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Police launch major crackdown on mobile phone theft

POLICE HAVE launched a major crackdown on a growing number of thieves in the capital.

More than 7,500 officers have been split across the 32 boroughs in a bid to promote crime prevention and drive down personal theft offences.

A range of tactics will be used including carrying out street briefings, plain clothes patrols in robbery hot spots, weapon sweeps and more with officers advising the public how to keep their valuables safe.

Crime in London is continuing to fall, but statistics for personal theft show it still remains a challenge as it is up by 14.4 per cent compared to last year.

The increase has been linked to the surge in mobile phone theft over the past year. Around 7,000 phones were recorded as being stolen per month.

In February this year, the Met launched 'Operation Ringtone', which sees officers working in partnership with the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit to target theft hot spots.

Officers are working with businesses to help them reduce their customer vulnerability with crime prevention. Recently police and Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) have been in several shops in Westfield White City to provide the public with information and general help if needed.

Commander Stephen Watson, leading today's operation, said: “Crimes like burglary, robbery and theft have a huge impact on the people who are victims.”

“By targeting those people responsible, plus the networks they use to sell on stolen property or trade for drugs, we aim to make our streets a hostile place for them to operate.”

"The Met regards mobile phone-related crime as a high priority and we are working hard on a daily basis to tackle the issue.”

Analysis shows the most common profile for all victims are young professionals likely to be aged between 20 and 30, out and about in the capital at an entertainment spot or other public places.

Earlier this month, a court heard how a 13-year-old boy was raped by a teenager because he had a cheap mobile phone that was not worth stealing.

The court was told the boy begged for it to stop because it hurt, but his attacker replied: “Good, that's what you get for not having a good phone. I'm going to scar you for life.”

The rape happened on January 14 at the Yellow Brick Estate in Peckham, south London.

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