Stolen Phone Database Targets Mobile Phone Thieves

Phone thieves could now face a tougher battle when it comes to moving on stolen handsets as 'Stolen blacklist' is used by

mobile phone recycling compnaies.

In the UK alone, organised gangs are currently selling up to around 100,000 'recycled' mobiles each year, pocketing about £40 a time.

The phones usually end up abroad because they will still work in other countries, despite any block on UK use.

This could soon be over seeing as the government has just got together with police and mobile phone companies to make the process more difficult for thieves to get away with.

As the UK see's a boost of mobile phone recycling, these companies can now check if a handset they're offered is on a stolen 'blacklist'.

If it is, they will refuse to buy the phone and pass the details onto police.

The National Mobile Phone Register is linked to three databases: an industry record of blocked handsets, the police list of stolen mobiles and a voluntary public register.

The code of practice is voluntary but so far 20 recycling companies, making up 90% of the industry, have signed up.

Jack Wraith, chairman of the Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum, said: "If those phones are found to be blocked, and they're obviously blocked for the reason that they're not in the possession of their rightful owner, then the database will flag up to the recycler that that phone cannot be traded.

The Police recently released reported that multiple thefts of phones at UK gigs and festivas had now more than tripled since 2006, with some thieves being caught with up to 20 handsets on them at one time.

Nick Brown, who runs recycling company, said he hoped the new agreement would deter potential thieves.

"If the people stealing mobile phones understand there isn't a viable route to be able to sell those phones easily, then they are less likely to steal them in the first place."

Mobile phone recycling companies who have signed up so far include Mazuma Mobile, Mobile Phone Exchange, Royal Mail, West One Technology, Carphone Warehouse and Virgin Media.

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