The UK's mobile and tablet theft hotspots revealed

Sarah Coles
Cycling - 2014 Tour de France Route Announcement Preparations - Leeds Town Hall
Cycling - 2014 Tour de France Route Announcement Preparations - Leeds Town Hall

If you're planning to head out and about in Leeds, Belfast or London, then you're going to need to keep an eye on your phone and tablet, because they have just been revealed as the places you are most likely to get these gadgets stolen.

Researchers at Protect Your Bubble identified the cities where people were most likely to claim for theft of their gadgets. They discovered that Leeds is by far the hottest spot for thefts - which make up 29% of all gadget insurance claims in the city. This was followed by Belfast where theft accounts for 12% of claims and London where 11% of claims are for theft.

Top ten hotspots
1. Leeds
2. Belfast
3. London
4. Preston
5. Salford
6. Bradford
7. Brighton
8. Milton Keynes
9. Manchester
10. Northampton
At the other end of the spectrum, the cities where your gadgets are least likely to be a target for thieves are Swansea (where less than 2% of claims are for theft), followed by Newcastle, Derby and Wolverhampton.

Protect yourself
The researchers discovered that more than half of all handsets are stolen when they're not in the hands of their owner, so the best protection is to think carefully where you're leaving your phone. The most common risk is that phones are left unattended in pubs and bars - when a quarter of all thefts take place. Workplaces are also a risk, as 14% of phones go walkabout when they are left in the open at work.

It's safer to take your phone with you, but to be protected, you need to find a secure way to carry it. The researchers discovered that almost half of those who had their phone taken had it on them at the time. More than a quarter of phones were taken from people's coat pockets, 12% from back pockets, and 11% from front trouser pockets.

You need to be careful where you get your phone out too, because 12% of phones are snatched from people's hands. One of the most common risks is when people emerge from buildings or public transport, where they have been unable to get a signal, and get their phone out to make a call or check messages. Professional thieves specifically frequent these places in order to take advantage of this bad habit.

If your phone is taken, Stephen Ebbett, global director of Protect Your Bubble, says: "Call your airtime provider and block it as quickly as you can. The networks have now all agreed to cap shock charges for unauthorised calls on stolen devices at £100, but people are only covered if they report their phone stolen within 24 hours of a theft and, in any case, this change has yet to be actioned by all the networks." It's also worth checking that your gadgets are covered by insurance outside the home - either through your home insurance or a stand-alone policy.

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