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Don't bother going shopping, goods can be stolen to order

According to research by criminologists for a leading home insurance company, an increasing number of burglars are stealing brand goods to order and then using shops and auction sites to sell them on. This is a trend which has significantly increased in the last five years as many of the leading brands – Sony, Apple, Samsung, Dell – can easily be sold for a high percentage of the retail value. Small electronic goods are the most commonly stolen items and the average 'going rate' on the black market for popular items by these manufacturers are £345 for a stolen iPhone, £210 for an iPad and £160 for a games console. Isn't it crazy that there is actually almost a RRP for stolen goods?

Auction websites are fuelling the marketplace for stolen goods as most of the thieves interviewed (yes, really!) said that they use auction sites as it is an easy and reasonably secure way to sell stolen items. One thief said he posted photos of items, waited till the orders came in – and then went and stole them to match! All a thief needs to do is create a few different identities on line and he has a direct route to market.

Thieves also take orders from other sources, such as car boot sales and markets – and even some smaller convenience stores have been caught 'taking orders under the counter'. One thief said he worked with a contact at a phone-unlocking stall in a large shopping mall: this guy took orders from clients who wanted new phones, and his mate legged it and stole them to order!

When selecting targets to rob, thieves look for affluent areas and then look to see what goods are displayed within the properties. They search bins for discarded receipts of purchases and also packaging from suitable items – and these can range from Chanel perfumes, Prada handbags through to the latest electronic gadgets.

Nearly one quarter of the public questions said they would buy stolen goods if the price was right, no questions asked!

An analysis of theft claims over the last five years indicates that thieves now focus on smaller electronic items as opposed to larger items such as TVs. Well, would you risk putting your back out when you can get the same monetary value for stealing a smaller, portable item?

What can you do to protect yourself? Well, keep valuables out of sight, make sure your security is as good as it can be (well worth the investment) and don't leave packaging from newly purchased items where it can be found. Top of the list of priorities though is insurance: make sure you have adequate home insurance, just in case you end up being the unfortunate target of a burglary. Being underinsured is a major concern, if you do not assess properly the value of your possessions you can find yourself unable to replace them should the worst happen.

Take professional advice – Westhill Insurance Services has a team of dedicated, professional staff who can guide you through the insurance maze. They will ask you the questions they need to be able to find the right cover to suit you. As an independent broker, they will then shop around to make sure you have the best possible deal – without compromise to cover. If you have high value items, these can also be included but may require a professional valuation first. These may not be covered by a standard home insurance policy, so be certain to mention these when discussing your insurance. Pick up the phone and call Westhill Insurance Services – you may not be able to beat the new breed of steal-to-order burglars, but at least you have the peace of mind of knowing that your possessions can be replaced – by legitimate means!

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Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 6th June, 2012