By TIM BRADLEY
09:37, Tue, Jun 7, 2022 | UPDATED: 11:50, Thu, Jun 9, 2022
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Superintendent Jim Munro of West Midlands Police is telling motorists that even vehicles left in car parks for only a few minutes can pose a risk.
There were 88,915 car thefts during the 12 year to March 7 – that’s a theft every six minutes, according to the Mirror.
The figures come from data recorded by 34 police forces.
The worst-hit regions for car thefts are South Yorkshire (up 28 percent), City of London (up 25 percent), West Midlands (up 19 percent), Surrey (up 12 percent), Merseyside (up four percent) and Greater Manchester (up one percent).
Car thefts are up in huge numbers as police warn to secure vehicles (Image: Getty)
Thieves are stripping cars “in a matter of hours” so they can sell the components for high prices, the senior officer said.
Mr Munro said: “What we’ve seen over the pandemic is there are some issues around parts supplies coming into the motor industry and delays with builds.
“There is a desire for certain vehicle parts, and this is fuelling the theft of motor vehicles.
“Vehicles are stolen, sometimes taken to nearby industrial units, and these vehicles have been stripped in a matter of hours. The parts are then being sold on.”
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Mr Munro warned drivers that some thieves use special gadgets to help pinch cars.
He said: “They’re using devices in order to block signals where people are trying to lock their cars with their fobs.
“When you’re locking your vehicle, make sure that vehicle is locked, that the signal is not being blocked, no matter how long you’re leaving the vehicle for.
“Whether it’s just to pop into the shop, make sure your car is always secure.”
One top police officer even warned drivers leaving their car for a few minutes was a risk (Image: Getty)
And it is not just expensive cars being targeted, he explained.
Mr Munro said common cars are normally the ones stolen for parts, because of the high demand for repairs.
He said these have “a particular high value because of the amount of people that want those.”
Dan Powell, Senior Editor at heycar said: “The most common form of theft happens when thieves capture the signal from the keyfob and then boost it to open the car and drive it away.”
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Car theft worst areas (Image: Express)
Keyless car theft (sometimes called relay theft) is a way of stealing a vehicle without using the physical keyfob.
The targeted vehicles are those with keyless entry and start systems, exploiting the technology to get into the car and drive it away.
A keyless fob has an in-built transceiver, which can send and receive coded radio signals.
The car and the key send these unique, encrypted signals to each other to lock the doors when the key isn’t within range and — likewise — unlocks the doors when the key is close enough.