Cape Town - Cape Town motorists who have had their cellphones confiscated by police - but who have not reclaimed them - are being checked on to ensure they are not involved in insurance fraud.

About 600 cellphones have been confiscated from talking drivers by the City of Cape Town since the policy was introduced last year. But a spokesman for safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith said of these, around 135 had not been collected.

Confiscated cellphones may be recovered within 24 hours.

Smith said their suspicions were raised when a traffic officer reported that a motorist tried to damage his phone when it was being confiscated.

“We wondered whether this was for the purposes of submitting an insurance claim,” Smith said.

His department had since submitted all the non-claimed cellphones’ serial numbers to a police database and insurance companies to ensure that none of them were the subject of fraudulent insurance claims.

Only once the cellphones had been “cleaned” in this way would the city proceed with the next step, which was to auction the unclaimed phones.

Smith said the funds raised would be donated to a non-profit organisation working with road safety.

Cape Argus