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iPhones stolen in the UK likely to end up at one specific place, investigation finds

iPhones stolen in the UK likely to end up at one specific place, investigation finds

Thousands of iPhones are stolen on UK streets every year, with experts explaining what you should do if it happens to you

A new investigation has unveiled where thousands of stolen iPhones in the UK end up and it seems to point to one specific street.

Each year, dozens of iPhones are stolen on British streets with thieves snatching devices from people's hands and pockets.

The smartphones are then likely lost forever, with it being extremely difficult to get a stolen iPhone back.

The huge demand for second-hand iPhones is believed to be fuelling the increased volume of theft, with phones commonly stolen from people in the streets, bars and restaurants.

These iPhones will most likely end up in the same place; electronic markets located in China.

An investigation conducted by The Sunday Times has revealed that these devices are being shipped by criminal gangs to China, where they are then unlocked and resold or dismantled and sold in parts to recycling plants or markets.

A lot of UK iPhones shipped over to China end up in Huaqiangbei, the investigation found.

The location is home to bustling electronics markets and isn't far from Hong Kong, making it a perfect spot for international and domestic trade.

An investigation has uncovered where many stolen phones end up. (Getty Stock photo)
An investigation has uncovered where many stolen phones end up. (Getty Stock photo)

Many UK iPhones are ending up at the same market located on Huafa South Road in Shenzhen, southern China, where newer phones are traded to domestic buyers for a price between £65 and £750.

The markets are lined for dozens of stalls selling mobile phones, with most being second-hand.

A trader posted on BiliBili - the Chinese version of YouTube - that he delivers up to 500 phones at a time and is the stockist of a million phones from 'first-hand sources'.

Once stolen phones arrive in China, theft victims in the UK are often sent threats via text message demanding they delete the stolen device from their Apple account via the Find My app.

If the person does so, the phone is then able to be resold and assigned to a new user.

Dozens of iPhones are stolen in the UK every year. (Getty Stock photo)
Dozens of iPhones are stolen in the UK every year. (Getty Stock photo)

A global security analyst at Bitdefender, in Bucharest, has revealed it's best not to comply or respond to the threats.

When an iPhone is marked as lost on the Find My app, the device is then locked with all passcodes and payment cards suspended, making it unlikely that thieves will access your data.

The expert told The Sunday Times: “They go to Shenzhen because it has one of the largest second-hand markets on the planet and they have people with the expertise to disassemble them and send the hardware and parts all over the world.

“But China is the last place thieves want to send them. The criminals will always try to sell them in the UK first, or to get the victim to unlock them there either through a phishing attack or threats, because they will make more money.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images