Police in Edinburgh are urging the public to take steps to secure their mobile phone against thieves.

Officers working on Operation Arable, an ongoing initiative aimed at tackling street robberies in the Capital, are asking mobile phones users to sign up to the Immobilise database.

Immobilise is a free service where users register their mobile phone IMEI number. In the event that the phone is lost or stolen, the database can be immediately updated, and a notification sent to the National Mobile Property Register.

This means that police are better able to identify if a phone that comes into their possession is lost or stolen, and can return it to its rightful owner.

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Cunningham, from Lothian and Borders Police, said:- “Mobile phones, especially smart phones, are particularly attractive to thieves, and all contain personal and private information that makes their theft particularly worrying for victims.

“At present, there are potentially around 9000 lost or stolen phones in circulation in the Force area, and we are aware of criminal operations that provide an income for those who target mobile phone users.

“In recent weeks we have been successful in returning stolen devices to their rightful owners as a result of them being registered on the Immobilise database, and we are keen that as many people as possible take advantage of this service, which is completely free.

“Of course, you should always report the theft or loss of a mobile phone to the police, but by registering with Immobilise you are giving yourself a far better chance of your phone being returned to you, if it is recovered by officers.

“We would encourage anyone with a mobile phone to register their device on the Immobilise database, which can be accessed at www.immobilise.com.”