Thieves are increasingly palming off high end stolen mobiles through online trading portals, say police.

"Thieves are selling stolen mobiles on online trading sites like Quikr.com, ebay.in or olx.in," a Delhi Police official said declining to be identified citing rules.

Smart phones with android operating system, latest apps and good cameras are in great demand among people seeking second hand mobile phones at low rates. But customers buying such high end phones at cheap rates through online stores are unaware they might be getting trapped by mobile thieves.

The buyers, eager to purchase high quality smartphones, don't even bother to check if the good is stolen in the lure of getting costly mobiles at the lowest price."The buyers don't even bother to ask about the purchase document of the mobile, " the official added.

The growing demand for top quality stolen mobiles in Delhi and bordering states has been encouraging thieves to go pick pocketing mobiles from people venturing in public places.

Delhi Police data reveals that 6,945 mobile phones were reported missing between Jan 1 and Aug 31 this year.

A maximum number of 1,426 mobiles was reported missing in North Delhi police district, while the least (one) was reported missing in South West district. A total of 298 mobiles were reported missing from New Delhi area, where most VVIPs and parliament members live.

The Central Delhi area was second in the list with 1,337 mobile missing complaints registered. The East district was on third with 443 complaints.

From Connaught Place area, one of the largest commercial and business centers of the capital, 207 mobiles were reported missing.In August 283 mobiles were stolen from the capital.

In 2013, the number of stolen mobiles was 15,669, a rise from the 2012 figure of 13,747. The 2011 figure was 12,600 and in 2010 it was 10,704.Another police official, on condition of anonymity, said: "The mobile theft figure is much higher than reported because several people don't bother to go to police stations to file complaints.

"Whenever they get a complaint, the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number - a unique 15-digit number assigned to all cellular devices - is put on tracking, he said.

"We can track any mobile being operated all over the country with the use of special tracking device," said another official, requesting anonymity.

"We recover some of the phones with the help of tracking device. As some of the stolen mobiles are used by criminals, we can recover them only after their arrest," said the official.

Karol Bagh's Gaffar market, known as one of Asia's biggest electronics market, used to be famous for trade in stolen and second hand mobiles, but the trend has changed due to police action. Now the thieves sell directly through online sites.

Rohit Sardana, a small dealer in used phones in bustling Gaffar Market, said: "There were some shops in Gaffar Market, Nehru Place and other markets in Delhi where stolen mobiles used to be bought and sold. But, in the present scenario no shopkeeper is ready to keep such phones due to fear of police action."

While searching for shops dealing in stolen mobiles, the correspondent managed to find a shopkeeper who evaluated the cost of such phones at Rs.500 to Rs.800 for a handset with market price Rs.5,000.Stolen mobiles worth between Rs.30,000 to Rs.40,000 are bought by the shopkeeper for around Rs.5,000 to Rs.8,000.

A shopkeeper, who did not want to be named, said customers demand that the phones be equipped with the latest android operating system, latest apps and good cameras and it should look brand new.