Police burst into wrong house to recover stolen iPhone

One of those really handy, but rarely needed, features of modern smartphones is the ability to locate your device in the event that you’re separated from it. It’s not the kind of feature that most of use every day – but on that occasion that you lose your phone, there’s something enormously reassuring about being able to track it online, and even be able to remotely wipe its contents.

When one British iPhone owner had his handset stolen in a burglary, he was no doubt greatly reassured at being able to track its whereabouts on his iPad, and referred the matter to the Nottinghamshire Police force. The police reviewed the location data from Apple, and identified that the iPhone was sitting in a house on Rufford Road, Sherwood.


Pretty accurate... but not 100%.

When officers arrived at the house and broke down its front door to gain entry, there was no sign of the iPhone or the person who had stolen it. In fact, officers had inadvertently stormed into an unoccupied property that was in the middle of renovations. The house’s owner, Robert Kerr, was unimpressed, particularly when solicitors acting on behalf of Nottingham Police stated that Mr Kerr would not be compensated for the damage, which amounted to almost £500 GBP ($790 USD / €590 EUR).

Speaking with The Telegraph, Mr Kerr stated: “I feel utterly disgusted with the police. I understand that they thought the stolen phone was in the property, so I understand why they broke in. But what I don’t understand or accept is the refusal to pay for the damage done.”

A letter sent to Mr Kerr by police solicitors explained: “The iPad showed the location of the iPhone inside your property. Officers reasonably believed the offender was hiding inside the property with the stolen iPhone.” A police spokesperson added that the iPhone location data was supplemented by conversations with local residents to inform the decision to enter Mr Kerr’s property.

In 2010, an official review from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found that Nottingham Police was the worst performing police force in the United Kingdom.

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26 Comments

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Whats peoples problems?
The police went to recover a phone, aswell as other things no doubt which were stolen in a burglary....
There is this, ontop of the other people that he could have stolen off others.
if the police paid for theses damages, they would have to pay for everyone elses door they kicked in (ie the ones where they kick the right one)

its the UK law, that allows the police power of entry if they believe that someone who is wanted for an offence is residing in that property. thats the government that sets the law not the police force,
had the iPhone been at that address, then I bet everyone would be singing the police's praises, they try and do something positive and people just moan!

Storm said,
Whats peoples problems?
The police went to recover a phone, aswell as other things no doubt which were stolen in a burglary....
There is this, ontop of the other people that he could have stolen off others.
if the police paid for theses damages, they would have to pay for everyone elses door they kicked in (ie the ones where they kick the right one)

its the UK law, that allows the police power of entry if they believe that someone who is wanted for an offence is residing in that property. thats the government that sets the law not the police force,
had the iPhone been at that address, then I bet everyone would be singing the police's praises, they try and do something positive and people just moan!

The reason why people are "moaning" is because they break into the wrong man's house and refuse to pay reperations. How would you like it the police broke into your house, damaged your property and then just leave? Why should a third party (man who's house was broken into and had nothing to do with the crime) suffer for a burglary that the first party was victim to, and the inconsiderable behaviour of the second party (police)? Yes if the iPhone was that address everyone would be singing praises because the police force (rated worst in the country) proved their competance, but since the iPhone was not at that address and police still damaged the property of a man who had no involvement in the crime, they should atleast have the courtesy to pay for the damaged that the police force made.

Couldn't they have, you know, KNOCKED?? Good grief. These policeman's ego's always get the better of them.

And on another note, police should be held responsible for damage that they cause. A few years ago I had someone who's neighbor was on the roof with a gun. The police asked to use the person I know's home to try to resolve the situation. They ended up, even though he opened the door for them, breaking the front door right off the hinges. Then when they attempted to hit the guy with the gun with tear gas it ricocheted into the house they were using (I imagine they forgot to open the window) and stained half the 2nd floor with dye. They then somehow made a hole in a wall in the living room and put a massive crack in the tile floor in the kitchen. They of course were not responsible for anything and his insurance company had to pay it out. If the police were responsible, perhaps they'd be a little more cautious with other people's property.

Its not about recovering the iPhone, but about capturing an criminal. Next time he robs someone he could also kill him...
Anyway, how does the story end? Did they give up or continued searching ?

SoNiC_htw said,
Its not about recovering the iPhone, but about capturing an criminal. Next time he robs someone he could also kill him...
Anyway, how does the story end? Did they give up or continued searching ?

Correction, it's about feeling as cool and powerful as they can while trying to locate this phone... lol

Nottingham Kozzers should be sending a cheque (better be cash), compensation and an apology for destroying the persons property.

You damage Kozzer property you pay, they damage your property you pay.

when solicitors acting on behalf of Nottingham Police stated that Mr Kerr would not be compensated for the damage, which amounted to almost £500 GBP

This happened to my father - his house was ransacked by police, 100% wrongfully. He's a law abiding person like 99% of the population, but they made a mistake. They broke doors, ripped wallpaper, destroyed carpets - and then he had no legal recourse when all they said was "Wrong place", not even so much as a "sorry".

nik louch said,

This happened to my father - his house was ransacked by police, 100% wrongfully. He's a law abiding person like 99% of the population, but they made a mistake. They broke doors, ripped wallpaper, destroyed carpets - and then he had no legal recourse when all they said was "Wrong place", not even so much as a "sorry".

Wow that is disgusting behaviour he should go to the media even if the incident is old

nik louch said,

This happened to my father - his house was ransacked by police, 100% wrongfully. He's a law abiding person like 99% of the population, but they made a mistake. They broke doors, ripped wallpaper, destroyed carpets - and then he had no legal recourse when all they said was "Wrong place", not even so much as a "sorry".

Sounds about right. It's absolutely ridiculous (And the same in the US)... They are responsible for nothing.

Did no one htink of actually calling the phone or using the remote locator software to make an audible alert... then they wouldve been able to hear it!..

R-Metal said,
Only for an iPhone? Seriously? Smh...

depends which one though, If its the new one then Yes I see all the commotion if its an old phone.. *care*

R-Metal said,
Only for an iPhone? Seriously? Smh...

Stolen in a burglary, so likely not the only item stolen and thus expected to be recovered.

They broke down a door to recover an iPhone? Really? Now that is stupid. Dont care if it is an iPhone or another device, its stupid to break down a door and raid a place for something like that.

Get a warrant, show up, knock, search the place. Its not like the guy kidnapped someone or was selling drugs which warrant a raid and breaking down the door.

Hmm, easily done I suppose. The one bit I don't agree with is that the rozzers werent going to pay for the damages.... that seems illegal, so I hope he takes them to court because he will win.

Dan~ said,
Hmm, easily done I suppose. The one bit I don't agree with is that the rozzers werent going to pay for the damages.... that seems illegal, so I hope he takes them to court because he will win.

I certainly hope he does, over here, the police have all of the rights and the citizens have none...

So they caused MORE damage to private property than the property they were trying to recover was worth.

They went off bad/easily faked information--it's really easy to make a GPS see any coordinates you want. And refusing to cover the damage they caused for sloppy investigative work? Wow.

dud said,
So they caused MORE damage to private property than the property they were trying to recover was worth.

They went off bad/easily faked information--it's really easy to make a GPS see any coordinates you want. And refusing to cover the damage they caused for sloppy investigative work? Wow.

Not quite. The iPhone was stolen in a burglary, so chances are that other property was also stolen. The Police were probably expecting to recover other stolen goods too.