It’s official – mobile phone theft is on the rise across the UK, with figures fast approaching a five-year high. Worse still, the value of those stolen phones has reached £47.9 million and could surge even higher in years to come.
Get Phone Repairs has used data obtained from police constabularies across the country to find out exactly how many phones were stolen in the UK over the last five years. Unfortunately, it looks as though 2022 marks a dramatic rise in thefts across the country.
How many phones were stolen in the UK last year?
As you might expect, phone theft is on the rise across the whole country. There were a total of 135,147 phone thefts in the United Kingdom in 2022. That’s an increase of 35.9% in a single year.
The value of those stolen handsets came to £47.9 million.
National figures reached a low point in 2020 with the number of phone thefts reaching just 89,252. However, it’s been on the rise ever since, with numbers climbing rapidly last year. On average, 370 phones were stolen every day in 2020, with 1 in 501 people having their phone stolen last year.
Here’s how the individual countries fared:
- England racked up 133,464 phone thefts in 2020.
- Northern Ireland saw a more modest 1,003 phone thefts.
- Wales saw even less – just 680 phone thefts all year.
Note: Police Scotland refused to supply data to our study.
Looking at the figures proportionately, we find that England is still the worst off with 2.81 thefts per thousand people. Northern Ireland had 0.53 phone thefts per thousand people, while Wales saw 0.2 phone thefts per thousand people.
phone thefts in 2022
increase since 2021
worth of phones stolen in 2022
every day throughout 2022
Which were the worst-hit UK cities?
It’s no surprise that London saw the highest number of mobile phone thefts with 91,103 reported incidents – that’s a massive 67.4% of the entire UK total.
Check out our detailed London phone theft statistics for more info.
Of course, London wasn’t the only UK city to see a huge rise in phone thefts. Although London came out on top with 10.35 thefts per thousand people, Manchester clinched the #2 spot with 7.06. Doncaster came in third with 5.47 followed by Liverpool with 4.58 and Newcastle with 3.93 to round out the top five.
Get Phone Repairs founder Ryan Leston said: “We’re seeing a huge rise in mobile phone theft across the UK. Thousands of mobile phones are stolen in cities across the country, most commonly through pickpocketing and table surfing. Police forces all over the country are backing local initiatives to tackle this rising crime, but the best way to avoid being part of our stats is to take preventative measures. Avoid using your mobile in crowded areas and you’ll stand a much better chance of hanging onto it. Thieves are far more likely to target people they know have high-end devices. So, keep your smartphone out of sight.”
All our UK phone theft data was obtained via a series of Freedom of Information requests, submitted to every UK police constabulary. We compiled the data from each constabluary to create a running UK total.
Phone Theft Value
We calculated the cost of UK phone thefts by taking the total number of incidents each year and assuming a minimum of 1 phone was stolen. We multiplied this by the average cost of a mobile phone, which was found to be £355.
Thefts per Thousand People
Populations differ from city to city, so we needed a way to normalise the data for ranking purposes. When ranking various UK cities, we take the total number of phone thefts in a given year, and divide that by the population. We then multiply the figure by 1000 to show how many thefts there were per thousand people.
Several UK constabularies refused to provide data. These were: Hampshire Constabulary, Police Scotland, Staffordshire Police, Sussex Police, Thames Valley Police, and Wiltshire Police. Average and per mille figures exclude areas where data was not provided, using an adjusted population to arrive at reliable figures.
Our full UK phone theft data can be found here.