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Police call for pay-as-you-go ID on phones to hit drug dealers

PAY-AS-YOU-GO phones should no longer be sold anonymously — to stop drug dealers abusing the system, police have said.

Officers suggested customers should have to register personal details when buying a mobile phone or replacement Sim card to prevent county lines drug gangs using them.

Former detective Mark Powell, one of the inspectors who worked on the report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, said his impression from those tackling such criminality was that such restrictions would be welcome.

He added: ‘Officers have to resort to lengthy investigations to try to prove who had a phone. But clearly there’s a wider debate to be had. We are not saying anonymity should no longer be available to everybody but we are saying there needs to be a review of the criminal abuse of mobile phones.’

Latest analysis suggests more than 2,000 pay-as-you-go numbers are being used by 1,000 county lines drug gangs.