The UK's Phone Theft Hotspots: Is Your City on the List?

06 February 2024

Corinne Webb

Ever wondered which part of the UK is infamous for phone thefts? Well, brace yourselves because our latest study is quite an eye-opener!

The team looked at data collected from all UK police forces over the past year compared to the previous year. Findings not only showed where has the most theft per 100,000 people, but where the biggest increase in phone crime occurred.

One Phone Stolen Every Four Minutes in London

As it turns out, London is the location with the most phone thefts. With a whopping 121,888 thefts in a single year and 1,250 per 100,000 residents (yes, you read that right!), that’s the equivalent of one phone getting nabbed every four minutes. That’s faster than brewing your favourite cup of coffee! Shocking stuff.

List of UK locations with the most phone thefts

Locations with the most phone thefts per 100,000

1) Greater London, 1,250
2) Bedfordshire, 371
3) Hull, 361
4) West Yorkshire, 296
5) Cleveland, 272
6) Northumbria, 267
7) Manchester, 255
8) Norfolk, 234
9) Hertfordshire, 184
10) Nottinghamshire, 176
Surprisingly, Bedfordshire has the second most phone thefts per 100,000 people at 371 (a dramatic drop from London) – despite a low number of cities in the county. Hull, West Yorkshire and Cleveland take up the top 5 with 361, 296 and 272 respectively.

The Rise of Phone Thefts

While last year’s Crime Report in June 2023 revealed a steady decrease in phone crime overall at 10% - this new data highlights a significant increase in phone theft for some areas.

List of the locations with the biggest increase in phone theft in the UK

Locations with the biggest increase in phone theft year-over-year 

1) Greater London, 21%
2) Manchester, 16%
3) Avon and Somerset, 11%
4) Cambridgeshire, 9%
5) Leicestershire, 9%
6) Norfolk, 7%
7) Hertfordshire, 6%
8) West Yorkshire, 5%
9) Northumbria, 4%

10) Bedfordshire, 2%

Last year, London saw a 21% spike in phone thefts. The peak time for these thefts is post-6 PM on Wednesdays – a prime time when potential victims are unwinding after work. With more folks returning to offices in 2024, this trend might just keep going up.

Manchester isn't far behind, marking a 16% increase in phone thefts. This city, once the top hotspot back in 2015, is still a prime target for phone thieves. And it's not just these two locations; Avon and Somerset (11%), Cambridgeshire (9%) and Leicestershire (9%) are also seeing increases.

Durham Cracks Down on Phone Thefts

On a brighter note, Durham's doing something right, with a 24% decrease in phone thefts. Maybe it's down to their participation in the government's Safer Streets scheme? Or maybe it's just good old community vigilance.

Does Phone Insurance Cover Mobile Phone Theft?

Sometimes, depending on your level of cover, a phone insurance company will replace your phone if stolen. However, not all companies will offer cover for this and it’s important to do your due research before purchasing insurance from a provider. Read the full terms and conditions of any insurance policy before purchasing to make sure it suits your specific needs and wants.


FOI requests were submitted to each police force in the UK for yearly data from November 2022 – November 2023 and then for the previous year over the same period.

Total thefts were divided by the population of area served and multiplied by 100,000 for a final figure of thefts per 100,000.

Percentage increases were determined based on changes across totals year-over-year.