Police warning over reporting phone theft

People often make up phone thefts to claim insurance

People often make up phone thefts to claim insurance - Credit: EMPICS Entertainment

False reporting of mobile phone thefts could land you in hot water with the police, according to a top Havering officer.

In the lead up to Christmas, police are urging residents receiving phones as gifts to register them on immobilise.com, the national property register.

This helps detectives find stolen phones that are being sold on by either the culprit or an unsuspecting recipient.

And those that lose their phones but fear insurance won’t cover their loss are being warned that making up a theft in order to get a crime reference number will get in trouble themselves.

Det Ch Insp Denise Johnson, of Havering Police, said: “You will be robustly challenged if you report your phone stolen when it isn’t.

Speaking to the Recorder, she recalled two examples of people making up thefts to get items replaced after breaking or losing them.

She explained: “A middle-aged man broke his laptop, smashed it. To claim for another he came to the station and said he was walking down an alley in Romford town centre and someone came up behind him and stole it. It was untrue and he went on to admit it.

Most Read

“Another, a young boy, reported to police he was going to his nan’s house and when he got off the bus a man jumped out of the bushes at him and stole his Xbox games. Completely untrue again – he left them on the bus and got worried about what his mum and dad would say about it. That was reported as a robbery.”

She explained if someone found a lost phone that had falsely been reported as stolen, the innocent person could get in trouble.

“If someone finds a phone that has been reported stolen they are going to get arrested for robbery,” she said.

Those that do falsely report could get punished with a warning, could be arrested, or even go to court.

Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTS) will be out and about encouraging people to sign up on immobolised.com over Christmas.