Thieves Target Your Smartphones


New survey by Nationwide shows cunning tricks used by Britain’s street thieves. Mobile phones high on thieves’ wish lists this Christmas….reports Asian Lite News. Crooks snatch £190 each time, but more than half of victims are uninsured

The Christmas illuminations of John Lewis at Oxford Street, in London, Britain
The Christmas illuminations of John Lewis at Oxford Street, in London, Britain

With Christmas just over a month away, new research from Nationwide FlexPlus  reveals Britain’s high streets are a pick-pocketing paradise, with thieves pocketing £190 worth of valuables each time they strike.

There were 442,000 theft from the person offences in the year ending June 2015 in England and Wales alone. Based on the average amount taken, this equates to a potential £84 million stolen each year.

Britain’s biggest building society, which polled just over 2,000 street theft victims, is reminding shoppers to be on their guard during the festive season, particularly as the survey shows thieves seek out items like mobile phones. Handset theft accounts for 15 per cent of all incidents and the average value of each loss is £221. Apple’s iPhone tops the thieves’ wish list, followed by other brands, such as Samsung.

But despite the risk of becoming a target, more than half of pickpocket victims (51%) cover the cost of replacing stolen items themselves because they are uninsured, while only around a fifth of people (22%) maintained they had protected themselves against all potential losses.

The average pickpocket makes away with around £190 worth of valuables each time, according to the poll. However, nearly a third (30%) of victims are stripped of more than £200, while around a fifth (19%) have items worth over £300 stolen. Eight per cent have possessions worth £500 or more taken.

And despite mobile phones, cash and cards being the most sought after items, opportunist pickpockets will take anything they can lay their hands on. The Nationwide FlexPlus survey uncovered a bizarre list of things stolen. These included: shoes, a comb, a snooker cue, insulin, a briefcase full of regimental ties, Pokémon trading cards, a bag of sweets and even a contraceptive.

 UK  pickpocket trends highlighted by the survey shows:

  • Trouser and coat pockets (34%) are the most common place to steal from, followed by theft from a bag worn over the shoulder or on the back (26%) and theft from a bag on the floor or table (18%).
  • Three quarters (75%) of victims didn’t realise they were being pickpocketed when it happened.
  • Two thirds of victims (66%) were with someone else or a group; a third (32%) were on their own.
  • Just 19% of culprits were caught, with four in ten victims (40%) not going to the police because they either didn’t think the thief would be caught (25%) or couldn’t be bothered to report it (9%).
  • More men (56%) have items stolen from their coat or trouser pockets than women (15%), while more women have items stolen from their bag (63%) than men (22%).

Top pickpocket locations highlighted by the survey:

  • London is by far the most common place for pickpockets to ply their trade according to those that have been a victim of theft, Manchester was second and Birmingham third, while in joint fourth place is Glasgow and Leeds.
  • 20% of thefts happen on the high street, while 27% occur in a busy area.
  • More than a fifth happen in the daytime (22%) and less than one in eight (12%) take place at night.
  • A further 9% of incidents are recorded in a pub, compared to one in twenty (5%) in a club.


Nationwide’s FlexPlus current account, which is ranked as the UK’s best packaged account, offers a range of benefits including worldwide family phone insurance, worldwide family travel insurance, commission-free cash withdrawals abroad, and UK and European breakdown cover, all for just £10 a month.