Mobile Phone Recyclers and the 'Recyclers Charter'

Turning your unwanted phone into cash by selling it to a mobile phone recycler has become increasingly popular. It was identified that criminals were also using this as an opportunity to dispose of their stolen goods. In order to combat this the Recyclers Charter was developed to stop the outlet of stolen goods through Recycling companies within the UK, and consequently reduce the opportunities for the thief to profit from their crimes. The Unit along with the Home Office and the Mobile Phone Industry (Represented by "Telecommunications UK Fraud Forum" TUFF) came together with the Recycling community in order to provide an honest and transparent service to the public and to agree a set of Actions to prevent stolen mobile phones guiding principles.

What this means to the public is that the Recycler checks on the National Mobile Phone Register (NMPR), the central Registry of Mobile phones (at their expense) to ensure that the phone that they are being offered is not stolen. There are approximately 70 million active handsets in the UK of which up to a million plus a year are reported to the Police/Networks as no longer being in the possession of their rightful lawful owner and are entered onto a central stolen phone database. If the phone is identified as stolen during this check, the Police Force or Network making the entry are notified within 24 hours of the check by the Central Agency, a company called CheckMEND Due-diligence Recipero. The Recyclers do not notify the Police this is undertaken by Recipero, after which they are under obligation to deal with the property in accordance with the code. The Police will then make enquiries as to who has offered the phone for recycling and how they have come by it. Some Recyclers conduct a pre-check before agreeing to buy the phone and if this fails because the item is stolen the Police will be notified by Recipero in the same way as if the phone was present.

If you find that a phone you have offered for recycling has been refused then before contacting the Recycler consider where and how you obtained the phone and from whom; the price paid for the item and if a receipt was given.

Whilst it is accepted that individuals may innocently come into possession of stolen goods, title always remains with the loser.

Under this scheme to date, murders and many other serious crimes have been solved as a result of this initiative and as 40% of personal robberies and 12-15% of residential burglaries involve the theft of a mobile phone the potential to assist Police in their investigation of these crimes is obvious and those signed up to the charter are committed to protecting the public. The Recycler is acting under the obligation placed upon it under the code to support the community through reducing the outlets for stolen goods - once they are aware that an item is stolen they cannot return it to the sender.