Thieves are targeting cafes and bars in Sheffield – distracting people with leaflets or menus and swiping mobile phones left on tables.
They have struck in the city centre, London Road and now in Broomhill.
Inspector Darren Starkey said: “We have seen an increase, particularly since the students have returned to Sheffield.”
Thieves are distracting customers with leaflets and menus in order to steal mobile phones from tables.
“Anyone looking or acting suspicious or who doesn’t seem right with leaflets or menus, ring 999 so we can get officers there as soon as possible,” said Insp Starkey.
“The thieves will visit different premises and may have a number of stolen phones with them.
“Likewise on a weekend, a high number are being stolen from clubs and pubs in the city centre.
“There are free GPS tracking apps for iPhones and smartphones that you can download, as well as registering the phone free on immobilise.com.
“We have officers working in plain clothes during the day and weekend nights as part of a policing operation.”
Insp Starkey warned people to keep their phones securely hidden out of view. Anyone with information should call police on 101.