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£390m Cost of Stolen Mobile Phones

Mobile phone theft in the UK is on the increase as they become smaller, more expensive and more desirable. The cost of these thefts to insurers, phone suppliers and customers has reached £390m.

Each year sees more than two million mobile phones stolen in the UK, which equates to one being stolen every 12 seconds. With a lucrative black market for mobile phones, it seems the rate of thefts will remain high.

Vicky Emmott, head of Halifax Home Insurance, said: “ Mobile phones are constantly getting lighter and more compact which makes them easier for opportunistic thieves to swipe.

“ Phone users should avoid ‘walking and talking’ and keep their mobiles out of sight whenever possible. New technology means that many of us use phones for more than just calls and text messaging.

“ Mobile phone owners should make sure that all contact numbers, diary entries, pictures, downloads and ring-tones are backed-up and saved elsewhere if they don’t want to risk losing them completely.”

Halifax also revealed the areas that suffer the highest mobile phone theft rates, with Lancaster topping the league.

A close second was Wirral & Chester, followed closely by Coventry. When it came to areas where mobile phone theft was least likely to occur, Ipswich, High Wycombe and Oxford came out on top.

Mobile phones, by the very nature of their use, lend themselves perfectly to the opportunistic thief.

The average cost for replacing a handset in Illford and Romford was £300, making Essex the costliest area for handset replacement.

But before mobile phone users rush out and take out specialist insurance cover, Halifax advise that many home insurance providers already cover mobile phones against theft and damage, thus make the need for specialist cover redundant.

However, Lancaster police refuted claims that the Lancashire city is the UK’s top hotspot for mobile phone theft, saying the findings were flawed. They added that Lancaster actually had the lowest rate of handset theft in Lancashire Constabulary’s Northern Division.

Mick Marren, operations manager of Lancashire Constabulary’s Northern Division, said: “ The Northern Division, which includes Lancaster, has the lowest number of mobile phone thefts within this constabulary and we believe the findings are flawed.”

Ally Milton


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