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Stolen Goods

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 15 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he is taking to reduce the market in stolen goods. [112132]

Under the Targeted Policing Initiative (part of the Crime Reduction Programme), which ran from 1999 to 2003, the Home Office provided funding totalling around £1.4 million to three market reduction projects in Stockport, Kent and West Mercia.

We have also funded research into the impact of local legislation intended to regulate second-hand traders (particularly the Kent and Medway Acts 2001, but also other existing local legislation).

The research undertaken on these market reduction projects is in the process of being completed. When the final results are available, we intend to convene a working group to consider the most effective way of reducing the market for stolen goods nationally (including the possibility of national legislation) and advise on the best way of disseminating the emerging good practice.

The "Immobilise Phone Crime" campaign was launched on Tuesday 4 March. The industry can now stop stolen and lost phones being used on any network. The Mobile Telephones (Re-programming) Act 2002, came into force on 4 October 2002. The new legislation means up to five years in prison and/or unlimited fines for those reprogramming the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number on mobile phones, and those possessing, supplying or offering to supply equipment for that purpose.

The barring of mobile phones reported as stolen across all UK networks should remove much of the incentive for stealing mobile phones.