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Software to track stolen laptops

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Smart software is being used by a police force to crack down on laptop theft, and could help homeowners reduce their home insurance premiums.

Using the hi-tech software, which is activated after a laptop is stolen, West Yorkshire Police can track their whereabouts.

It is hoped that when use of the technology becomes widespread, it will act as a deterrent to thieves - reducing the number of burglaries and making home insurance policies in the region cheaper.

In 2009, 1,500 laptops were stolen in Leeds, with over two-thirds of those belonging to students.

New students, who tend to keep doors open while moving in or getting to know the neighbours, serve as potential targets for burglary.

In the Woodhouse area, police conducted a pilot scheme in December 2009, fitting the software to 500 laptops. They expected to install it to further 1,000 laptops by the end of October.

Laptop thefts are more likely to take place in shared student houses, because they have a higher number of valuable items compared with family homes. Thieves prefer to steal laptops as they are light and easy to be sold.

Police have already recovered some laptops, with the help of the smart software which is difficult to locate or remove.

© Press Association 2010