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School kids are five times more likely to be victims of mobile phone thefts than adults, according to a Home Office report.

However, in many cases it is younger people who are responsible for the thefts, according to the report Mobile Phone Theft.

Although it claims it is impossible to say exactly how many mobile phones are being nicked it estimates that 700,000 were stolen last year. It also claims that mobile phone are involved in more than a one in four of all robberies. Three years ago mobile phones accounted for less than one in ten of robberies.

While the Government works with the mobile phone industry to tackle the problem it has warned mobile phone users to be more responsible.

It's urged them to make a note of the IMEI number (a unique 15-digit serial number which can be accessed by keying *#06# into most phones or looking behind the battery of your phone) and report it to the police if it's stolen.

It also suggested users avoid using phones in public.

However, it's the news that children are at the centre of this crime wave that has really shocked politicians.

Urging children to be more careful Home Office Minister John Denham said: "I want to make sure that these children don't become the latest victims in a disturbing new robbery trend."

And when it all seemed to be going so well. In 2000 the British Medical Journal reported that kids were giving up cigarettes in favour of mobile phones.

With this latest scare some people are worried kids might stub out their phones and turn to fags instead. ®

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