Sector is warned on stolen phones

An undercover investigation has revealed that charities are unwittingly handling stolen goods in mobile phone recycling schemes.

Recipero, a company that helps people recover stolen property, sent handsets registered as stolen to four recycling companies that make charity donations from the proceeds of resold phones.

The recycling companies sold the phones and made donations to their nominated charities. Recipero said the charities included some of the UK's largest.

Adrian Portlock, managing director at Recipero, urged charities to accept donations only from companies that use the police-approved CheckMEND database to find out if phones are registered as stolen.

"Companies failing to check the status of the phones they are handling are putting charities' reputations at risk," he said.

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