The Metropolitan Police Force has announced a partnership with eBay to crack down on the trade in stolen mobile phones over the internet auction site.
According to the Met, officers have been working with eBay fraud prevention staff to track down eBay members trying to sell on stolen phones.
Although the Met insists the majority of people selling phones on eBay are doing so legally and legitimately, it acknowledges it is also "an avenue for the sale of stolen mobile phones", prompting the pair to work together on blocking the sale of stolen handsets.
A statement from the Met, which urged consumers to register their mobile phones at www.immobilise.com to aid police in recovering and recognising stolen phones, said: "If thieves cannot sell the items, the drive to steal them will be significantly reduced."
The Met said eBay has committed to promote Immobilise and provide advice to customers as part of a wider awareness campaign.
Although eBay's reputation has been called into question in the past over the sale of illegal items on its auction sites, Garreth Griffith, head of trust and safety at eBay, said the company is "committed to keeping criminals off our site".
The UK government and major operators recently announced their own initiative to try to stamp out mobile phone thefts, though victims of the crime doubt it will prove effective, with much evidence to suggest many stolen phones from the UK end up overseas in less tightly regulated countries.
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