The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has agreed to share information with stores that swap and sell technology products in London in a bid to catch mobile phone and computer thieves.
The agreement, with Complete Entertainment Exchange (CeX), will allow the police to cross-check the serial numbers and product descriptions of electronic equipment sold at the 29 CeX stores in London with the police database of stolen goods.
CeX uses a database called Checkmend, which contains details of equipment reported stolen to police.
The Met hopes that this will help it trace burglars who try to pass on the stolen devices by selling them to CeX stores, where staff test the products before putting them for sale.
However, a delay in items not being reported stolen can mean that stolen goods can pass checks made with the database.
New CeX customers have to join as members, and if they want to sell products, rather than just exchange, they have to provide full identity details, such as passport or driving licence.
The information sharing agreement will be reviewed annually, and follows a similar agreement the Met signed with Cash Converters last summer.
Detective superintendent Neil Thompson of the MPS, said: “CeX have always been immensely co-operative, but this new agreement will make our data sharing more systematic and effective, allowing us to help track down criminals, reunite victims with their property and hopefully help us reduce burglary, robbery and vehicle crime.”
Hundreds of thousands of Londoners use the CeX service each year, according to the Met.
People are encouraged to register the details of their electronic equipment on www.immobilise.com, so that they can be tracked if stolen.