A nightclubis helping fight a phone theft epidemic gripping city centre nightspots.

Coalition, in Kings Road Arches, Brighton, is tempting thieves with fake phones and snaring them as they leave the club.

Theft is the fastest-rising crime in Sussex. The most recent Home Office figures show there are 82 a day in the county – more than 30,000 a year.

Thefts of mobile phones and handbags in pubs and nightclubs, often from women, are blamed for a large part of the 7% year-on-year rise.

Sussex Police launched Operation Tea Leaf last year, putting plain clothes and high-visibility officers on the street and focusing on pubs.

At Coalition, staff themselves have got involved in the fight to catch the thieves.

Theft risk

The club’s workers look for people who have open bags or have left their belongings unattended and point out to them the risk of theft.

They offer the chance to rent £5 handbag alarms for the night, which go off if the bag is opened. The cloakroom is free, to encourage people to stash their belongings.

Coalition’s latest move was to buy fake phones from mobile phone companies and leave them lying around or in open bags.

Door staff try to detect the phones being taken out of the club, and stop the suspects. So far five people have been caught.

Dan Hills, the operations director at InnBrighton, which owns Coalition, said: “We need to protect our staff and customers from this. They need to be able to relax and enjoy their night.”

A man was arrested on Friday night (November 22) after leaving Coalition.

Evan Coulier, 22, was charged with stealing three phones.

He was bailed until a hearing at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on December 12.

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