Stolen mobile handsets will be made useless with a single telephone call following the introduction of a new Home Office database.
The department hopes that the initiative, embraced by all the UK mobile networks, will help reduce street crime by making phones useless on the UK black market.
Stolen phones will be barred on any network under the new scheme, which works in much the same way as cancelling a stolen credit card.
Victims would send their handset's unique identifying code, the International Mobile Equipment Identification (IMEI) number, to their network operator, which would then key it into the Central Equipment Identity Register, barring it from being used on any network.
The Home Office has advised mobile phone owners to register their phone with their network operator to make barring easier.
They should also make a note of their IMEI number and keep it in a safe place separate from their phone. IMEI numbers can be accessed by looking behind the battery.
John Denham, Home Office Minister for Crime Reduction and Policing, said: "Our strategy aims to 'design out crime' from mobiles to reduce their value to criminals.
"This is an important step and we will continue to work with the industry to keep pace with changing technology and stay one step ahead of the thieves."
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The new policy is aimed at making the social network is a safer place