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Tuesday, 4 April, 2000, 10:15 GMT 11:15 UK
Mobile phone school crime wave
Mobile phone
Police are visiting schools to warn about phone thefts
The police are warning school pupils that their mobile phones could make them targets for phone robbers.

Schools in Camden in north London are being visited by the police, where pupils are given crime prevention talks about the dangers of "flaunting" their mobiles.

Although without any complete statistics, local schools liaison officer, Sergeant Roger Miles, says that crimes involving mobile phones and young people were "going through the roof".

As a typical example from the last few days, he said an 11-year-old girl walking with friends had been set upon by older youths who had grabbed her phone and run away.

Street robberies, in which mobile phones were snatched from schoolchildren - often by other young people - were now becoming regular occurrences, he said.

Pay-as-you-go

The crime wave has been sparked by the large numbers of young people who received pay-as -you-go mobile phones as presents at Christmas. These phones are easy for robbers to use and difficult to trace.

The police also warn that more expensive phones are being targeted by thieves, who want to "upgrade" to higher-status models.

As well as phone-snatching, there were also reports of fights breaking out between pupils over disputed ownership of phones.

Mobile phones have also raised other concerns in schools. St Bartholomew's School in Newbury, Berkshire, has imposed a 5 fine on pupils whenever their mobile phones ring in class.

And a ban on mobile phones was introduced in Priestnall School in Stockport last month after they were used by pupils to arrange fights with pupils from other schools.

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See also:

09 Mar 00 | Education
Bullies use mobile phone threats
11 Feb 00 | Education
Pupils fined for ringing phones
05 Mar 00 | Education
Woodhead: Ban school mobile menace
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