Updated: Sunday, 5th April 2020 @ 10:41am

Manchester gig-goers urged to be vigilant after mobile phone thefts at venue

Manchester gig-goers urged to be vigilant after mobile phone thefts at venue

By Andrew Little

With Christmas around the corner and festive cheer all around, what better time to have your expensive mobile phone or camera stolen at a gig.

However, this is the unfortunate case for many revellers who will be spending the holidays phoneless and scraping around for cash at a time when most people’s budgets are already stretched to their limits.

A security guard at the Apollo Theatre told MM last week that thefts ofmobile phones and cameras are becoming commonplace.

He said: “There’s almost nothing we can do to prevent it either. No one notices anything when they’re dancing around in the crowd.”

That night an iPhone had been reported as stolen, about which a second security guard said: “We’ve had so many of those go missing over the last few nights.”

Theft at gigs has been prevalent for some time now. Just last month it was reported that a professional pickpocketing gang was targeted fans of drum & bass duo Chase & Status on their latest UK tour, with as many as 40 thefts occurring at one gig in Carlisle.

Whether recent thefts in Manchester are premeditated or opportunistic is difficult to tell, but with smartphone handsets trading for hundreds of pounds the appeal to criminals is clear.

In a statement from Greater Manchester Police they said they were unable to currently see any trend in thefts at gigs as they do not categories reported thefts in such detail.

They did however offer advice to Manchester gig-goers.

A spokesperson for GMP said: “Try not to use valuables in public and keep them is a safe, secure place on your person.”

This is little consolation to Emma Robertson, 24, who had her iPhone4s stolen at a gig last week.

Miss Robertson said: “When I noticed it was missing I felt a mixture of shock and panic. I wasn't certain it was theft at first, I thought I had dropped it. But after talking to the staff at the Apollo, who told me they had noticed an increase in mobile phone theft in the past week, I then realised that is what happened. I felt physically sick.

“The whole thing is very annoying and upsetting, especially as I had only had the phone for a month. But I have to say that I feel my privacy has been violated. Smartphones are like your whole world all in one little bit of tech. Everything has gone that I had on there, including my pictures and I’ve had to reset all my internet passwords. It kind of feels like someone has broken into my house and stolen my family pictures. I won't get them back.

She went on to say: “I think the person who stole my phone is pathetic and devious. It's not ok to steal, and to take advantage of the situation like that, to me it comes across as premeditated. Being focused on the gig, people brushing past all the time, it's almost a perfect place to do that sort of thing.

“It’s going to cost me a fortune to replace so it means I’m not going to be able to spend as much as I’d like on friends and family this Christmas. There are lots of reasons to get upset by what happened but I'm trying to not let it get to me. There are worse things that can happen.”

For information about how to protect your phone, reporting a crime and recognising stolen property you can visit the national Mobile Phone Crime Unit website at http://www.met.police.uk/mobilephone/