Criminals using 'increasingly sophisticated' methods to steal cars and 'high value' parts

Car crime

There has been a 17 per cent rise in the number of vehicle thefts over the last year

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 14/10/2023

- 08:00

Experts are now urging motorists to take action to prevent their vehicles from being targeted

Black Land Rovers are now the most commonly stolen vehicles, overtaking blue Ford models, according to new research.

While Ford motor vehicles account for nearly a fifth of theft claims, black Land Rovers are the most stolen kind of vehicle, accounting for four per cent of claims.

Land Rovers ranked second as the most stolen brand of vehicle followed by Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Vauxhall.

While some of the most popular brands are targeted by criminals, there is no particular leaning towards them stealing high-end models.

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Thieves are targeting vehicles that are between five and eight years old accounting for 40 per cent of theft claims.

Cars manufactured in 2016 are the most likely to be stolen, making up 12 per cent of claims in 2022 and 2023.

Dave Thompson, claims director at Tesco Bank, said: “Car thieves, and the tactics they adopt, are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

“With devices that can connect key fob signals and unlock cars remotely, thieves can snatch a car off the driveway in a matter of seconds.

“And its black Land Rovers and blue Fords that are firmly in thieves’ sights.”

The data found that 36 per cent of thefts took place between midnight and 7am, when people were most likely to be asleep and unaware of what was happening with their cars.

Unsurprisingly, major cities were hotspots for criminals with eight per cent of claims reported in Birmingham, seven per cent in London and six per cent in Sheffield.

Vehicle parts were also targets for criminals, with expensive and prestige car brands being particularly likely to be victims.

There has been a slowing trend in catalytic converter thefts, with criminals looking for BMWs and taking the steering wheels, which can cost thousands of pounds to replace.

Dave Thompson added: “While Land Rovers are sought after and can be sold on quickly, some models like Fords can be broken down pretty much overnight and sold on for parts the next morning.

“And while the precious metals in catalytic converters aren’t fetching as much as they once did, thieves are turning to other high value parts such as the steering wheels in BMWs.

“While it’s hard to stop, there are some things drivers can do to make it less likely that their car will disappear in the night.”

The expert has urged drivers to keep their keys stored away at night away from doors and windows, and if it is a car fob for keyless car entry, it should be locked away or put in a Faraday pouch.

Criminals can use relay devices to target cars by bouncing the signal from the car fob to the device, giving them access to the car without the need for a physical key.


Car crime

Drivers are using more sophisticated methods of stealing vehicles and parts


Motorists should also watch out where they park the vehicle, with a garage always being the best option, followed by a driveway or somewhere that is visible to the driver and in well-lit areas.

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