On the 14th May, a man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for handling stolen goods. Alexander Smith, aged 40, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court after a two year investigation conducted by Avon and Somerset Police’s burglary team and crime reduction unit in Bristol.
Officers were able to prove that Smith had been knowingly buying stolen mobile phones by utilising an online system known as CheckMEND. This system allows members of the public to check if a mobile phone is stolen before buying it.
Police searched a shop in East Street, Bedminster and identified more than 20 phones that were stolen from victims in both burglaries and robberies, many of which had occurred in the South Bristol area. A stolen pedal cycle was also found at Smith’s home address.
During one of these incidents, a female victim positively identified her stolen phone in Smith’s shop. Smith then demanded £40 from the victim before he would return her phone.
PC Frank Simonds, from Bristol Crime Reduction Unit, said:
The use of CheckMEND technology now allows the police to prove if stolen phones are being bought and sold by second hand retailers.
We will be relentless in our pursuit of those dealing in stolen goods.
Many phones that were proven to be stolen had been registered by owners on the Immobilise database. Registering phones enables the police to return them to their rightful owners.
Members of the public can register their phone for free by visiting www.immobilise.com
Members of the public can check if a mobile phone is stolen by visiting www.checkmend.com.
Retailers can receive advice on protecting their business from handling stolen goods as part of Operation Recover run by Avon and Somerset Police.
To read the source release in full please go to: Avon & Somerset Police