Clubbers Targeted By Thieves

Norfolk Police are warning clubbers to be extra careful on nights out, after a huge rise in mobile phone thefts.

Clubbers in Norwich are being targeted by an organised group of thieves, police have warned.

More than 140 mobile phones worth an estimated £37,000 have been stolen from clubs and bars in the city this year.

Police have seen a 36% increase in incidents compared to the same period in 2011 with smart phones being the main target.

Officers have been working closely with nightspots in a bid to reduce thefts while also raising awareness among revellers about personal security.

However, despite the pro-active campaign offences continue with thieves becoming increasingly "sophisticated" in their approach.

Detective Sergeant Vikki Flatt, from Norfolk Constabulary's community safety team, said: "Analysis shows there are often weekends where the number of offences peaks, suggesting some element of organisation.

"Several phones are stolen after being left on a table or bar but we are seeing thieves becoming more sophisticated, taking phones out of closed or zipped handbags without the victim realising."

Police have taken a number of measures to combat thefts including raising awareness of thefts among clubbers and venues.

Party-goers have been targeted by officers during the Operation Impact nights in April and June where three times as many officers have been on patrol in the city's nightlife areas in a bid to improve safety. Leaflets reminding people about mobile phone security have also been handed out to revellers.

Police are now calling on clubbers to be extra vigilant while out in the city. Norwich East local policing commander Chief Inspector Dennis Lacey said: "Busy nightclubs are ideal hunting grounds for thieves – people are less likely to notice someone tampering with their handbag in a crowded bar or nightclub.

"We are urging clubbers to vigilant and to make sure they keep their property with them at all times.

"It is possible that criminals will be on the look-out for people using smart phones, iPhones in particular, so please be mindful of where and when you are using your phone."

"If your phone is stolen then please alert door supervisors immediately. The sooner we are informed the greater chance we have of catching those responsible."

Norfolk police offers the following crime prevention advice:

·          Do not leave your mobile phone or handbag unattended, especially on counters or tables in public places. 

·          Always keep your phone hidden and out of sight. Put it in an inside pocket or closed bag, not in your back pocket. 

·          Property-mark your phone with your postcode and door number to make it easily identifiable if it is recovered. 

·          Record details of your electronic serial number (ESN), IMEI number which is a unique identifier for the phone and consider separate insurance. Also register your mobile phone at www.immobilise.comLink to an external website

·          If your phone is stolen report it to police and your phone network operator. 

·          When using your phone whilst out and about consider your personal safety and that of the phone. Don't advertise it and keep aware of who is around you.