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Staff and students urged to be careful when using mobile phones on campus

(16 February 2017)

During the past month there has been an increase in thefts of mobile phones from people in the Oxford Road and Upper Brook Street area. Both staff and students, particularly females on their own, are being asked to be careful. 

It is believed a number of males in their late teens or early 20s, often on bicycles, are approaching people from behind and snatching their mobile phones as they are talking on them. 

There have been 11 offences since January. The offenders are usually wearing hats and scarves to make it more difficult to identify them. Four security teams are patrolling 24/7 on foot and in cars, and monitoring is taking place via CCTV all along Oxford Road. 

Many of the offences have happened during the daytime - thieves are probably targeting people who appear to be less cautious when it's light. 

Ian Halliwell, Crime Reduction Advisor, Estates and Facilities, advised that if you need to speak on your mobile you should ensure that you have your back to a wall or tree so that you can't be approached from behind. You should also register your mobile devices on immobilise (, the national property register, so that they can be identified as stolen. 

Ian also asked people to contact University security on 0161 306 9966, which is the number on the back of your work pass, if you see anyone acting suspiciously on campus. If you are off campus, you can call Greater Manchester Police on 101. 

Here are some simple things you can do to help protect your belongings:

  • keep your mobile phone in your pocket when it's not in use - the thieves are targeting people while they are using their phones;
  • if you’re using your mobile, make sure you’re aware of what’s going on around you;
  • if you haven’t got tracking capability on your phone, download an App - some companies offer a limited service for free;
  • make a note of your personal IMEI number (type *#06# on your phone's keypad to get it). This number cannot be altered or deleted by the thief and, if you know it, you can block your phone and prevent anyone else from using it;
  • register your mobile and other property with a serial number on the national property database Immobilise - it’s free to do;
  • use the security features on your phone to stop the thief resetting it to factory settings. 

If you’ve witnessed an actual crime or have had something stolen, ring the Police on 999.