Your passport is perhaps the most important travel document you can hold while travelling to another country.

While many go to great lengths to look after these identifiers, it isn't unheard of for these documents to go missing or become stolen.

Criminals are often on the lookout for passports, especially powerful ones such as those used in the UK, EU and United States.

There are a number of things that can be done with a stolen passport, which is why you should be very careful with yours.

The Herald: According to the UK Government, around 400,000 UK passports are reported lost of stolen each year (Getty)According to the UK Government, around 400,000 UK passports are reported lost of stolen each year (Getty) (Image: Getty)

Is it common for people to steal UK passports?

According to the UK Government, around 400,000 British passports are reported lost or stolen each year. Of the 20,000 who reported their passports stolen in 2014, a high number suggested that they were victims of pickpockets.

What to do if someone steals your UK passport?

The UK Post Office states that those who have had their passports stolen should report the issue to the police by calling 101.

If the item is stolen abroad, those affected should also report the loss to local police and ask for a written police report.

This report may be needed when visiting the British Embassy to apply for a new passport or when contacting a holiday insurer to claim for the expense.

According to the UK Government, once a passport is reported lost or stolen it is cancelled by HM Passport Office with information about the loss shared with the National Crime Agency.

This allows other agencies to keep ahead of criminals attempting to enter the UK illegally after stealing the targeted passports.

The Herald: Interpol states that passports are valuable to criminals and terrorists (Canva)Interpol states that passports are valuable to criminals and terrorists (Canva) (Image: Canva)

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What can criminals do with a stolen UK passport?

Inter-governmental policing organisation Interpol says that passports are "highly valuable to terrorists and international criminals."

These are often used by said groups to travel cross-border undetected by authorities.

According to the organisation, passports can help fugitives escape justice, allow terrorist fighters to travel to and from conflict zones and even facilitate human trafficking.

The personally identifiable information present on passports such as names, addresses and pictures can also be used by scammers to impersonate the victims, access their accounts and be used for identity theft.