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  Mobile thefts rise hits children worst
Updated 08 January 2002, 07.27

There's been a huge rise in the number of mobile phone thefts in Britain and young people are suffering the most.

Mobile thefts have leapt by five times in the past two years.

Half the victims are under 18 and the average age of the thief is just 16.

500,000 of these crimes are committed against children aged 11-15.

Cinema attack

Recently 10 children were attacked outside a cinema in south-east London by 40 teenagers who stole their phones.

Fact File
Phone safety tips
Avoid using your phone in the street
Keep your phone out of sight
Use PIN codes to lock your phone
Turn off the ringer
Don't walk and txt
Record the phone's unique IMEI number

A spokesman from the Home Office, which collects the figures, said:

"A substantial chunk of the crimes are instances of playground bullying, with kids stealing from other kids in school or just outside the school gates."

The government wants phone makers to make it much harder to reuse mobiles once a theft's been reported but it's hard to persuade them.


 
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