Skip to content
Dial 999 in an emergency
Dial 101 in a non-emergency
AA | Accessibility
Logo - City of London Police
Report a crime online
A quick, convenient way to report crime and incidents.


Protect your mobile phone against criminals on bikes and mopeds

Criminal often use bikes and mopeds to snatch mobile phones from people, particularly at busy locations such as outside tube stations, shopping centres or concert venues. Often victims are approached from behind while talking or texting on phones. Criminals on mopeds or bicycles may mount the pavement to grab the phone or snatch it from the road. Sometimes when it’s a moped, a pillion passenger will snatch it.

While most thefts happen between 6 and 10 at night, criminals operate during the day so always look out for what’s going on around you. Follow these simple steps to help protect your phone:

Be aware of your surroundings

  • If you need to call or use your phone on the street, look out for anyone on a bike or a moped near you
  • Make it quick so you don’t become distracted
  • Don’t text while you’re walking – you won’t notice what’s going on around you
  • If that’s not possible, stand away from the roadside close to a building or wall so no one can come up behind you
  • Going hands free can prevent a thief from snatching your phone out of your hand

Use the security features on your phone

  • You must switch on your phone’s security features to protect your phone
  • Use the keypad lock so that thieves cannot immediately access your phone, or use the biometric authentication if your phone has it (finger print or facial recognition)
  • Your phone may have other security features you can use. These could allow you to wipe data, lock your handset, or prevent a thief from restoring a phone to its factory settings from another internet device
  • For a list of the security features on your phone, please see the Related Links at the bottom of the page

Know how to identify your phone if it’s stolen

  • Every phone has an IMEI number which helps police and insurance companies to identify it if it’s stolen. UK network operators can also stop a stolen phone from working across their networks with its IMEI
  • Find your IMEI number by entering *#06# on your phone and keep a written note of it. If the phone is stolen, report the number to your mobile provider to stop it being used
  • Register your phone and other property at to help police recover stolen property and combat the sale of stolen goods. Police recover more than 2500 items on average a month registered to the website
Disclaimer: This page uses an iFrame to display third-party content. The City of London Police cannot be held responsible for third-party content.