.People using tracking websites to trace their stolen phones are being urged not to confront thieves

Police call-handlers are to start using the websites to follow the movements of people’s phones if they report them stolen.

But after a confrontation in central Brighton on Thursday, November 8, officers are telling the public: “Leave it to us”.

On Thursday, police arrested four men after a woman tracked down her phone on a night out.

The woman had her phone stolen in Audio nightclub in Marine Parade, Brighton, early Thursday morning.

She used her friend’s phone to log in to a signal-tracking website.

They then confronted the suspects in St James’s Street at about 4.30am.

Sussex Police were called and arrested four men from Essex in their early 20s.

It is not the first case in which people have been able to react quickly to a theft using the websites.

Followed signal

An Algerian teenager from London was charged with handling stolen goods after police followed a signal from Black Lion Street to East Street, Brighton.

Inspector Gareth Davies said he would encourage people to call police if their phone appears to be on the move, rather than confronting thieves themselves.

He said: “If people suspect it has been stolen that is for us to deal with and they should call it in as soon as possible.”

Sussex Police call-handlers are expected to be equipped to use the websites so they can immediately send officers to the areas where suspects are operating.

Officers working on the anti-theft drive Operation Tea Leaf say the use of websites where phone owners register so their signals are picked up can offer a chance to snare the people behind the crime boom.

Inspector Gareth Davies, of Sussex Police, said: “It is a line of investigation that is becoming more and more successful.

“We want to utilise that right at the start and we are putting things in place to do that ourselves.”

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