The campaign has been launched following the seizure of nearly 2,000 mobile phones as part of a police investigation in Bristol.
However, officers can only establish that 50 of these phones have been stolen as only a small proportion of the phones can be linked to theft-related offences reported to police.
Police raided a property, in the St Pauls area of the city, on 21 July and found a range of items, including laptops, cameras and 1,800 mobile phone handsets.
District crime support officer Mike Willis said:
We have managed to identify 50 as stolen, 58 have been blocked by the phone’s provider, while another 51 have been registered to a named user and we are currently contacting the owners of these.
However, all the others are unaccounted for. It may be that a number of these have been stolen but if they haven’t been registered by the user or the theft hasn’t been reported to the police then it is much more difficult for us to establish this.
Of the phones for which we do have details, one handset was stolen from a lady in Weston. It was not insured and she was tied in to a three year contract paying £30 per month. She would have had to carry on paying this for another two and a half years.
The Weston mobile phone was worth around £300 and another handset worth £350, stolen in Stevenage just weeks after it was purchased, was also found in the haul.
Police are urging people not only to report any phone thefts but also to supply the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number when reporting it to make it easier to identify. They are also encouraging people to register their phones on the Immobilise website, which is used by all police forces to check the property they recover.
Mobile phone theft accounts for around six per cent of total crime in the area. Most thefts are from walk-in home thefts, pick pocketing or walk-in thefts to shops or other public locations.
We are keen to crack down on this kind of crime and would encourage everyone to make sure they have recorded the details of their phones so that it is easier for us to trace the owner of a phone and return it to them if it is stolen.”
A mobile phone’s IMEI number can be found behind the battery of the phone or provided by the network provider or by keying *#06# on the phones keypad.
To register your phone so that it can be listed in case of loss or theft visit www.immobilise.com
To read the source press release go to: Avon and Somerset Police