GMP's Trafford Division is working closely with The Warehouse Project to tackle the growing issue of smartphones being pickpocketed on its premises.
Eastern European gangs are thought to be largely responsible, and the recent spate of thefts reflects a national increase* in pickpocketing offences.
Clubbers are warned that gangs are on the lookout for people openly using phones, especially vulnerable revellers who may have had too much to drink.
Offenders are approaching victims in busy areas of the club and then quickly pickpocketing the phones and handing them to an accomplice.
Phone covers are quickly disposed of to make identification harder, and devices are switched off so they can't be traced.
Detective Inspector Debbie Oakes of Greater Manchester Police’s Trafford Division said: “Ideally we would ask clubbers not to take phones out with them, but this isn’t always realistic, so if you must take one out with you then preferably use an old one and keep it concealed whenever possible in a secure pocket or bag.
“It’s important to stress that this is a well-run club, with the only issue being the recent spate of phone thefts. However, we are determined to make it a no-go area for thieves, and are working closely with Warehouse Project staff to gather intelligence on offenders. Those suspected of not being there for genuine reasons will be refused entry, and officers will be continually looking out for anyone acting suspiciously.
“Offenders should be in no doubt that combating this problem is now a top priority for us, and we will continue to focus our efforts on bringing those responsible to justice."
Sacha Lord-Marchionne, Director of the Warehouse Project, said: “Since 2006, The Warehouse Project has constantly strived to perfect its customer experience, year on year. We have always worked closely with GMP from the outset and have achieved awards for our implementations, including overall Best Bar None winner throughout Greater Manchester.
“Sadly, in 2012 The Warehouse Project became a victim of its own success, as not only was it attracting consistent sold out shows, but it became a sitting target for phone thieves. With guidance and support from police in Trafford we have put several measures in place including plain clothes police officers, the employment of a private security firm and extra CCTV.
“The police have gone above and beyond the support expected, and it’s down to this that we are now starting to see results as last weekend organised pickpocketing was eradicated from the venue.”
For non-emergency calls or to report a crime call police on 101, or for more information visit gmp.police.uk/trafford
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Crimestoppers is an independent charity that will not want your name, just your information. Your call will not be traced or recorded and you do not have to go to court or give a statement.
Use 999 only in emergencies where there is a threat to life or property or a crime in progress.
* Note: Home Office statistics released in July 2012 show that pickpocketing thefts went up by 17 per cent nationally in the last two years. In 2011/12, 625,000 people fell victim according to the Crime Survey of England and Wales – an increase of more than 102,000 since 2009/10. (Figures based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales, including British Transport Police.)