Personal theft

Has your friend been a victim of theft?

If a friend of yours has been a victim of theft you can help.

If it's an ongoing problem, maybe it's part of a bigger issue - perhaps they're being bullied and having money or belongings stolen from them is part of how the bully is getting at them.

If you think that might be the case, take a look at our section about bullying. Either get the facts about bullying, or for more info on how you can actually help your friend visit ‘Are you worried your friend is being bullied?’

Reporting the theft

Having your belongings stolen is serious so you or your friend need to make sure that it gets reported.

Parents or other family members and teachers at school should be able to offer support and advice. But the stolen item itself should be reported to the police.

We will try to recover the stolen item; however it is, of course not always possible to get it back. If your friend has insurance for the item, they'll almost certainly need details of the police crime report before the insurance company will pay out or send a replacement.

To report a theft you and your friend have these options:

Other tips for when something has been stolen

Mobile phones

Mobile phones are one of the most common items to be stolen. Here's what your friend needs to do:

Advise them to call their phone service provider and report the theft as soon as they can. The service provider can stop the phone working so that the thief won't be able to use it. If your friend doesn't have the number for the service provider, they can call the Immobilise mobile phone crime line on 08701 123 123. Immobilise will give them the right information so your friend's stolen phone can be quickly blocked across all networks in the UK, even if the SIM card has been changed.

Bank cards

Get your friend to contact their bank or ask an adult to help them. They need to cancel any stolen bank or credit cards as soon as they can so that they cannot be used.


Money can be very difficult to replace because there's often little way of proving it belonged to someone or how much was stolen. If it happened at school, your friend should definitely tell their teacher about it, or perhaps their parents or another responsible adult like their Safer Schools Officer. For larger amounts they should report it to the police as insurance companies may be able to replace the money.


If your friend's keys were taken, they should make their parents and/or owners of the property that they live in aware of what has happened. They can then change the locks on their house, even if they don't think the thief knows where they live. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Getting more help

Being robbed can be a traumatic event. Help your friend talk about what happened, or get them to speak to a family member, or even a teacher. You could also encourage them to speak to a professional in confidence on a free helpline like ChildLine on 0800 1111.

For more information about personal theft visit our ‘Get the facts’ or ‘More help and advice’ pages.