it literally has a watch collecting website at the end.”

ROUNDCHECK further conducted a keyword search and found news reports in July and August, 2022. In the reports, the London police alerted citizens of criminals said to be crawling across central London and targeting rich pedestrians who flaunt their £200,000 watches


Using Verification Tools

ROUNDCHECK conducted a frame-by-frame analysis of the video on the InVid Video verification tool. Results from the analysis show a picture of a moving billboard.

Using TinEye, an image verification tool, on the first image, ROUNDCHECK found that the image was published with an article on a website named Watchpro.

Reading through the article, ROUNDCHECK learnt that the moving billboard is a campaign to warn citizens to safeguard their wrist watch around the London metropolis.

The public safety campaign was launched by Watch Collecting, a prominent online auction house, in response to the surging number of watch thefts in the capital this year.



After conducting a series of checks on the circulated video, ROUNDCHECK

found  that the filmed moving billboard was a public safety campaign launched by an online watch auction company and not the London police.

ROUNDCHECK observed that before the article about the public safety campaign was published, a video of the moving billboard had already been posted online with a misleading claim.

Also, there is no relationship between the time the campaign was launched and the Ukrainian refugees entering the UK.

We, therefore, rate the claim as MISLEADING


Written by Quadri Yahya, ⁨Egwu Linus, Zariat Yetunde Ayoade, Taiwo Babatunde, ⁨Kẹ́hìndé Àyànbọ́ádé, ⁨Ololade Owosho and Adebayo Miracle

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