End of lockdown brought increased car theft in the UK

The easing of coronavirus-related lockdown restrictions brought with it a noticeable increase in car thefts, according to new data.

Stolen vehicle recovery experts Tracker revealed that the volume of theft activity was up 32 per cent at the end of June, compared with the end of January, when lockdown was in full swing.

Tracker says it recovered over £4.2 million-worth of stolen vehicles during January to June, with 4x4s accounting for more than half of that at £2.6m.

A Range Rover Sport worth £94,000 had the dubious honour of being the most expensive vehicle recovered by the firm, with Range Rovers and Land Rovers accounted for 29 per cent of all stolen vehicles in that six-month period.

May was particularly busy for criminals, who got back to work as soon as restrictions were lifted. In that month, thefts were three times higher than in January, with the average vehicle valued at just over £31,000.

Keyless cars are still the top target, accounting for 92 per cent of the stolen cars in the first half of the year. Stealing these cars is relatively easy for criminals, who can simply boost the fob’s signal from inside the house to trick the car into thinking it’s nearby, which unlocks it.

Experts recommend leaving the key inside the house as far as possible from your car, windows and doors, or placing it in a Faraday cage when not in use to block the signal.

Clive Wain, head of police liaison at Tracker, said: “Now that almost all restrictions have formally been lifted, all car owners need to be aware of the risk and take steps to protect their vehicles, beyond relying on a factory-fitted alarm.

“Visible physical deterrents that help dissuade many would-be criminals include alarm systems, wheel clamps and steering locks.

“Those with keyless entry vehicles also need to safeguard their key fob, for example, keeping them inside a metal container that blocks the key’s signal so it cannot be extended to remotely unlock and start the vehicle.”