Security experts have devised a system which triggers a high-pitched screech on a mobile phone if it is stolen.

The service is also designed to prevent thieves from using stolen phones and accessing the data contained on them.

Under the new system, Remote XT, a signal is sent to the mobile once it is reported lost or stolen, causing it to emit an alarm similar to a scream.

The service is backed by the Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum and is aimed at businessmen and women.

The alarm noise is accompanied by a message, reading: "This phone is stolen".

The phone is also automatically disabled, with contact numbers, texts, images and emails removed, even if the SIM card is removed.

Detective Superintendent Steve Bending, head of the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit, said: "The NMPCU is supportive of measures that make mobile phones less desirable items to steal and worthless in the hands of those who seek to profit from mobile phone criminality.

"Any opportunity to disable a mobile phone and render it useless, should it be stolen, is welcomed."

According to BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw thefts of mobile phones are on the increase.

Some services have been developed to block the use of stolen SIM cards and handsets, but these are not foolproof, he went on.

He also added that the cost of the service will be almost £10 a month, which may prove prohibitive to some.

Mark Whiteman, managing director of Remote XT, said: "By making mobiles unusable to anyone but the rightful owner, the phones become worthless and we’ll see (the) market for stolen handsets stamped out once and for all.

"Theft-proof phones spell disaster for the huge criminal industry that has profited from mobile theft for too long."