Police warning after phone thieves strike at Norwich nightclub for second time in weeks

PUBLISHED: 21:01 21 March 2013 | UPDATED: 21:01 21 March 2013

The Waterfront in King Street, Norwich.

The Waterfront in King Street, Norwich.

Submitted - March 2013

A Norwich nightclub has been targeted by phone thieves again just weeks after a man was jailed after having been found with 10 phones hidden inside a pair of leggings underneath his trousers at the same venue.

Police were called to the Waterfront on Monday night after several people reported having their phones stolen.

In all about 20 mobiles were stolen and 15 were later recovered having been discarded in the toilets of the King Street venue.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident, which happened at about 10.20pm, and have warned pub and club goers to be on their guard against phone thieves as they target late-night venues.

Chief Inspector Dennis Lacey, policing commander for the Norwich East area, said busy nightclubs were ideal hunting grounds for thieves.

He said: “People in large crowds are less likely to notice someone tampering with their bag or taking something from their pocket.

“I would urge clubbers to be mindful of their belongings while out and about and not leave items unattended.

“If your phone is stolen then please alert door supervisors immediately - the sooner we are informed the greater chance we have of catching those responsible.”

The incident comes just weeks after a 28-year-old was arrested at the Waterfront after being found with 10 phones hidden inside a pair of leggings underneath his trousers.

Florin Constantin, of Billet Road, Romford, was detained by vigilant staff after they heard phones ringing in his trousers.

He was later charged with 10 counts of theft, which he admitted at court, and was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment.

Police have worked closely with venues and staff in raising awareness of phone thefts after a similar incident at last year’s Sundown Festival where a man was found to have 20 stolen mobiles hidden inside tights underneath his trousers.

Tracker devices and apps are now readily available to download on smart phones, android devices and tablets and can help police locate a device if it has been stolen.

Police advice in relation to mobile phone security includes:

• Ensure you keep a record of your IMEI - you will need this if your phone is lost or stolen.

• Register your phone for free on the Immobilise website. This helps Police to identify you as the owner and return your handset if lost or stolen.

• Use security or PIN locks to protect your data and prevent the phone being used if stolen. Try to ensure these are not easily guessed, such as 1234, or your birthday.

• When not in use, never leave your phone unattended in a public place or vehicle.

• Take particular care of your phone at bars, cafes, coffee-shops, restaurants and music venues - thieves often target these venues.

• Consider installing a tracker application on your smartphone, it could help trace your device if stolen. If you are unsure which ‘app’ to install seek advice from the manufacturer of your smartphone. If your device is stolen, act quickly - inform the Police and tell them you have a tracker app installed.

• If your phone is stolen, report it to Police and your network. Ensure you have the IMEI number available for the Police. Your network will provide this free of charge.

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