MOBILE phones could soon no longer be worth stealing.
New technology revealed today means owners will be able to block a stolen handset with just one phone call.
Even replacing the SIM card will no longer give thieves access to a new network provider - the handset will be useless.
Police revealed the breakthrough as part of a new drive launched today in West Yorkshire.
The Immobilise campaign is a joint national initiative between police and the mobile phone industry, which has been rolled out across the country.
It has been funded by phone retailers, mobile phone networks, manufacturers and the Metropolitan Police.
It was launched in West Yorkshire today by Det Supt Ian Wilson, Jack Wraith from Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum (MICAF) and Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton.
The Immobilise initiative has seen a single database compiled of information on mobile phones - called the Central Equipment Identity Register.
This information is shared between all UK network providers - such as Orange and O².
When a phone handset is reported lost or stolen, its unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number can be entered on to the database.
All UK network providers can then access the IMEI and can quickly disable the handset to stop it being used on their network.
Since the database was set up in November, one million phones have been reported missing and have been disabled.
A £100,000 advertising campaign for the initiative in West Yorkshire has now been launched - spearheaded by phone retailers such as Carphone Warehouse and The Link.
The Immobilise scheme will be advertised in phone retail outlets, on bus shelters, in phone shops, on billboards, bus interiors and railway stations.
The advertising has been paid for by mobile phone companies and aims to encourage people to report their missing phones to the police and their network providers.
The message to criminals is not to bother stealing the phones to sell on, as they will be no use.
Jack Wraith, Chief Executive of Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum, said: "The message is aimed at the person who may be tempted to buy such a phone - don't; it will not work once it has been reported lost or stolen."