South Yorkshire has been listed as a crime hotspot for the theft of mobile phones, laptops and tablets.

According to figures compiled by insurance company Insurance2go, South Yorkshire is ranked as the third worst place for ‘tech crime’ after Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.

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Between 2015 and 2017, a total of 247,869 mobile phones, tablets and laptops were reported stolen across the UK, with mobile phone thefts accounting for two thirds of the figure.

South Yorkshire Police logged a total of 24,848 stolen devices over the two years – 15,258 mobile phones, 6,036 laptops and 4,359 tablets.

Over the course of the two years the theft rate in the county reduced by six per cent.

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Gary Beeston, Sales and Marketing Manager at Insurance2go, said: “We spend a lot of money on our mobile phones, tablets and laptops, and usually take them with us wherever we travel. However, it’s easy to forget that our favourite devices can also attract the unwanted attention of others.

“Tech theft does appear to have decreased over the past three years however it always pays to be overly cautious when it comes to taking care of your personal possessions.”

South Yorkshire Police’s force lead for crime reduction, Chief Inspector Paul Ferguson, said: “Almost all crime is opportunistic and this is even more the case with mobile devices, so the best way to protect our favourite gadgets is to take some basic precautions and deny thieves the opportunity.”

He added: “Keep your devices out of sight by placing them inside zipped pockets or bags when you are out and in secure places whilst at home. If you are using your devises for navigation, plan your journey ahead of time and print out a map beforehand.

“All mobile phones have an IMEI – International Mobile Equipment Identification – which can be found on your phones packaging if you still have it, if not simply enter *#06# into your phone and the sixteen digit IMEI will be displayed. Make a note of this number and provide it to your phone provider if your device is ever lost or stolen to prevent it from being used.

“Avoid using public charging stations where possible unless you are able to stay with your device. You can also purchase high capacity battery chargers to charge your devices in either your bags or pockets to prevent you having to wait around at charging stations.

“Make sure laptops and tablets are kept out of sight and don’t let them protrude from bags and backpacks. Also make sure you back up your data on a number on memory sticks so you always have copies of important files. Tracking software which sits silently in the bios of your computer, can also be used to identify the location of your device so you can report this to police if it was to be stolen.”

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