The National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU) has been on its toes recently. A £150,000 robbing spree at a number of Carphone stores has highlighted its challenge.
Mobile phone shops represent the perfect strike for robbers, especially when iPhones can go for £800.
A stolen phone is only blocked in the UK, and therefore can be sold on the black market in other countries – in most cases for a much higher figure than its UK value, and even more so if data is kept on it.
The trend is most stolen handsets end up in Algeria and Middle Eastern countries. Although it seems to be an ongoing problem, the NMPCU says most secondhand dealers claim not to know whether the goods they sell on are stolen or genuine handsets.
More education is required for the dealer community to learn how to check IMEI numbers against the National Mobile Property Register.
The NMPCU has also urged dealers to follow Carphone’s lead and set up an automatic registration for all new handsets sold to help keep track of stolen devices. In turn, it is educating police forces through its intranet to increase the number of handsets signed up to the register.