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Industry terrifies mobile phone thieves with... 'charter'

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The mobile industry has launched a charter aimed at tackling the source of mobile phone theft.

The Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum (MICAF), which represents the five primary operators, along with BT, Virgin, Nokia, BenQ-Siemens and the biggest mobile retailers said the new code would mean 80 per cent of stolen phones would be blocked on all networks within 48 hours. The companies will get involved in awareness campaigns and provide special anti-crime training to staff.

MICAF chairman Jack Wraith said: "The charter clearly sets out the key steps the industry will take to help cut mobile phone theft further so as to ensure that people can continue to use their phones, safe in the knowledge that measures are in place that will make them worthless to thieves if they are stolen."

He told the Beeb that networks would be "named and shamed" for poor compliance with the charter. Home Secretary John Reid recently blamed a 22 per cent rise in robberies on people carrying mobile devices with them. The BBC has the story here.

The Home Office has pleged £1.35m to a new national specialist mobile crime unit, which will be advised by MICAF. Welcoming the new charter, Reid said: "I believe the public should be free to carry valuable items, such as mobile phones and MP3 players, on the streets without fear of becoming a target for robbers." We do too, John. ®

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