A police crack-down on policyholders falsely reporting mobile phones as stolen will help to raise awareness of the problem, said phone insurer Policy Administration Services (PAS).

The Metropolitan Police estimates that about 2,500 people a year lie in order to claim for a phone that was lost instead of stolen.

PAS director Steve Nobes said the campaign was a good thing. "We have been working hard to combat fraud within our industry, and fully support the police stance on false reporting.

"We will continue to operate zero tolerance towards fraud in our industry."

Nobes said the new campaign would help control the problem.

PAS said it actively pursued fraudulent claimants and had investigated over 100 fraudulent cases, leading to more than 50 arrests.

Commander Brian Moore said the level of false reporting in London was unacceptable. "Many people who falsely report their mobile phone as stolen don't think they are in fact committing a crime and don't think about the consequences.

"My message is clear. Falsely reporting anything to police is a crime and we will deal with you."

Scotland Yard said part of the problem was shop staff advising customers to falsely report phones as stolen.