UK car theft soars by 45 per cent in five years

Car theft in the UK has rocketed by 45 per cent in five years according to new figures.

Analysis of crime data published by police forces across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland revealed that more than 300 cars are taken every day, with 112,174 vehicles stolen in the 2017/18 financial year – the latest year for which figures are available.

The sharp rise follows a six-year period of declining car theft.

The West Midlands saw the highest percentage increase – up by 214 per cent, with 16 vehicles stolen for every 10,000 registered. The north-west, north-east and Yorkshire regions in England also saw thefts more than double.

London remains the car theft capital by volume, seeing 33 cars stolen for every 10,000 registered – an increase of 61 per cent. Chingford, East Ham, Walthamstow, Leytonstone, Wanstead and Ilford saw the highest number of car theft insurance claims in the capital.

Northern Ireland and Scotland bucked the trend, however, seeing a zero per cent change and 23 per cent decline in car thefts respectively.

Steve Barrett, head of car insurance at Direct Line, which commissioned the study, said: “With an alarming increase in the number of cars stolen over the last five years, it is more important than ever to do all we can to prevent cars from being stolen.

“Using a combination of measures such as parking in a well-lit area and security features such as steering wheel locks, or by ensuring that the car alarm system is fully activated by double-locking the vehicle, could help make it as difficult as possible for a thief and may help buy time for the alarm to be raised in case a theft is in progress.”