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On Thursday 12th December, Greater Manchester Police launched Operation Network – GMP’s largest ever crackdown on mobile phone theft. The operation was launched in response to an increase in mobile phone theft over the past two year. Thieves are targeting smartphone owners – in 2012/13 63% (2,743) of phones stolen were iPhones and 20% (854) were Samsung. The majority of these owners are aged between 16 and 25, so Fire Cadets from Hollins and Manchester decided to help out with the city centre operation, working alongside Voluntary Police Cadets, Special Constables, PCSOs and PCs.

The day started with an 8am briefing, attended by hundreds of police personnel, including Neighbourhood Officers who were out in the communities talking to residents about keeping their mobile phones secure; the dog unit; plain clothed Officers and Traffic Officers who were using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to detect vehicles being driven illegally or having a connection with criminal activity.

The City Centre Operation left in the police convey to set up the crime prevention stall in and around Piccadilly Gardens. Cadets were given a Operation Network (1)further brief by the Sergeant then set off to different locations armed with a clipboard, information leaflets and some friendly banter to attract the public. The main aim was to urge people to keep their phones safe and to register their mobile on the immobilise website in case it is ever lost or stolen.

To do this, key *#06# on your mobile and your IMEI number will immediately appear on the screen. Then follow the link ( to register your details on the police database.

By the end of the day, hundreds of people had registered their phones and 17 people were arrested in relation to a number of offences including stolen goods, burglary and money laundering. They are currently in police custody.

£60,000 cash and 77 stolen mobile phones were also seized.

Anyone with information about mobile phone theft or the sale of stolen goods should contact your local police service on 101 (non-emergency number) or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

To see more photographs from the day visit our Gallery Pages and look under ‘North West Cadets’