[cellular news] Police in London, UK have spent the past month visiting second hand phone retailers and checking their IMEI serial numbers against the national database of stolen phones. Of the three shops that had been flagged up by local residents in Haringey, only one shop, in Tottenham, was found to have phones that were on the stolen phone database. The proprietor was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods, but later released without charge due to lack of evidence.
Field Intelligence Officer PC David Stead of Haringey's Intelligence Unit said: "We hope that the high visibility presence of officers taking this action across the borough will send out a strong message to retailers in the area that it is an offence to handle stolen goods and that they should be making their own checks before buying phones from people. In fact when officers carried out the warrant in High Road N22, the shop was in the process of carrying out their own checks on phones that someone had come in to sell, which is exactly the sort of thing that we advocate.
"The mobile equipment enables us to carry out the checks far more quickly, removing the need to input the serial number for each item by hand, and dramatically increasing the number of checks we can make.
"Police often recover property when suspects are arrested but we cannot always tell who it belongs to. The effectiveness of the system that we are using relies on people registering their mobile phones on the immobilise property register in the first place, and ensuring that they report it on the site if their phone is lost or stolen,"
To obtain a phone's IMEI number press *#06# on the keypad of the phone and the number will be displayed on the phone's screen.
UK Police Checking Retailers for Stolen Mobile Phones