The River and Oceana launch campaign to stop Kingston phone thieves

The River has teamed up with the Kingston club to help cut down on one of the worst nightmares for students – losing your phone 

Teri Dyer

The rising value of smartphones and the sophisticated tactics of modern thieves has seen mobile phone theft soar, with more than 300 handsets being stolen in London every day.

Manager of Oceana, Dan Corry, said: “We are really pleased to team up with The River to give away 250 free mobile phone security bands and will continue working with pubs, bars and clubs in Kingston to make sure that we put a stop to phone theft, which accounts for a huge proportion of crime in the area.

“Phone theft doesn’t just happen in nightclubs or bars, it happens everywhere and people need to be clued up as to what they can do to protect themselves,” he added.

Official statistics show a total of 9,751 mobiles were stolen in the capital in December 2012 – a 64 per cent rise on the number stolen in London three years ago.

Mr Corry continued: “We know how tough it is financially for students and want to raise awareness of mobile phone theft.”

Street Robbery Campaign

The Metropolitan Police Service launched a street robbery campaign in January in an attempt to combat the rise in mobile phone theft.

Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Letchford said: “We’re trying to make people think differently with this campaign – having your personal possessions on show gives robbers a chance to make easy money.

“Just being conscious of where you are and being careful about when you display your valuables can help you avoid being targeted.”

One in six of those who have had a phone stolen say that it was taken from their bag or pocket. Eight per cent have had their phone snatched from their hand as they were using it and a further six per cent have been mugged for it.

Victim of phone theft

Second-year music student Talisa Adcock, 21, was a victim of phone theft in Oceana. She said: “I was in Oceana in the cigarette area and a man started talking to me. While I was talking to him another man came by my side and brushed me so I moved my bag closer to me.

“When I left I realised the strap had come off my arm, my bag was wide open for all to see and my phone had been stolen.”

Luckily, Miss Adcock was covered by insurance but it still caused her a lot of inconvenience.

Thieves have been targeting crowded areas where they can steal multiple handsets and make large amounts of money by selling them on.

The one who was caught

In 2010, an Algerian immigrant was caught in Oceana Kingston with 23 stolen handsets hidden in his pants and socks.

Detectives believe Fethi Baouche, 35, was working with another man as part of a North-African gang stealing phones from clubbers’ handbags.

Baouche was jailed for six months at Kingston Magistrates’ Court for 13 counts of theft. 

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