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Tiny car-key mobile phones could be banned after prison strife

Mini mobiles made to look just like posh car key fobs could be banned after concerns they're too easy to smuggle into prisons.

Tiny mobile phones made to look just like posh car key fobs could be banned in the UK after concerns that they're too easy to smuggle into prisons.

The government is mulling a ban on the micro-mobiles, the BBC reports, and is discussing the problem with the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the National Trading Standards Board.

You can bag one of the blingy blowers on eBay for about £50. The hooky Bentley-branded gadget in the video below is advertised as quad-band, with a 1-inch, 128x128-pixel colour screen and 3 hours of battery life.

The problem came to light in a report in the Times (paywall link) that claims more than 7,000 phones were seized in prisons in England and Wales last year. Possessing a phone in prison is an offence, with a maximum sentence of two years.

Some of the minuscule mobiles were advertised specifically for prisoners, the Times claims. Most eBay listings are marketed as novelties or Christmas stocking fillers, but some make a point of their "low metal content".

That would have obvious advantages for someone trying to get it past metal detectors and into a secure environment. "Unlike the rest on eBay, all metal content has been removed," this one boasts.

Are tiny phones just a bit of fun, or should the government try to crack down on them? Have you bought one for entirely legit purposes? Get a message to the outside world in the comments, or on our barb-wire topped Facebook wall.