Four men were arrested and hundreds of handsets seized following raids conducted by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU) on January 17 as part of Operation Tomahawk.
A 39-year-old Stockport man, a 34-year-old Burnage man, a 29-year-old Longsight man and a 19-year-old Moss Side man were arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods.
Charges have yet to be laid as the men were released on bail pending further enquiries until April 17.
Twelve of the handsets seized have been confirmed as stolen with officers examining the remainder.
Assistant Chief Constable Dave Thompson said: “We usually see a rise in street robberies when students return from holidays, because of expensive items they’ve bought in their break. We saw a slight rise in January following Christmas, which is why we put this operation in place.”
Thompson added that students were most likely to be victims of street crime and related mobile phone thefts, and that police would be boosting education campaigns with presentations at Manchester’s universities.