Massive theft of mobiles and Xboxes sparks hunt

Police are looking for a man sporting a beer belly after a lorry-load of handsets and consoles worth £780,000 vanished on Monday

Police have appealed for help after 7,000 mobile phones and 1,000 Xbox consoles were stolen in Wednesbury, near Wolverhampton, on Monday.

West Midlands Police said that a Scania lorry containing 7,000 Nokia handsets, and over 1,000 Xboxes, went missing at around 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday after being parked outside a Carphone Warehouse store.

The consignment of missing mobiles includes Nokia 6310i, 5100 and 3410 models, and has a trade value of £781,000. The Xboxs are worth some £130,000 -- and a substantial reward is on offer for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

DI Carl Southwick from West Bromwich police said that the missing phones have now been deactivated by Carphone Warehouse, and urged anyone who is offered a cheap mobile to contact the police, especially if it is one of the models that was stolen.

He added that the police are keen to speak to a man who was spotted at the scene of the crime on Monday morning. "Police want to trace a white man aged in his early 30s, 5'8" with blond hair, clean shaven and with a beer belly, wearing a light grey hooded top -- he was seen near to the lorry when it was stolen," DI Southwick said.

The tractor unit of the lorry was later recovered abandoned at the Hilton Trading Estate in Wolverhampton on Monday afternoon, minus its trailer and its valuable high-tech cargo.

The West Midlands Police can be contacted on 0845 113 5000.