Now if your mobile telephone is stolen, you can scream — and your phone can, too.

A new service launched in Britain Monday is designed to deter cell-phone theft, epidemic in the U.K., by equipping handsets with an ear-piercing scream.

The screaming won't stop unless the battery is removed. Even if the thief replaces the phone's SIM card — the interchangeable data card that allows user data to be moved from one GSM-based handset to another — the handset will not work.

All customers' information is centrally stored, so contacts, ringtones, pictures, texts and other data can be retrieved when a new handset is purchased.

The service costs about $18 a month.

The goal of the service is to make mobile phones useless to anyone but the rightful owner, said Mark Whiteman, the managing director of Remote XT.

"We'll see the market for stolen handsets stamped out once and for all," he said.