Leeds named mobile theft hotspot

Mobile phone theft

Leeds, Belfast and London have topped the list of UK cities where you are most likely to have your mobile phone or tablet stolen.

Data from a specialist gadget insurer found that nearly a third of claims (28%) from smartphone and tablet users between October 2014 and March 2015 in Leeds were for theft, followed by Belfast (11.9%) and London (11.3%)

In contrast, those in Swansea are the safest from tech thieves, with just 1.6% of claims counted as theft, followed by Newcastle (1.8%), Derby (2.7%) and Wolverhampton (2.9%).

The figures also revealed that the value of the average stolen phone was £206 and that more than half (53%) of victims had their phone stolen when they left it unattended – most often at the bar or in a pub.

More than a quarter (26%) of phones were stolen from coat pockets, 12% were taken out of people's hands and 23% were removed from trouser pockets.

The data suggested phone and tablet owners are most likely to become a victim of theft while walking down the street (16%), shopping (13%) or travelling by bus (11%) or train (11%).

Preventative measures

Stephen Ebbett, global director of Protect Your Bubble, which commissioned the research, said: "There are cities where mobile and tablet thefts spike well above average, but incidences of theft are actually dropping year on year. Only 6% of the claims we received in this six-month period were for thefts, down from 9% the year before, and down from 11% two years ago. The police have improved preventative measures, and gadget owners are increasingly cautious about when and where they use their mobiles in public."

He added: "If the worst happens and your phone is stolen, call your airtime provider and block it as quickly as you can. The networks have now all agreed to cap shock charges for unauthorised calls on stolen devices at £100, but people are only covered if they report their phone stolen within 24 hours of a theft and, in any case, this change has yet to be actioned by all the networks."

Top 10 cities for phone/tablet theft claims (Oct 2014 - Mar 2015)

1. Leeds 28.6%
2. Belfast 11.9%
3. London 11.3%
4. Preston 10.7%
5. Salford 9.1%
6. Bradford 8.8%
7. Brighton 7.8%
8. Milton Keynes 7.6%
9. Manchester 7.2%
10. Northampton 7.0%

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