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Friday, July 28, 2006

Immobilise those thieves

How many items of value do you own and maybe carry about with you on a daily basis? Mobile phone? Laptop? MP3 player? CD Walkman? 3G/GPRS card? GPRS device? Camera? Blackberry? PDA? Portable DVD player? The list of possibilities is endless nowadays. Although there is no sure-fire way to prevent thieves stealing these items from you, apart from arming yourself with an Ouzi, which, alas is illegal, there are some measures you can take to make their lives a little harder, and yours a little easier.

Stolen property is frequently recovered by the police. Alas, in most instances, they have no way of knowing who it belongs to, so they cannot return it to its rightful owner. However, there is now a national database on which you can register all your portable devices, and it is free to do so. Go to, which is a secure, encrypted site. In most instances, all you need is the serial number of the device, which is usually stamped on the chassis somewhere. For mobile phones, you will also need the IMEI number, which is located on the underside of the phone's battery, and can also be displayed on the screen of most phones, by pressing *#06#. It's no guarantee that your property will be recovered, but police check recovered items against property registered on the site, so if they find yours, you'll get it back. Also, in the event of theft, your Immobilise account will house all those essential serial numbers for insurance claims, etc.

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