How to get back your nicked mobile

The Met starts new ad campaign

DVD it in many colours

The Metropolitan Police has launched a new radio campaign aimed at tackling the huge increase in mobile theft in London. Last year, 10,000 mobiles were stolen and two-thirds of those were nicked or robbed from kids.

The Met has clearly decided its advice to avoid using the mobile in public is unlikely to find many converts so has gone for a more practical approach.*

This consists of writing down your phone's unique IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity) and giving it to police if it's nicked. Then, if they pick it up, they'll know where to send it.

You get your IMEI by tapping "*,#,0,6,#" into your mobile. This will give you a 15-digit number. The first two refer to your country, the first six are known as the Type Approval Code. Then the seventh and eighth digits give who manufactured the phone (for example, 10 and 20 are Nokia). The next six are your phone's serial number and the last digit is just an "additional number".

It is debatable whether this is likely to affect the level of mobile crime. And we would ask who would want back their mobile six months later it was stolen, but just one look about these days shows people getting strangely attached to their phones.

It's not just downloaded ring tones but also hundreds of ridiculous features (remind yourself of something in two hours' time!). Mobile bores are a new aspect of modern life, see them in a pub close to you now. ®

* This gem of common-sense comes from the Met's own guidelines. To protect your phone:

  1. Do not carry them openly (keep it in your pocket or handbag).
  2. Avoid using your phone in crowded spaces.
  3. Do not leave your phone unattended, keep it with you.
  4. Be aware of the area you are in and the people around you.
  5. Use your phone security lock code or pin number.
  6. Property mark your phone with your post code and door number.
  7. Record your phone's IMEI number
  8. If your phone is stolen or lost report it to police immediately.
  9. Inform your service provider. ®

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