Next time you are walking down the street listening to your iPod, just be careful! It has emerged that thefts of the devices have contributed to a significant rise in street crime. Indeed, in the UK, the number of muggings was up by 40 per cent in 2004 and by an average of five per cent. iPods and other MP3 players seem to be favourite targets of thieves, but they also have a penchant for Internet-enabled phones as well.

In Merseyside, where street robberies rose by 36 per cent, many of the victims were students and teenagers, according to Chief Superintendent Paul Forrester.

'Some children carry phones and iPods over £600 and they are making themselves walking targets,' he told the Sunday Times.